"Star Trek: Into Darkness" Brings Down the Wattage
J. J. Abrams’ "Star Trek Into Darkness" is the second installment of his rebooting of the Star Trek franchise. Unlike, say the Star Wars trilogy, Mr. Abrams’ second film has very little connection, other than the continuation of some romances, to the first. It would have helped the franchise if, like "Return of the Jedi," there was a dark twist of which our heroes must battle through so we’d have to wait for the next installment to see if they are successful. But it is not to be. Instead "Into Darkness" stands on its own without drawing much attention to itself.
One of the sub plots that runs through this reboot is whether Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) has the ability to hold down his position. Being adverse to rules and regulations and going with his "gut" against all odds and logic is a magnet for insubordination charges. It happens at the outset of this movie. He loses his command so he must work to get it back. That journey begins when a secret Starfleet command center in London is bombed and all of the Starfleet commanders convene to plot out how to bring the perpetrator to justice. One would think that a location with all of Starfleet’s commanders present would be well fortified. Not the case here. The group is attacked by a rogue Starfleet agent John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and commanders are killed. Kirk is part of the Enterprise crew assigned with tracking Harrison down and killing him.
The story is straightforward. There are some moral discussions about whether or not they should kill Harrison or capture him and bring him to justice. There are a few surprises that fans of the series will relish but will be missed by everyone else. A few characters from the earlier movies and the television series make appearances. But what makes "Into Darkness" entertaining and worth the price of admission is the motley assortment of characters that have to live and work with each other in the confines of the Enterprise.
Mr. Pines has the formidable task of recreating one of the most beloved cinematic characters of which William Shatner has left his mark. Mr. Pines wisely doesn’t mimic Mr. Shatner’s portrayal. Instead he is tuned in to this well defined character and lets the circumstances dictate his reactions. He doesn’t allow Mr. Shatner to be missed. The best foil for Mr. Kirk’s gung-ho approach is the logic minded Spock (Zachary Quinto). The clashing personalities are more interesting then the drama that has ignited them. Validating the term "three’s a crowd" is Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) whose temperament is somewhere in the middle of Spock and Kirk’s. Then there’s Uhura (Zoe Saldana) who is navigating through a relationship with the emotionally reserved Spock. "Into Darkness" introduces the beloved engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg) who might be argued is the real hero of the franchise since he’s the one who manages to get the Enterprise to work just when the moment of truth arrives.
The characters are what make this movie. They’ve been developed for decades starting with the television series. Each episode had a point which was relative to the time Star Trek was created. The creators of "Into Darkness" tried to make t
he story relevant for today but have come up short. But going on this adventure with the crew is worth it and increases the anticipation of sharing the next one with the same old friends.