Monday, May 20, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness ★★★★


BOLDLY GOING WHERE IT’S GONE BEFORE

Opens in Australia: 9th May 2013; USA 15th May; UK 9th May
Other Countries: Release Information  
 
In forty-seven years since the launch of the original three-season series, ‘Star Trek’ has sparked five television series including an animation, eleven motion pictures and a fan base that continues to grow.  
 I grew up a trekkie. As a child of the sixties it was one of my favorite  shows. Then, oh joy, oh bliss, came ‘Star Trek Next Generation’ and all the fabulous follow-on series after and then the series of eighties and nineties movies.  In my previous life the company I owned even sponsored the eleven p.m. Thursday night series of ‘Star Trek Voyager.’  It was pretty cheap to run ads at that time of night.  So, this reboot was always on my must see list. 
The 2009 J.J. Abrams first ‘Star Trek’ reboot film was a hoot and despite my concerns after Abram’s ‘Lost’ series finale letdown, he managed to deliver a great start to the new series.  Also, too, was the fun of watching the new younger versions step into their iconic sixties characters. That guy who plays Doc really looks like the original doesn’t he?  So, I was bouncing in my seat for ‘Into Darkness’. 

In this voyage we are immediately thrown into a mission going wrong when, in order to save Spock, the crew must expose their existence to the primitive inhabitants of a planet; a no, no on the prime directive.  This sets up the exploration of the complex friendship between Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto).
Subsequently, Kirk is relieved of his duty and demoted to first officer on another ship and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is also re-assigned.  However, during a Star Fleet headquarters meeting they are attacked by a new super nemesis, mysterious intergalactic terrorist John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch).  Kirk is re-commissioned by Star Fleet Admiral (Peter Weller) to gather his original crew to take off in pursuit of the terrorist who has wreaked havoc and killed some of the nearest and dearest of Star Fleet.  The truth they discover when they find Harrison is not what they are expecting.

Returning to The Enterprise is the crew that brought it so viscerally to life in the original, Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Simon Pegg as Chief Engineer “Scotty” Scott, Zoe Saldana as Communications Officer Uhura, John Cho as Helmsman Hikaru Sulu, Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov and Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Christopher Pike.
Whilst it is an enjoyable blockbuster, it didn’t beam me up as I’d hoped.  Some of it felt like a bunch of scenes we have seen before mashed together; one I think taken from the 1982 ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ but with a reversal of characters.


Gene Rodenberry’s (the original creator of Star Trek) vision of the future was one of optimism and hope.  He created Star Trek to explore charged political topics such as racism, greed, and violence and as an exemplar of how much is achieved when we work together for the betterment of all and not just expansion of power. He had an unusual optimism of the future considering the cold-war, nuclear fearful era in which he lived.
I think it is the lack of optimism where the problem lies for me in ‘Into Darkness’.  Whilst there is much to enjoy here and most Trekkies and sci-fi buffs will revel in it, for me it is missing that special ingredient.  However, regardless it’s still a must see because let’s face it any Star Trek is better than no Star Trek. 
 Are you a trekkie and what do you think of the reboot franchise?