Either one of us could have and wanted to write this movie review, but our hectic schedule recently it fell onto my shoulders. With that being said, I am pleased and almost even honored to be able to review this movie. I have seen all of the previous Star Trek feature films in the franchise although I remember some better than others. I have seen most of the original series, nearly all of The Next Generation, most of Deep Space Nine, all of Voyager, and nearly none of Enterprise. I have attended some minor conventions but I do not consider myself a Trekkie.
Honestly, I was usually forced or felt obligated to be so involved in the Star Trek universe because my father and brother were such large fans. I believe that my brother knows more about Star Trek than nearly anyone but all of those hours I spent watching him play every Star Trek video game led to my own absurd knowledge on the subject. That is why I feel that I am a capable critic for this movie. I am objective because I never loved the series but I am knowledgeable because of my vast experience in the field.
Alana loves the team that created 2009’s Star Trek because they also brought her Lost. She is a huge fan of the first movie and was far more excited than I was about this sequel. The first point I would like to make is that the soundtrack is stellar. It utilizes themes from previous movies and television shows but remasters them. This brings about a very nice nostalgic atmosphere for fans old and new. The soundtrack also fit the context of the movie perfectly and was honestly what I feel was the most successful element of the movie. Special effects, makeup, costumes, and sets were all very streamlined and stylized compared to what was offered decades ago. It accomplished this effect, for me, without diverging too far from being authentic.
The original crew returned and continued to provide solid performances. Zachary Quinto was phenomenal. Chris Pine was good. Simon Pegg provided great comic relief. JJ Abrams was successful in many ways and it is reflected by critic reviews, box office numbers, and some fanboys’ feelings.
Here is my only qualm and it is a major spoiler so please do not continue if you are a Star Trek fan who is familiar with the back story… the WAY back story. Cumberbatch was perfect as Harrison but he is not Kahn. He did not live up to Ricardo Moltoban’s performance in what is widely seen as the best film of the series. They completely ignored the back story and history of the most prominent individual villain in Star Trek, period. Luckily, it did not take away from the context of the movie that Abram’s built. All of these successes, mixed with solid plot twists supported by a misleading trailer, make Star Trek Into Darkness as one of the most entertaining entries in the series. I would rank it in my top 5 all time of the 12 total choices. Off the top of my head, my list would look as follows.
1. The Wrath of Kahn – The greatest villain in the series creates the Enterprise’s greatest challenge.
2. A Voyage Home – Childhood memories and a comedic self-reflecting take make this one enjoyable.
3. First Contact – A powerful race tries to assimilate humanity as TNG crew fights back.
4. Star Trek – The series reboot provides fresh faces and style as Star Trek “enters pop-culture.”
5. Star Trek Into Darkness – Arguably the greatest back to back delivery, depending on how you feel about The Search for Spock.
6. A Search for Spock – Nimoy’s directorial debut takes Star Trek further outside its box and ties together two great films.
7-12. Final Frontier and Undiscovered Country were enjoyable as a child but were not more than that. Generations fail to capitalize on its title’s concept. Nemesis loses fans as it fails to achieve blockbuster status. Insurrection is nothing more than a bright mess. The Motion Picture bores all with its symbolic and body-less villain.
We may go back and watch the classics again because it’s been so long and Alana hasn’t seen them all but from my memory that is how the list stands. Whether you’re a movie fan, a Trekkie, someone like me, or just someone looking for a good time, I highly recommend you go out to theaters and watch Star Trek Into Darkness.