Star Trek Into Darkness

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Well…they liked the bangs on Michelle Obama…

The review

I really enjoyed the opening of this movie. It reminded me of how much I really enjoyed the strong opening before the credits of Sky Fall. The villain in this also made me think of that last Bond picture (I can’t say what without giving something away). It was nice to see a strong British villain, unlike the wimpy one from Thor and The Avengers. He’s played by Benedict Cumberbatch (War Horse, and Sherlock Holmes series).

Watching the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise try to rescue Spock (Zachary Quinto) from a spewing volcano is rather exciting, and a great set-up for the bromance that lasts the rest of the movie between him and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine).

The visuals were so stunning and the film so handsomely shot, it makes me angry that the 3-D added absolutely nothing.

Having missed director J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek from 2009, I heard he did a good job on setting the stage for a reboot with new faces playing these characters we know so well.

The question I was asked the day after the screening, was whether or not trekkies and fan boys would like this. They’ll love it, although I’d think a handful won’t care for how they’re recycling so much. The inside jokes and scenes with each specific crew member were rather entertaining. Whether or not the hardcore fans will like the way the Khan character is used, who knows. Most of the fanboys seemed disappointed with how Iron Man 3 used the Mandarin character plot twist. They just have to realize, just as fans of the novels have to realize – filmmakers are making a different story. They don’t take the book and make a scene-for-scene adaptation. And this movie isn’t “The Wrath of Khan,” the Star Trek film many consider to be the best of the bunch.

I initially didn’t think the casting of Simon Pegg to play Scotty would work, but the way he was always mugging it up was fun.

Zoe Saldana was such a sexy Uhura, I wonder if William Shatner will watch this wishing it was him that got to kiss her (for those that don’t remember, Kirk and Uhura created controversy by having the first interracial kiss on TV in a Star Trek episode in 1968).

Peter Weller (Robo Cop) and Bruce Greenwood are good in their smaller roles, and seeing these types of actors will thrill the fans.

There are non-stop action sequences that are rather predictable, but hey – this is a summer popcorn flick. That means we’re going to see Captain Kirk in bed with two sexy aliens and hitting on the new crew member played by Alice Eve (much to the chagrin of Spock). What’s enjoyable about this is the same thing that was fun about Super 8 a few years ago. It reminds us of those adventures films in the 80s that you could take the whole family to.

Since I had two older brothers that worshipped Star Trek and watched the rerurns religiously in the ‘70s, I remember how goofy all the sound effects and set designs were. How can you not chuckle when the ship went into warp speed? Well, sci-fi films are definitely the genre that benefits most from todays technology. Watching the Enterprise go into warp speed, or drop through some clouds in the Earths atmosphere, are both stunning visuals.

The plot has a lot of holes in it and is rather convoluted. That’s something hardcore fans won’t care for.

It was a kick hearing that a ship was called the U.S.S. Bradbury, as Ray Bradbury was a huge sci-fi nut. I just don’t want to talk about the plot or anything else, because this is the type of movie the fans don’t want spoiled for them.

They’ll enjoy watching as the relationships build, and the impressive action sequences unfold on the screen. It’s well directed, which will thrill the Star Wars fans since Abrams is directing that, too.

The story was weak, and it sort of lost what the spirit of the Enterprise was all about. It was basically just an action/sci-fi picture with characters we’re already familiar with.

The sequels are going to continue to live long and prosper.

Set your phasers to stun, your cell phones on vibrate, and enjoy the movie.

It gets 3 stars out of 5.

The interview

One of the fun things about hitting CinemaCon in Las Vegas last month, was getting to interview a number of actors. Even thought the cast of Star Trek Into Darkness was swamped with cameras and reporters in their face, I was able to get a few words with them. The five cast members there were John Cho, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Alice Eve – the only one of this crew that wasn’t in the first reboot.

Cho was the first one walking over, and I tried desperately to think of a Harold and Kumar go to White Castle line to throw at him. Yet he was surprisingly serious and seemed a bit reserved. Chris Pine made a joke and got in his face, and he seemed to crack an uncomfortable smile.

Pine said, “We played this great trick on him during filming.”

Cho interrupts to explain “We shot for a few days in Northern California. It was at a science facility that had this huge laser. They convinced me it was radioactive after I walked in. They told me I needed to smear this neutron cream on me and jump up and down.”

I hated to admit that I didn’t see the first Star Trek; but I admitted this and asked Cho if I would be lost following the story. He replied, “It takes place in space, but it’s an Earth bound story. A lot of the action takes place on Earth. This movie really works well. You care about the relationships. Our bad guy is physically powerful. It’s a good film.”

Chris Pine has become a sex symbol, but I was tempted to ask about his father Robert Pine. I did the same thing when I interviewed Juliette Lewis. I was a kid watching her father Geoffrey playing Clint Eastwood’s friend on film. Pine’s dad was Erik Estrada’s boss on CHiPs. I refrained from making myself sound like a dork, and the conversation stayed on track with Trek. I’m not sure exactly what was said, because things get confusing when you’re talking to multiple people, especially when they’re joking around with each other. Before I knew it, he was saying something about his character “trying to find his way, with people trying to become his friends.” I wish I knew what he was talking about. I had only seen the opening scene at that point.

Zachary Quinto (Spock) started talking about limitations with his character. At one point he said, “I just saw Leonard [Nimoy] a few days ago. We both think Spock has emotions, he just can’t express them. In this, Spock is learning how to be accountable to the people he loves.”

Alice Eve was laughing at something Pine said to her. She told me, “Zach was horrible. We were doing one scene and I fell over on my bum. I found out the hard way that I can’t run in heels. That was on the first day of shooting, too. Every day things just kept going smoother. And being around J.J. [Abrams]…he’s one of the greatest minds working today. He’s worked with Dan Mindel [director of photography] in the previous Star Trek and a Mission: Impossible. It’s a perfect fit.”

Pine explained how his character has changed from the first movie, saying “It’s a great character to play. He was brash and headstrong…kind of an arrogant punk. In this, he earns it. Sometimes Kirk is powerful, but other times he’s separate, and alone.”

Cho talked about how they filmed both of these movies on film and not digital, so they’d have an analog look and feel. Pine added, “That meant more shots on location.”

Somebody near me asked about a specific scene, and the cast went into some details. I then realized as I sat down to write this, they contain spoilers.


  • Jo F.

    I won't be seeing this, as I'm an adult not living in my parents basement. I do wonder why yuo never mentioned the lense flares that all the other critics are saying about this movie.

  • 移動電源

    I make my living writing, but I’m not almost as good while you. I am not sure I’d have the focus to do all the homework you’ve carried out on this topic. This is fantastic.

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