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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Star Trek Into Darkness

star_trek_into_darknessThis review contains plot details, which may be considered SPOILERS.

After rebooting the Star Trek franchise in 2009, director J.J. Abrams ups the stakes in this follow-up.  A rogue Federation agent named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks Starfleet, which results in Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew, including Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), being sent to Harrison’s hiding spot on the Klingon homeworld of Kronos in retaliation.  However, it turns out that there is more to John Harrison than meets the eye and he turns out to be quite a formidable foe for the crew of the Enterprise.

It has been the worst kept secret for the entire production, so I shall probably start off by saying that yes John Harrison is really Khan Noonien Singh.  I don’t know why J.J. Abrams wasn’t more forthcoming with this information, since I figured out John Harrison’s true identity long before he says “My real name is Khan” around the halfway point of the film.  In fact, I would argue that much of Star Trek Into Darkness is a thinly veiled remake of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, since the film blatantly uses many elements of that film, including the infamous screaming of Khan’s name.

The film also has a secondary antagonist in the form of Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller), who ordered the mission as a ruse to kickstart a war with the Klingons.  This revelation can be considered a bit more of a spoiler than the reveal of Khan, however Marcus’ ship, the enormous U.S.S. Vengeance, has been heavily featured in the promotional materials for the film.  As such, it’s not that much of a surprise that Marcus turned out to be a treacherous character, especially after it was revealed that he lied about who John Harrison was.  Also, I was completely unaware that the man who played Robocop was in the film, so it was definitely a joy to see Weller show up.  Plus, it gives a bit of back story to the character of Carol Marcus (Alice Eve), who will be familiar to anyone who’s seen Wrath of Khan.

Moving on to the film itself, I can say that I overall liked Star Trek Into Darkness, but it was somewhat obvious that J.J. Abrams really wanted to make this film “Star Trek as Star Wars.”  Abrams has made it no secret that he had a preference for Star Wars and he must be gushing at the fact that he was hired on to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, which was announced to be released in 2015.  In the meantime, Abrams can make a film that has probably more battles and explosions than all of the past Star Trek films combined.  One scene that sticks out to me as particularly Star Wars-like is a high speed chase through Kronos, with Kirk driving a shuttle that looks and acts suspiciously like the Millennium Falcon.

Speaking of Kronos, I should talk a bit about the debut of, original Star Trek antagonists, the Klingons in this new rebooted series, who have been totally redesigned.  While there are some elements that will remain familiar to Star Trek fans (i.e. the forehead ridges are still there – albeit less protruding), the new Klingons look like much fiercer (and balder) warriors, who spend the bulk of their screentime wearing metal helmets.  Of course, the Klingons only have a small role in the film and not enough time was given for this redesign to settle with me.  Perhaps they will make a return in a future Star Trek film.

When it is all said and done, most of my issues with Star Trek Into Darkness are more nitpicks than anything else.  Even if his love of Star Wars influenced this film somewhat, there is still a lot in this film for Star Trek fans to like.  In addition, even though he was given one of the most iconic Star Trek villains to play, Benedict Cumberbatch made the role of Khan his own and he was definitely one of the main highlights of the film.  Overall, I will say that, even if was not the most true to the spirit of Star Trek, this was still an enjoyable film for me.

8 | LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).