Film Review: “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (2013)

“Space: the final frontier.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds,
to seek out new life and new civilizations,
to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

In order to Savor the new generation “Star Trek” series produced/directed by JJ Abrams, you sort of have had to be there for the original beginning in ‘66’, cancelled by NBC in ’69 due to low ratings. However, NBC and others failed to recognize the impact of this series on American culture and it eventually spawned five more similar series and 12 films. In 2011, the decision to cancel Star Trek by NBC was ranked #4 on the TV Guide special: “The 25 Biggest TV Blunders 2”.

JJ Abrams re-created the first of the truly high-tech Star Treks in 2009, retroactively re-uniting most of the original characters in their youth and the beginning of their Star Fleet careers. The ’09 film worked well and set the stage for the latest Iteration this month: “Star Trek II: Into Darkness” which should have been a smooth, logical transition.

Unfortunately, the new film doesn’t completely deliver as it could have.  The story line is hokey and needlessly convoluted, tending to wring overacting skills rather than character development from its participants. Abrams tends to use flash and light shows to augment and ultimately replace plot. The villain isn’t very believable and the crisis involving Kirk at the end elicited groans from the audience. Bones McCoy is particularly rendered a caricature of his original self (“Damn it Jim….I’m a DOCTOR, not a engineering technician!).

3-D adds little and the IMAX experience ends up bloated and feeding on itself, promoting sore necks from audiences heads moving side to side for two hours. Chris Pine was mildly disappointing this time around, unable to grab a firm connection to the plot or the audience. Zachary Quinto as Spock was given a meatier role than last time and he runs with it well. The rest of the cast were either throw-aways or add-ons.

Best part:  The coherent story line and action sequences in the first five minutes, all of which dissolved quickly.

Worst part:  Too much flash and glitz, quickly numbing the audience like a big screen JLo concert. McCoy’s irritating use of glitzy metaphors for every occasion: “You don’t rob a bank when the getaway car has a flat tire!”

I was disappointed in this effort. JJ Abrams succumbed to dumbing down the film for a quick box office blast from thrill seekers. He should have demanded better writing and more substance. He could have had it.

I give it three of five Blond PhDs with great legs knowledgeably fiddling with photon torpedo innards.

 

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