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November 27, 2023

Star Trek Into Darkness: Movie Review

By Bernie and Sand Pilarski

Sand said:

If you think only William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy can properly play Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, do not bother with this movie.

If you think every sci-fi movie has to reveal some new genius of thought or cutting-edge cinematography, do not bother to see this movie.

If you can't deal with the concept (oft-used in science fiction stories) of buggered-up time travel and strange parallels between original time-lines and buggered-up time lines, don't give yourself grumpy-wrinkles -- just avoid this movie.

However, if you want a fast-paced, technically well-done CGI movie about aliens and the crew of the Enterprise with lots of explosions and fights and a really savvy villain, then do, by all means, go see this movie.

At the top of the recommendation is the acting of Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain. Now in the past, I raised an eyebrow at seeing him cast as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock -- but quickly put my eyebrow down and was thrilled by his portrayal. When I heard he'd been cast as this villain in Star Trek Into Darkness, I raised two eyebrows as high as they could go. But both eyebrows are back in place with a slam, because Cumberbatch is amazing. That he might portray a convincing villain was never in doubt. But an action-villain who picks up the audience by the seat of their pants and puts them squarely on his side -- then not -- then back -- then not ... why, who could ask for anything more?

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are doing fine as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. I like that the franchise isn't afraid of their "bromance:" even as a kid, I knew that most of Star Trek was about how the Captain and his First Officer cared deeply for one another. I also like that in this version of Star Trek, Spock has more of an action role. Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov) are delightful as their incarnations of the crew, though the real standout for me is Karl Urban as DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy.

It should be obvious that I enjoyed this movie greatly, and frankly, I like the events in this time line better than the original feature-length films.

Bernie said:

Emotions are a complex and a not completely understood phenomenon. Even a simple emotion like fear is the result of a complex interaction of judgment, physiological components (like heart rate and hormones), and contextual elements. Snakes can make us afraid because we judge they are dangerous, but if the snake is securely caged and we judge that there is no danger, we may not be afraid, unless of course we have had lots of encounters with snakes and just the sight of one unconsciously triggers the heebie-jeebies which we then interpret as feeling the same as fear.

It's like a couple of weeks ago while I was sitting in the movie theater and had the unmistakable feeling that I was going to die very soon. Interestingly, I was not afraid, but I was saddened by the thought. It took several days to shake that feeling, and I wondered what might have triggered it since I have no serious health issues going on and I'm not that old. I felt better only after I realized that my feeling had come over me about halfway through the movie Oblivion, and I was in all probability simply subconsciously reacting to the prospect of sitting through another hour of Tom Cruise's acting.

I bring this all up because Sand and I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness this past week. In this movie, Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty and the whole crew of the starship Enterprise go buzzing off into space for another glorious adventure. It's not the real Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty of course, only actors who were chosen to look and sound a bit like the real people, except of course for Karl Urban who is in fact the real Dr. McCoy, the person on whom DeForest Kelly based his interpretation of the character. (I know, it's weird; you just have to see it for yourself.)

I could criticize some things about this movie -- I wasn't at all impressed with the ending for example, which I can't tell you about because it would be too much of a spoiler -- but to do so would unnecessarily distract from what is really an awfully good movie. In fact, if you are not a Trekkie and had not seen every other Star Trek ever made, you would not even have reason to be disappointed in the ending. However, even if like me you wished there had been some different editorial decisions made about some aspects of the story, there is so much that is right about this film that it triggers all the appropriate physiological components and renders all the contextual elements so elegantly that it is easy to judge that this is a familiar, appropriate, and emotionally comfortable place -- it is the true world of Star Trek as it is today, as it should be.

The acting in this is actually topnotch, the writing is superb, and the film is a visual delight. Go see this one on the big screen and just enjoy where it takes you.

Article © Bernie and Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-05-20
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