J.J. Abrams Grabs The Star Trek Franchise And Hits Warp Drive
Back in 2009, when up and coming director J.J. Abrams took the helm for the Star Trek reboot, I made no secret that it was easily one of my top three favorite Star Trek films of all time. From the cast to the script to the soundtrack to the special effects, I thought it was a shining example of how a reboot should be done. From the film’s beginning introduction, I knew I was watching something special and different at the same time. Never before had we seen (that I know of) the prequel story of Captain James T. Kirk’s father and a glimpse of the famed USS Enterprise’s Captain Kirk’s childhood growing up in Iowa. I thought the cast really captured each main character’s spirit, while at the same time making the roles their own. Fast forward 4 years later, the gang has now returned in their sophomore sequel and I am happy to report that the future of the Star Trek film franchise is just as bright as the stars in the deep space that the Federation sets out to explore.
Star Trek Into Darkness does not waste anytime throwing the audience right in the heat of a classic Trek adventure. The film’s beginning sequence truly gives the viewer a feeling that you are watching the climax of another weekly original Star Trek TV episode as the crew of the USS Enterprise attempts save a primitive race from a volcanic eruption that would destroy their home planet, Nibiru. When Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is forced to make a choice between following Federation protocol or saving the life of his friend and first officer, Spock (Zachary Quinto), he is requested upon completing his mission to report to Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) in London where he is stripped of his Captain rank and loses the Enterprise, thanks in large part to Spock and his by the book Vulcan nature, reporting Kirk’s violation of Federation protocol which put a strain on Kirk’s relationship with Spock.
Enter the villain. When a terrorist bombing destroys a Federation Archives Library, both Kirk and Spock join the rest of the Commander’s of Star Fleet to meet and discuss strategies on capturing the presumed terrorist, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), when Star Fleet get’s attacked by Harrison yet again right before he escapes to the planet, Kronos, which just happens to be in the Klingon occupied space, beyond Federation jurisdiction. After the smoke settles from the attack, Kirk is reinstated back as Captain of the Enterprise by Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller) and is assigned a secret war mission to travel to Kronos to assassinate Harrison by launching torpedo’s and destroying the entire planet. In typical Star Trek fashion, Kirk decides to tweak the mission objective by instead landing on the forbidden Klingon planet and capture Harrison alive and bring him back to Earth to face trial. From here on out it is pretty much “buckle your seat-belt time” and enjoy the ride all the way to the finish line that even includes the a modern scene which pays tribute to what many fans would call one of “the most powerful scenes in Star Trek film history”.
Enter Khan. I usually would not of revealed a plot twist such as Khan being the villain here, but this was not a secret leading up to the theatrical release by most media outlets. I remember having nightmare’s as a kid when I first saw the beginning to the 1982 Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. The film’s early scene with the eels and the ears…freaked me out. As a young Star Trek fan, I was in awe of this old and bitter villain named Khan. He hated Kirk with a savage passion…so much that he would have sacrificed himself and his crew if need be just to enjoy a brief taste of the cold dish named “revenge.” To watch a, in his prime, Khan was one of the highlights of the film for me. Watching this guy take down Klingon after Klingon, was a joy to watch. Simply for getting a glimpse on WHY he had such a hate for Captain Kirk and how much of a bad ass Khan appeared to be when I first met him years ago in The Wrath of Khan as a kid.
I touched on this earlier, but one of the gems about these new Trek films would be the cast. Every single character really nailed the very spirit of the original cast of the series. Especially actor Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. You can almost envision the late Jackson DeForest Kelley (January 20, 1920–June 11, 1999), smiling from above, as you hear Dr. McCoy drop a, “Damn it Jim, I’m a doctor, not a torpedo technician!” line. Also director J.J. Abrams has out done himself with the special effects and the musical score. As a Star Wars fan, I couldn’t help but get goosebumps wondering what Abrams will do for the Star Wars franchise as I watched the Enterprise battling in space at warp drive. The crispness and polish of the HD effects are in a word…stunning. Special Features are nothing mind-blowing. A featurette titled, The Making Of A Klingon was pretty interesting as well as the usual deleted scenes and making of featurettes.
I give Star Trek Into Darkness a very entertaining 3 1/2 out of 4 throwing stars.