This past rainy Sunday, I used the weather and the herds of Cubs fans to partake in the sacred act of movie-going. It has been awhile since I last shared in this precious rite (January when I saw The Hobbit) and chose Stark Trek: Into Darkness to reinitiate me. My knowledge of Star Trek lore and history is minimal at best, so I cannot comment on the film’s diversions from the plot lines developed in the original series.
As the movie opened onto a planet with reddish-pink trees and an exploding volcano, each line of dialogue and act brought out the anthropologist in me. Anthropological ethics ran through my head between Spock’s repetition of their mission’s directive that they cannot interfere with the indigenous population and the eventual change in the populations mythology because of the saving grace of the Enterprise. Do not interfere with the population. Do not attempt to modify the population’s culture and many other “do no harm” notions. Admiral Pike expresses the “do no harm” ideal when he shouts at Capt. Kirk about his irreversible impact on a race “who barely invented the wheel” when they see a starship emerge from the water. I hoped this would be a Star Trek movie “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before,” as the opening scenes flashed across the screen. But alas, Star Trek: Into Darkness quickly brought me back to the realities of Hollywood. What is a space movie without some action?
Explosions, gun fights, sharp-witted exchanges, near death experiences, and a superhuman villain – Star Trek: Into Darkness did not disappoint in terms of an action film. In fact, I really have no severe critiques of Star Trek: Into Darkness. The only comments I have that could be considered negative are common to most contemporary films – predictable resolutions and skipping crucial information to just allow the impossible to happen. As Darren Franich wrote in his review of the film on Entertainment Weekly’s Pop Watch – the missing logic in certain parts of the film (i.e. the ending involving Capt. Kirk) obviously happen “because, science,” right?
The addition of Benedict Cumberbatch, known to me from BBC’s contemporary rendition of Sherlock Holmes, was marvelous. His steely expression and cool delivery of his lines made him the perfect man to play the almost antihero. When Cumberbatch’s face first appeared on the screen I did an internal happy clap. He is a talented actor and contributed a nice balance to Chris Pine’s all-American charm and Zachary Quinto’s straight forward logic. Bravo Benedict Cumberbatch! Now can someone please tell me if and when Sherlock season three will be released?
Star Trek: Into Darkness offers a great action/adventure film experience for those who love the Star Trek franchise and those just in need of a rainy, Sunday movie. The plot carried over from the 2009 Star Trek film and the actors all delivered their characters with the same on-screen enthusiasm and style. I definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys action and sci-fi. Star Trek: Into Darkness made such a lasting effect on me that I may finally begin watching the series after years of my friend and his family telling me it was a must. Hopefully my inner anthropologist will get more satisfaction from the series.
Have you seen Star Trek: Into Darkness? What did you think?
Are you a Trekkie? What’s your take on Star Trek: Into Darkness in the larger franchise? Did it support the themes of Star Trek?
Are you satisfied with character portrayal & relationships?
*If we’re lucky, we may get another review of Star Trek: Into Darkness from someone who actually knows about Star Trek and its legacy. Stay tuned!