With two notable exceptions – “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” – most attempts to take the “Star Trek” TV franchise to the big screen have been mediocre at best.
But director J.J. Abrams and his team are two for two with the series reboot that began in 2009 with “Star Trek” and continues with “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
For the uninitiated, the 2009 film introduced a time anomaly that allows the new series to start over without strict adherence to past “Star Trek” plots. The storytelling universe is wide open, but the filmmakers refuse to make a wholesale break.
“Into Darkness” is a clever tale that takes themes and characters from past “Star Trek” productions and delivers a fresh experience. Most fans probably know the big secret surrounding English actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, but you won’t read about it here. I’ll only say the twist is just shy of brilliant.
Kirk (Chris Pine), Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the crew of the USS Enterprise are faced with a terrorist enemy, who doesn’t care about collateral damage. Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) sends the Enterprise on a revenge mission with a payload of secret missiles, which are clearly meant to remind viewers of the drones the U.S. has used in its fight against terrorists.
An already dangerous mission becomes more complicated, as Kirk and his team deal with the terrorist and other surprises.
The heart of the film is the growing friendship between Kirk and Spock, but Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) have their own story arcs.
Abrams knows how to share the wealth with his actors. That helps explain how he and his team are two for two when it comes to making outstanding “Star Trek” movies.
“Into Darkness” is an action film, but it’s more precise to describe it as a story about humans who cope with adrenaline-filled situations in ways that reveal character.
I give “Star Trek Into Darkness” an A.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
Kelli Karlson, Wizard 106.7
‘It was funny. Never a dull moment. I will see it again and own it.’
“Roadkill” Bill Wizard 106.7
‘It’s a clever, action packed and fun movie. I loved it.’
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal