Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Entertainment

May 29, 2013

Old is new again in clever, mildly generic “Into Darkness”

Greensburg — In both a narrative and figurative sense, “Star Trek: Into Darkness is like a time machine.

The film greatly expands the possibilities of the alternate “Trek” timeline established by 2009’s “Star Trek.”

Director J.J. Abrams, working with writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, cleverly jumbles and weaves elements of the original series and of “Star Trek II” and “VI,” mixing them into an original story involving characters beloved, familiar and new.

We open with Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) violating the Federation’s Prime Directive to save Spock (Zachary Quinto) while on mission to a non-Federation planet.

As a result, he’s demoted to first officer of the Enterprise, while Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) returns to the Captain’s chair.

This arrangement doesn’t last long. Thanks to the machinations of Starfleet-secret-agent-turned-terrorist John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), Pike is killed and Kirk returned to the captain’s chair.

With Uhura (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) in tow, Kirk flies the Enterprise into Klingon space to hunt Harrison down. The Klingons are none-too-friendly toward Starfleet, and there’s a conspiracy afoot to start full-scale war.

Kirk and his crew find themselves in the middle of that conspiracy, with Kirk torn between duty and his borderline obsession to seek justice for Pike, his one-time mentor.    

Complicating matters, Harrison is not all he seems; unfortunately, neither are certain members of the Starfleet family.

Even more so than Abram’s 2009 reboot of the beloved franchise, “Darkness” really moves. There’s little time to consider plot holes or illogical story devices. He’s got a strong script and a cast with great chemistry to help keep the audience involved and engaged. Despite its two-hour-twelve-minute runtime, “Darkness” never lulls.

Abram’s also brings aboard Peter Weller as Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus and Alice Eve as Marcus’ daughter and Enterprise Science Officer, Carol. Leonard Nimoy also steps briefly back into the role of “Spock Prime.”

There are no weak links among “Darkness’” cast, but two of the returning leads stand out for their improvements. Pine, for one, offered a strong interpretation of Kirk in the first film, but here he’s far more nuanced.

He’s clearly more comfortable playing the legendary character, perhaps owing, in part, to an increased confidence level in the wake of a Hollywood career that’s exploded since the first film.

This time there’s less Han Solo in Pine’s interpretation and more similarity to William Shatner’s. Not to worry though, no one will ever mistake the two.

Simon Pegg gives the impression in “Darkness” that, since the last film, he’s spent serious time watching episodes of the 1960s series and the films featuring the original crew. As with Urban’s interpretation of McCoy, Pegg’s Scotty is like a channeling of the original actor. His performance, taken with Urban’s and Pine’s helps bridge the gap between old cast and new, providing badly-needed familiarity between the two interpretations that might otherwise be lost in all the dazzling special effects.

That said, “Darkness” does feel a bit overly generic. More, I can’t help thinking Abrams and his team would’ve been better served to simply create new characters within the “Trek” universe instead of invalidating so much of what came before.

Regardless, “Star Trek: Into Darkness” is slick, fast-moving, involving and fun. There’s something here for both hard-core “Star Trek” fans (myself included) and fans of movies or of sci-fi in general. It’s well worth a trip to the den.

Rating: Howl-and-a-half

Score: 85/100

Runtime: 132 minutes

Rated PG-13 for, mostly, sci-fi/fantasy violence, with a few instances of more realistic violence that might be disturbing to younger children

Rating System Explained: Rabies = 0; Yip = *; Bark = **; Howl = ***; Lone-wolf howl = ****; Leader of the pack = *****

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011

 

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • ent-gb073114-state fair concerts jpg Indiana State Fair concerts at the Fairgrounds Coliseum and Free Stage boasts major talent Concerts that are part of the 2014 Indiana State Fair begin next week as Lynyrd Skynyrd performs on Thursday, July 31 (pre-fair) followed by amazing shows at the Fairgrounds Coliseum and Free Stage throughout the run of the fair. Also, in celebration

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb073114-Movie boys pic Movie Boys: Lucy This week Andy is back from the opening round of parenthood, and we take a look at the Scarlett Johansson action vehicle, “Lucy” (R). Johansson’s title character is forced to become a drug mule, when an accident causes her brain capacity to advance a

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'This is the End' is long and not funny FROM THE DEN AT HOME — I was nothing short of stunned by how little I enjoyed “This is the End.”I rented this film expecting an irreverent, side-splitting hilarious romp, with laughs coming so quickly and frequently I’d be forced to watch a second ti

    July 31, 2014

  • ent-gb073114-New at library pic New arrivals at library Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb072614-book review pic 1 Review: Supersurvivors by David B. Feldman, PhD & Lee Daniel Kravetz You’re not sure if you’ll ever recover.The loss of job or a business. The loss of a lifelong dream. The loss of your health or the life of someone you love. Without a doubt, you’ll never be the same. It’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • New arrivals at library Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 25, 2014

  • "Hercules" movie poster Movie preview: “Hercules”

    Plot: Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Lucy" movie poster Movie preview: “Lucy”

    Plot: Writer/director Luc Besson helms this action-thriller that tracks a woman who falls prey to sinister underworld forces, but gains superhuman abilities that allow her to strike back at her oppressors.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb072414-movie wolf apes dawn - pic Latest 'Apes' flick is monkey as metaphor FROM THE DEN AT WOLF THEATRES — At its core, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a fable about the human condition that evinces thoughtful, subtle influences from a slightly unexpected source: George Orwell’s 1945 novel “Animal Farm.”Of course, with

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb072414 Movie Boys review jpg Begin Again is nice counter to endless summer blockbusters With Andy still on sabbatical, I’ll be taking a solo look this week at an anti-blockbuster-type of movie. Begin Again (R) stars Mark Ruffalo as a down-and-out New York music executive who stumbles into a bar and coincidentally hears an ingénue singer

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo