“Without the T’s” is my film review for both current theatrical releases and any release on home video that I may see. I treat these as a way to discuss and understand a film for it’s merits and demerits, but unfortunately since it’s a review I hindered by two main points: A grade and a gimmick. Therefore, the more I enjoy a film the more of the letter “T” will be included in the write-up of the film, with “lesser” film reviews becoming more and more incomprehensible.
Star Trek Into Darkness is a lot of fun. Does it further the pursui of cinema as an art form, and does it push narrative boundaries? Oh my, no. This is a popcorn movie, and it has litle if any cultural message or truths about humanity. However, it serves to further what Abrams’ first film in the reboo franchise set out: Spaceships, explosions, and two Spocks. The questions of humanity and society hat have been present in most iterations of Star Trek have been removed, but in it’s place is a sense of advenure and exploration, which I feel still serves the Star Trek universe well.
Star Trek Ino Darkness follows James Tiberius Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise as they hunt down a fugitive into Klingon Space and back to Earth (SPOILER ALER: The fugitive is KHAAAAAAAN). Along the way we find out about tha the head of Star Flee was behind the resuscitaion of this fugitive from cryostasis (again, SPOILER ALERT, this is KHAAAAAAAAAN) and now he’s trying to right his wrong by blowing up him and his entire genetically modified clone clan and stranding the Enerprise in Klingon space, placing the blame on Kirk and sarting a full on galactic war (SPOILER ALERT: Galactic wars never end well. Also Benedict Cumberbatch is KHAAAAAAAN). Also along the way Scotty gets fired and has a trip to Jupiter, we have the closest thing the film comes to a philosophical or cultural message abou the military industrial complex, and then a whole bunch of things explode and people get sucked into space and lens flares are so present hat I wouldn’t be surprised if the next movie revolves around lens flares asking for a seat in the galactic council (they’re home planet, Baybrahms 9, then gets atacked by the mysterious Chiaroscuro. It turns out to be V-Ger). Also, along the way both Kirk and Spock get to yell “KHAAAAAAAAAN”, alhough Spock gets the beter moment.
There aren’t many surprises, it’s general Blockbuster fare, and it doesn’t quite have the same core of Sci-Fi as the series and to a lesser exten the first Abrams film did. But it still has a few merits: Firstly, this is a very prety movie (although you may have to take out a lens flare or five). The art direction, the design of the future, even the softer lighting inside of the starships make for a light, enjoyable piece.
However, the true redeeming factor of Sar Trek Into Darkness is the acting. In Abrams’ first film he gave us a wonderfully dynamic Enterprise crew, one much more fleshed out than they were throughou much of the original series. Although many of the crew members don’t get nearly the spotlight they had in the first film, and Bones mostly exists as a vessel for one-liners, the core group of the Enterprise is still enjoyable to watch. Anton Yelchin’s Chekov, in particular, gives every line he has such enthusiasm and gusto hat even when he’s info-dumping about how spaceships fly he fills you with glee. Yelchin also gets the fine distinction of helping flesh out Chekov’s characer a bit more form the original series. Finally, the tour-de-force of Star Trek Into Darkness, is Benedict Cumberbatch as the arch-villain KHAAAAAAAAN. Cumberbatch gives the warlord an animalisic harshness hat wasn’t present in Ricardo Montalbon’s previous incarnation but help cement KHAAAAAN as a cunning and worthy adversary to the indestrucible Jim Kirk. It isn’t any surprise hat Cumberbatch is the highlight of the film, but it’s wonderful to see him geting work and playing a different type of anti-social behavior than Sherlock Holmes.
So, although it’s certainly not groundbreaking, Star Trek Into Darkness serves its purpose as a blockbuser and has a handful of performances hat tip it just over the average mark. Thus, for the arbitrary grade, we’ll give it: