Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Captain’s log. Stardate 20130515. I’ve just come back from a screening of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and am troubled at how I will construct my review. If I give away too much I’ve ruined the experience. Not enough…well, the same thing. That being said I’ll just say, “It’s Amazing!”
We join the crew of the Starship Enterprise on their latest mission. On a planet containing a very primitive species we meet up again with Captain Kirk (Pine) and Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban). Well, meet is really the wrong word. More like glance as the pair are currently running for their lives, pursued by said primitive species. It’s like the opening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” without those pesky snakes. The ship is here because of the pending eruption of a massive volcano that, when it blows, will destroy all life in the region. Some quick action by the crew stops the eruption but back on Earth the brass isn’t happy with the outcome of the mission and Kirk finds himself demoted. However, a new danger is on the horizon…one that will challenge Kirk and everyone he holds near and dear.
Packed with action, the film is the second in director Abrams successful attempt to reboot a tired franchise. The cast and crew from the first film are still going strong here and they’re joined by Cumberbatch as a villain who must rank among the best ever presented in ANY of the previous television shows or films. Meanwhile Kirk, Spock and company are worrying about their careers at Starfleet. Kirk would like his crew picked for the latest long-time mission, which would encompass exploring the galaxy for five years. Though now on better terms, Kirk and Spock still quibble, earning the Vulcan the nickname “pointy” on occasion. Familiar names and situations continue to appear, including the introduction of Dr. Carol Marcus (Alice Eve), and it’s always great to see steely-eyed Peter Weller, who plays Dr. Marcus’ father, on the big screen. Still it’s Cumberbatch that steals the film. As the mysterious John Harrison he is easily the baddest of the bad, and Cumberbatch portrays him with a chilling, often emotionless, performance.
The rest of the returning cast continue to grow familiar with their roles and excel in that familiarity, especially Urban, Simon Pegg as Scotty and Zoe Saldana, who is allowed to do a lot more than just mutter, “hailing frequency open” as chief communications officer Uhura. Filling the two biggest pair of shoes, Pine and Quinto hit their performances out of the park. Technically the film is dazzling, with the visual effects and make-up as Oscar worthy as the 2009 film. The script does a fine job of incorporating both new and more familiar “strange new worlds,” though it does lose a little steam towards the end. Still, this is one voyage that Enterprise fans will be happy to take.