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Review: Star Trek Into Darkness (Chris Bumbray's take)

May. 16, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: The crew of the U.S.S Enterprise is sent on a dangerous mission to eliminate rogue Starfleet officer John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose latest acts of terror have left thousands dead, and might plunge the federation into a war with the Klingons.

REVIEW: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS doesn't waste any time picking up right where J.J Abrams' STAR TREK reboot left off four years ago. When we last left the Enterprise, Kirk (Chris Pine) had just been given command, with Mr. Spock as his erstwhile first officer. When this picks up, we find Kirk, Spock and the irascible as always Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) on a mission to save a planet outside the federation from a destructive volcano. In an absolutely mammoth action set-piece that sets the pace for what's to follow, Abrams absolutely dazzles us with 3D eye-candy, as Spock finds himself trapped in a live volcano, while Kirk and McCoy are chased by the planet's inhabitants in a bit highly reminiscent of the opening chase in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Like the first film's bravura U.S.S Kelvin opening (a scene which introduced audiences to a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth), it sets the bar high for the rest of the movie.

Again, just like the last film, it's not the action and eye candy that really makes STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS work. Rather, it's the interplay between characters, with the Kirk/Spock storyline once again being particularly strong. While some of the players, like John Cho and Anton Yelchin find themselves with pretty small roles in this instalment, Abrams uses a good chunk of the 130 minute running time to further beef up the Kirk/Spock relationship, which always has been the heart of the franchise.

Just like in the last film, Chris Pine's Kirk doesn't feel like he's grown into the guy Shatner played, with him being hotheaded and egotistical, but even more than last time, you can feel his Kirk growing into the man he needs to be. Other than Spock, his most important relationship is with the fatherly Admiral Pike, once again played by Bruce Greenwood. The material between these two gets the film off to a great start, and plants the seeds for what's to come, not only in the rest of the movie, but also for the rest of the franchise. We see Pine evolve more and more into the character over the course of the movie, and once again, he's excellent.

By contrast, Zachary Quinto already feels like he's perfectly assumed the mantle of Spock from Leonard Nimoy, and the Spock we see in INTO DARKNESS is perfectly in line with the way Nimoy played him on the original series. In some ways, INTO DARKNESS is even more Quinto's movie than it is Pine's and while I liked Quinto in the first film, I was absolutely floored by him here, especially in the no-holds-barred, audience pleasing finale, which I won't spoil here. His relationship with Zoe Saldana's Uhura is also further explored, and it's interesting how the new franchise has really made the character prominent, thanks in no small part to Saldana's spunk (and obvious sex appeal).

Simon Pegg's Scotty also emerges as a particularly important player. While Pegg played it mostly for laughs last time, here he's really the soul of the Enterprise, and really puts his own stamp on the character. Karl Urban's McCoy gets a bit short-changed in terms of screen-time, which is a shame, but he gets a couple of funny, enjoyably hammy McCoy lines (dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a...!). Urban looks and acts uncannily like DeForest Kelly, and I hope we get more of him in the sequel.

Leading the newcomers is Benedict Cumberbatch as the mysterious Harrison. This is a part of the movie I'm really not going to go that into, as it's hard to discuss without spoiling things. Suffice to say, Cumberbatch, with his impeccably sinister diction and physicality makes for a memorable villain. The original (and best) ROBOCOP, Peter Weller, gets a nice comeback part as the head of Starfleet- Admiral Marcus, with the ultra sexy Alice Eve on-board as his rebellious daughter Carol, who hardcore Trekkers know becomes an integral part of Kirk's storyline further down the line. I love watching Eve, and if she becomes a big part of the franchise, I'll be very happy indeed.

I should acknowledge that STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS has been surprisingly controversial with a lot of the hardcore fans, and having watched the film, I can understand why some might have problems with it. The last half hour of the film does indeed owe a lot to another integral instalment in the franchise, but there's an intriguing reversal that I think really makes it work. For the general audience or just casual fans, this will probably be a non-issue, but I also think that if the ultra-Trekkies can keep an open mind, they'll enjoy it too (for the record, I grew up worshipping The Original Series and films).

If I have any problems with STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS it's that maybe there's too much action. Abrams is so relentless with the huge action beats that they become a little exhausting at a point, and you can't help but wish here and there that the film would slow down just a tad. Still, the action is always strong, and even in the midst of all the carnage they manage to keep the story going, and never skimp on character development. There's also a tacked-on, fan service cameo that- while cool- is a bit unnecessary and could have easily been worked into the film in a more fluid way.

On the whole though, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS is a pretty damn thrilling entry into the Summer blockbuster movie season, and if you liked the last one, I'm pretty confident that you'll enjoy this one too. Once again, I'm anxious to see more of the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:45AM on 05/16/2013
Can't wait. Seeing it tonight in IMAX 3D. I think I may be excited more for this than I was with Iron Man 3.
Can't wait. Seeing it tonight in IMAX 3D. I think I may be excited more for this than I was with Iron Man 3.
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8:56AM on 05/16/2013
I agree with Noms...
Have fun Solo !
I agree with Noms...
Have fun Solo !
8:10AM on 05/16/2013
Hey, thanks dude.
Hey, thanks dude.
1:51AM on 05/16/2013
I thought this was better than Iron Man 3 and I really enjoyed that film. Have a good time tonight111
I thought this was better than Iron Man 3 and I really enjoyed that film. Have a good time tonight111
2:21AM on 05/16/2013
Awesome. Nice to hear that the 3D is good in this instance. I was apprehensive about checking it out in IMAX (since it was either IMAX-3D or regular), but now I know I'll have a good time with IMAX-3D.
Awesome. Nice to hear that the 3D is good in this instance. I was apprehensive about checking it out in IMAX (since it was either IMAX-3D or regular), but now I know I'll have a good time with IMAX-3D.
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3:56AM on 05/16/2013
I disagree with Chris, I thought the 3D wasn't great, barely noticeable and didn't add anything to the film as a whole. JJ has always said he isn't a fan of 3D so seeing the film 2D makes more sense as that's how he approaches his films.
But that's just my opinion. I would like to see it 2D however on the big screen.
PS I only saw it 3D by default of going with a large group who wanted to see the 3D version.
I disagree with Chris, I thought the 3D wasn't great, barely noticeable and didn't add anything to the film as a whole. JJ has always said he isn't a fan of 3D so seeing the film 2D makes more sense as that's how he approaches his films.
But that's just my opinion. I would like to see it 2D however on the big screen.
PS I only saw it 3D by default of going with a large group who wanted to see the 3D version.
+3
2:30AM on 05/16/2013
Really looking forward to this. I've been a mild fan of the series, particularly TNG. However, I never got into the original films. Really enjoyed the 2009 film though and this one looks like a blast as well. If there's one kind of film I enjoy, it's a summer blockbuster done right, and this looks like just that.
Really looking forward to this. I've been a mild fan of the series, particularly TNG. However, I never got into the original films. Really enjoyed the 2009 film though and this one looks like a blast as well. If there's one kind of film I enjoy, it's a summer blockbuster done right, and this looks like just that.
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+2
2:37AM on 05/16/2013
Agree. 8/10.
Agree. 8/10.
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3:02AM on 05/16/2013
This movie was amazing. I would give it a higher rating but one thing we can agree on is that most will enjoy this movie. Can't wait for a sequel!
This movie was amazing. I would give it a higher rating but one thing we can agree on is that most will enjoy this movie. Can't wait for a sequel!
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3:10AM on 05/16/2013

loved it.

This was awesome. Hope it makes decent bank opening weekend.
This was awesome. Hope it makes decent bank opening weekend.
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9:27AM on 05/16/2013
Not sure if you were saying that as a joke. But I really don't think that will be a problem for this flick. It's the only big-scale epic summer film this year that's not a superhero movie. Way more appeal to the general public. I predict this blows Iron Man 3 out of the water.
Not sure if you were saying that as a joke. But I really don't think that will be a problem for this flick. It's the only big-scale epic summer film this year that's not a superhero movie. Way more appeal to the general public. I predict this blows Iron Man 3 out of the water.
+0
3:51AM on 05/16/2013

Pre-used plot line

Without spoiling the film I would love to hear JJ's take on this use of previously used plot device. My own theory is this has something to do with the time continuum being changed in the previous film and that kind of makes sense when thinking back to another scene in the film that I wont spoil here.
Without spoiling the film I would love to hear JJ's take on this use of previously used plot device. My own theory is this has something to do with the time continuum being changed in the previous film and that kind of makes sense when thinking back to another scene in the film that I wont spoil here.
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4:15AM on 05/16/2013
I enjoyed it by a long shot
I enjoyed it by a long shot
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8:41AM on 05/16/2013

Unbiased fair review unlike Eric Walkuski's review

Chris here acknowledges that a) this movie is solid b) that some trek fans may have issues regarding something. However, he also acknowledges that non fans and fans alike will also enjoy it. And not have issues. The other review by Eric Walkuski was extremely biased by saying. "I dont like this because it sorta kinda not reallt copied star trek 2 and in my mind this movie isnt allowed to do that, and I am the keeper of star trek lore and decide what is allowable and what isnt"

Glad Chris
Chris here acknowledges that a) this movie is solid b) that some trek fans may have issues regarding something. However, he also acknowledges that non fans and fans alike will also enjoy it. And not have issues. The other review by Eric Walkuski was extremely biased by saying. "I dont like this because it sorta kinda not reallt copied star trek 2 and in my mind this movie isnt allowed to do that, and I am the keeper of star trek lore and decide what is allowable and what isnt"

Glad Chris can acknowledge both sides of the coin and pull back and rate the movie unbiasedly and objectively.
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8:51AM on 05/16/2013

Cant wait to see it

Had a buddy see it last night, texted me after saying I needed to go this weekend, hope I get the chance this looks awesome
Had a buddy see it last night, texted me after saying I needed to go this weekend, hope I get the chance this looks awesome
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8:53AM on 05/16/2013
'The Kirk/Spock relationship, which always has been the heart of the franchise.'
Sorry, but, for me, the franchise was the 'bromance trio' of Kirk, Spock and McCoy (heart, brain and soul), and I think Bones' part was reduced to makes Uhura's one bigger and the new 'soul' of the franchise... It's a shame, and one of my VERY FEW complaint toward STID... A GREAT movie, to be seen in IMAX if you can.
'The Kirk/Spock relationship, which always has been the heart of the franchise.'
Sorry, but, for me, the franchise was the 'bromance trio' of Kirk, Spock and McCoy (heart, brain and soul), and I think Bones' part was reduced to makes Uhura's one bigger and the new 'soul' of the franchise... It's a shame, and one of my VERY FEW complaint toward STID... A GREAT movie, to be seen in IMAX if you can.
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9:35AM on 05/16/2013
Couldn't agree with you more. A month of two ago I rewatched some of the Star Trek films and couldn't help but notice that the plots really came down to how Kirk, Spock, and Bones resolved the conflict. The other crew members were never anything more than support to that trio. It kind of sucks that Bones has to take a back seat to Uhura for the sake of sex appeal, love stories, and the standard requirement for a strong female character in movies nowadays.
Couldn't agree with you more. A month of two ago I rewatched some of the Star Trek films and couldn't help but notice that the plots really came down to how Kirk, Spock, and Bones resolved the conflict. The other crew members were never anything more than support to that trio. It kind of sucks that Bones has to take a back seat to Uhura for the sake of sex appeal, love stories, and the standard requirement for a strong female character in movies nowadays.
9:32AM on 05/16/2013
Great review, can't wait to see this tomorrow night. I'm heading down to North Carolina this weekend and actually talked the group of friends I'm going there with to take time tomorrow to see this in theatres, lol. I love being a geek!
That being said, I really enjoyed this review. It's nice to see a critic actually rate and critique a film on it's own merits, opposed to rating it against how it stacks up against source material or fanboy expectations. The reboot in 2009 was done extremely
Great review, can't wait to see this tomorrow night. I'm heading down to North Carolina this weekend and actually talked the group of friends I'm going there with to take time tomorrow to see this in theatres, lol. I love being a geek!
That being said, I really enjoyed this review. It's nice to see a critic actually rate and critique a film on it's own merits, opposed to rating it against how it stacks up against source material or fanboy expectations. The reboot in 2009 was done extremely well and it launched a new Star Trek universe for the big screen and for a younger audience. I don't care about what's come before, all I care is that these new films can stay consistent to the 2009 movie that relaunched it. And this movie seems to be staying on that track.
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9:35AM on 05/16/2013
Great review, can't wait to see this tomorrow night. I'm heading down to North Carolina this weekend and actually talked the group of friends I'm going there with to take time tomorrow to see this in theatres, lol. I love being a geek!
That being said, I really enjoyed this review. It's nice to see a critic actually rate and critique a film on it's own merits, opposed to rating it against how it stacks up against source material or fanboy expectations. The reboot in 2009 was done extremely
Great review, can't wait to see this tomorrow night. I'm heading down to North Carolina this weekend and actually talked the group of friends I'm going there with to take time tomorrow to see this in theatres, lol. I love being a geek!
That being said, I really enjoyed this review. It's nice to see a critic actually rate and critique a film on it's own merits, opposed to rating it against how it stacks up against source material or fanboy expectations. The reboot in 2009 was done extremely well and it launched a new Star Trek universe for the big screen and for a younger audience. I don't care about what's come before, all I care is that these new films can stay consistent to the 2009 movie that relaunched it. And this movie seems to be staying on that track.
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9:44AM on 05/16/2013
Def an 8/10 after seeing the midnight showing. Cumberbatch is quite excellent in this along with Peter Weller. As a long time trek fan, I was a bit thrown by the segment, that once people see, could make or break the movie for them but its an interesting twist if anything else. All in all its a really enjoyable film, with some really brutal violence and insane special effects.
Def an 8/10 after seeing the midnight showing. Cumberbatch is quite excellent in this along with Peter Weller. As a long time trek fan, I was a bit thrown by the segment, that once people see, could make or break the movie for them but its an interesting twist if anything else. All in all its a really enjoyable film, with some really brutal violence and insane special effects.
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+20
10:38AM on 05/16/2013
I could look at that pic of Alice Eve all day.
I could look at that pic of Alice Eve all day.
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-1
12:18PM on 05/16/2013

A great sci-fi epic thrill ride.

Saw it last night, it is a great epic summer blockbuster, with non-stop explosive action and more of a human side than expected. Also, Benedict Cumberbatch great! A must see in IMAX 3D, one of the best 3D films yet, and quite possibly the best Star Trek film.
Saw it last night, it is a great epic summer blockbuster, with non-stop explosive action and more of a human side than expected. Also, Benedict Cumberbatch great! A must see in IMAX 3D, one of the best 3D films yet, and quite possibly the best Star Trek film.
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1:00PM on 05/16/2013

Still torn on what I thought of it

Left the theater last night not knowing if I actually enjoyed the movie. Too many spoilers I would reveal if I typed them but yeah...no idea if i enjoyed it or not. very torn.
Left the theater last night not knowing if I actually enjoyed the movie. Too many spoilers I would reveal if I typed them but yeah...no idea if i enjoyed it or not. very torn.
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+6
1:51PM on 05/16/2013

Blew Me Away

I had high expectations after my disappointment with Iron Man 3... well, they were met and went beyond my expectations! This might be the film of the summer, I just loved it! And the IMAX 3D, while expensive, really is worth it. Can't wait to see it again this weekend!
I had high expectations after my disappointment with Iron Man 3... well, they were met and went beyond my expectations! This might be the film of the summer, I just loved it! And the IMAX 3D, while expensive, really is worth it. Can't wait to see it again this weekend!
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5:45PM on 05/16/2013
Loved this movie, it's the anti Iron Man 3! Hardcore Trekkies/Trekkers might be pissed but speaking as someone who spent Jan 2012-May 2013 watching every Trek series and every Trek movie the Bad Robot Star Trek is the best and most fun. Deep Space Nine wasn't too shabby either.
Loved this movie, it's the anti Iron Man 3! Hardcore Trekkies/Trekkers might be pissed but speaking as someone who spent Jan 2012-May 2013 watching every Trek series and every Trek movie the Bad Robot Star Trek is the best and most fun. Deep Space Nine wasn't too shabby either.
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8:24PM on 05/16/2013

SPOILERS!

Only thing i hated was when Kirk is about to save the ship, cuz I kept thinking... "the trailer and poster let me know they hit the water soooooo :(" but they just pulled the switcharoo with the other ship, but still it took me outta the movie, but kirk in the next scene... wow, saved it
Only thing i hated was when Kirk is about to save the ship, cuz I kept thinking... "the trailer and poster let me know they hit the water soooooo :(" but they just pulled the switcharoo with the other ship, but still it took me outta the movie, but kirk in the next scene... wow, saved it
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1:03AM on 05/17/2013
Just saw the movie, and I think an 8 rating is a lot more fair than the 7 it received in the first review. I have to be honest, while it was good and I enjoyed it, I almost felt while watching it that Abrams was going through the motions...and the fact that he's said he was never a fan of Star Trek before...makes me a little glad he's moving on from the franchise (hopefully) to do the Star Wars thing. I'd like to see what someone else can do with the new crew now that Abrams has set it up
Just saw the movie, and I think an 8 rating is a lot more fair than the 7 it received in the first review. I have to be honest, while it was good and I enjoyed it, I almost felt while watching it that Abrams was going through the motions...and the fact that he's said he was never a fan of Star Trek before...makes me a little glad he's moving on from the franchise (hopefully) to do the Star Wars thing. I'd like to see what someone else can do with the new crew now that Abrams has set it up nicely for us. And get new screenwriters who will bring something new to the Star Trek universe. Not half-baked, rehashed plot points from the first 11 movies.
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