Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Star Trek reaches new heights with sequel film

While unwilling to commit 100 percent to the original lore, Star Trek Into Darkness may not have fulfilled every Trek desire but was still a fantastically exciting ride.

We’re re-introduced to our bridge crew with Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) trying to distract a tribal planet society as Spock (Zachary Quinto) is lowered into an active volcano as an act to save their civilization. Something goes wrong and Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are forced to return to the Enterprise which is seated at the bottom of the sea where the two other in command, Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) await for them. Kirk is forced into a reckless decision to save Spock, which leads them to breaking their undercover position and causing uproar amongst the planets inhabitants.

And from that opening scene the action hardly pauses for a moment for the viewers or the characters to catch their breath.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

There are two major faults with this film that keep me, and I’m sure others, from loving it blindly. One is the villain; the other is J.J. Abrams missing what Star Trek really is about.

Benedict Cumberbatch is a phenomenal actor. He has a masterful physicality in this film and commands attention but it goes to waste on such a thinly drawn villain that relies heavily on prior fan knowledge than an actual three-dimensional character. He serves a purpose, and while he does so better than Eric Bana’s Nero, the villain is still the weak portion of the film’s overall success.

And secondly, Abrams clearly misses the point. I love a good action flick, I love the adrenaline, the break neck speed and the inability to relent for a second and I still love these versions of the series. However, Star Trek was such a monumental period of entertainment despite its hastily painted alien planets, hammy acting and super miniskirts on its female crew because of its hope for a better future. The original series was about how mankind could do better, how despite your race, sex, etc. you were invaluable to the universe. It was about helping those who needed it and accepting the help from those willing to provide it. Star Trek Into Darkness shares the same ship, the same characters and even adds in some wonderful nods to the original series but it doesn’t quite capture the same ideals.

This movie succeeds in its ability to encapsulate the camaraderie of the crew of the Enterprise and allowing each character their own moment to shine. Spock is an action hero like we’ve never seen before a character that is so well-known for his precise movements, level-headed emotions and logic. Urban proves that his uncanny likeliness to the late Deforest Kelly wasn’t a fluke in the first film and continues to be a highlight in the film’s success, albeit an underused one, Saldana gets to play more than the girlfriend to Quinto’s Spock.

However the two standouts are Simon Pegg’s Scotty and Chris Pine’s Kirk. Pegg was very obviously the comedic heart of the first Abrams installment – there to provide a moment of laughter and nothing else. However in this film we get a fully developed character and possibly the most developed character since the 2009 film. As his Captain makes the decision to chase after a known terrorist to seek revenge he’s the one who calls him out for it, asking if they’re a militant-based crew now or if they’re the explorers they’re supposed to be.

Scotty gets the grasp of the series premise better than the director does.

However, this is Kirk’s show. Pine’s Kirk is an interesting hero because he gets knocked down a lot. But, he always gets back up to fight again and there is something admirable about a hero who doesn’t get the easy side of things but refuses to lose easily. He’s hot-headed, he’s vulnerable and he’s charismatic, all that makes a well-rounded protagonist.

There’s a lot to love about this film, Michael Giacchino’s score is breathtaking, Abrams (lens flare aside) creates some truly other worldly shots, and the script is moving, if not riddled with a few flaws here and there. It’s thoroughly enjoyable, wonderfully acted and action-packed to the brim. Maybe it’s not suited for the Trek fans among us (guilty) but it is more than well-suited for the new wave of fans who are just meeting the crew of the Enterprise for the first time, waiting for Sulu to put it into warp speed.

It bridged the new and the old and while I’d hoped for more it’s still more than many could expect.

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Star Trek reaches new heights with sequel film