‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is a must-see in the theater

Published 11:59 am Saturday, May 18, 2013

There are some films that are worth the price of admission; J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness is certainly one of them. The long-awaited sequel to the brilliant Star Trek (2009) is just as good as you hoped, maybe even better. It is far more cheeky, energetic and action-packed than the first film, and the villain is one of the best I have seen on film in a long time. Although I am not a diehard Trekkie, I actually started to feel like I was after I left the theater! I loved the humorous references to the earlier series/films (at least the references I understood/were explained by the man beside me) and appreciated Abrams’ efforts to make Star Trek fans cheer from the audience. After all, it’s always a fun movie experience when you see a film with enthusiastic viewers. Bottom line: you don’t need to be a Trekkie (or Trekker) to enjoy this film. The brilliance of Abrams’ Star Trek reboot is that it appeals to everyone.

While you CAN forego the 3D aspect of the Star Trek experience, be sure NOT to miss it in IMAX. It is certainly worth the surcharge since J.J. Abrams shot over 30 minutes of footage using 65 mm film. It wasn’t converted in post-production and you WILL get the bang for your buck. When you’re already super excited for a movie, there’s no better sight for a movie nerd than when a movie opens up to showcase its extra IMAX space. Not to mention the sound is incredible as well.

Out of respect for J.J. Abrams’ veil of secrecy over his projects, and the fact I don’t want to ruin the film’s many surprises, my summary of Star Trek Into Darkness will be short. That being said, please don’t read spoilers about the film before you go! Believe me, you will want to be surprised and the film will play much better if you are.

The cold open of the film begins with James Kirk (Chris Pine) and Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) running from an indigenous tribe on a volcanic (not Vulcanic) planet. The USS Enterprise has been sent to save the inhabitants from an apocalyptic volcanic eruption; however, the crew is commanded not to let the people see them interfering. After all, the civilization has yet to invent the wheel. What will they think when they see a giant spaceship?

Meanwhile, Spock’s (Zachary Quinto) mission to cool down the volcano goes awry and he is stuck in the eruption zone. Although Spock is prepared to give his life to save the planet, Kirk breaks protocol and saves him, while also revealing the Enterprise to the indigenous people. After a completely logical mission report from Spock reveals Kirk broke the Federation’s Prime Directive, the Enterprise is removed from Kirk’s command and Kirk is demoted (putting a huge damper on the Spock/Kirk bromance). That is, until the villainous John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) wreaks havoc on a Federation facility in London. Due to spoilerish circumstances, Kirk must rally the Enterprise crew to find Harrison and bring him to justice.

Like in the first film, the acting in Star Trek Into Darkness is top-notch. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are perfectly cast as Kirk and Spock. They play their roles with incredible humor and sincerity, which makes for an entertaining movie experience. Abrams also makes sure to use the supporting cast for levity when the action starts to get dark. These actors, especially Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu), and Karl Urban (Bones) provide some of the funniest moments in the film and make many awesome references back to the original Star Trek series.

Last but certainly not least is Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as John Harrison. As I said before, John Harrison is the best villain to hit theaters in a long time. Cumberbatch’s booming voice and mysterious demeanor make his character as interesting as he is scary. At many points in the movie, I even found myself rooting for him instead of the Enterprise crew! Blasphemy, I know.

Despite the budding romance between Spock and Uhura, the real emotion in this movie is centered around Spock and Kirk’s “bromance”. From the very beginning of the film, the audience is shown how much each character values their relationship. This theme of friendship is weaved through each scene, finally culminating in a historic moment in the third act. Believe me, it is the most memorable scene of the film and one you will talk about immediately after you leave the theater.

The ONLY complaint I have with Star Trek Into Darkness is that it ends a little too abruptly. Having such a fantastic villain, it would have been nice to see an even bigger fight scene than what is shown. It almost felt that Abrams realized his movie was running too long, and decided the climax was where he should make edits. Though I enjoyed the level of jealousy she incited in Spock, Abrams could have easily cut Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) in order to add more time for the “showdown scene”.

Regardless of whether or not you are a Trekkie, Star Trek Into Darkness is certainly a movie you need to see opening weekend. The film’s visuals are amazing, especially in IMAX, and Michael Giacchino’s score gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Not to mention, the longer you go without seeing the movie, the more prone you are to hearing spoilers! Although it will probably be awhile before the next Star Trek movie begins filming, I will sleep peacefully tonight knowing Abrams’ next project, Star Wars, is in brilliant hands.


LAUREN BRADSHAW grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., and can be reached at lnb5e@virginia.edu.