Rob’s Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Letter Grade:

The Good:

Great design aesthetic that draws you into the world.
Non-stop action that doesn't ignore character development.
Excellent villain that's written well.

The Bad:

Not a fan of the new design of the Klingons.

Cast & Crew:

Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Peter Weller, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, and Bruce Greenwood

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence

I’m fairly sure that Starfleet’s real mission isn’t deep space exploration, or fighting aliens, it’s really tailoring. I swear, they seem to have a different style of uniform for every day of the week. Figuring out what uniform to wear each day must be just exhausting for Starfleet officers. Though I suppose that’s not much compared to what they go through in the rest of Star Trek Into Darkness. Into Darkness keeps the pedal down the whole way through, it doesn’t for a moment even think about starting to drag.

The cast of the “first” movie is back, (Chris PineZachary QuintoZoe SaldanaKarl UrbanSimon PeggJohn ChoAnton Yelchin, and Bruce Greenwood) and we’re introduced to Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) and her father the Admiral (Peter Weller), and the terrorist John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has declared a one-man war against Starfleet. When a Starfleet facility in London is bombed the crew of the Enterprise are tasked to capture the perpetrator.

For all the action, there’s still a good amount of character growth. Pine’s Kirk does a lot of growing up, with some nice fatherly interplay between him and Admiral Pike in the beginning of the film, and Kirk’s conscience is constantly being tested throughout as he teeters on the line between revenge and justice in his search for Harrison. Kirk’s relationship with Spock is also advanced, as Spock continues to deal with the aftermath of his planet being destroyed and what it means to be half Vulcan but also half Human. Cumberbatch also really excels as the villain, giving real menace to a character that really benefited from the writing.

Into Darkness is really a very modern movie, not just in looks, but also in theme.  It’s about an uncivilized threat in a civilized time, and clearly deals with the War on Terror and people’s reactions to such a threat. How far can you go before your reaction becomes unreasonable and obsessive?

J.J. Abrams did a wonderful job, and it really gives you hope for the new Star Wars movies. I know some will complain about the lens flare, but I honestly didn’t notice it once during the movie. I thought the design worked very well in general. The bridge is a very modern Apple store, but in the more technical areas that design aesthetic gives way to a much more realistic/industrial look. The engine room looks like an actual engine room and the weapons systems harken back to more nautical times. Instead of phasers and torpedoes magically appearing from the side of the ship there are phaser turrets and actual torpedo tubes, which gives it all a more realistic feel.

I suppose my one complaint would be the new design of the Klingons. I’m sure this is a personal taste thing, but I wish they’d gotten a little closer to the original design. As it is they seem closer to a lizard creature from the Super Mario Brothers movie than the Klingons we’ve grown to know and respect.

There are also some very interesting parallels between this incarnation’s reality and the “prime” Star Trek universe. They aren’t just taking the Star Trek universe and writing their own stories for it. They seem to actually be putting some thought into how things would differ in this reality, and that really gives more power to the events that do more directly parallel the prime universe.  In the end, Star Trek Into Darkness is an excellent sci-fi action movie.

Rob Bernard (108 Posts)

Rob is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Techie of Cinedraft. He hated Million Dollar Baby. And is really excited about the Ender’s Game movie. More About Me