Thursday, May 30, 2013

StarTrek Into Darkness Review

In this review, Joe Wiewiora and Bett Correa give their views of Star Trek - Into Darkness.

General comments:

Bett: I grew up watching Star Trek and almost everything I learned about life was from Generations. I wasn’t sure if I would like the first remake but I did love it. So I had a lot of expectations about this new movie Star Trek Into Darkness, and it really delivered.

Joe: I never really watched Star Trek when I was growing up; I’ve only seen clips and the odd episode of Next Generation. I haven’t watched the old films, but I have seen the remake by J.J. Abrams and enjoyed it immensely. With Abrams directing Star Trek Into Darkness, and with the same cast and crew returning, I was very excited to see the new movie. I was not disappointed.


Bett: A great movie must have relationships between the characters that you care about and believe in. The central relationship in this movie is the one between Spock and Kirk. The beginning shows Spock following his logic and inadvertently betraying Kirk which results in Kirk being demoted and losing the Enterprise. Spock has to learn the hard way to balance his logic and his love to find the right thing to do. Scotty also finds himself in the same situation and gets kicked off the ship too.

All of this is over shadowed by a terrorist attack that puts our heros onto a mission with a dubious ethnical nature. They meet someone who may or may not be a friend….

Joe:  The story itself seems fairly straightforward. A villain has attracted Star Fleet headquarters on Earth, and then fled the planet. Kirk and crew are sent to bring him to justice. Of course, nothing is ever as it seems.

Friendship is an integral part of this film. We see Kirk and Spock’s friendship develop. We see what each would do in the other’s situation. We see what happens when a friendship is tested, like with Kirk and Scotty. We see who can be trusted and how far. We also see how far someone would go for their friends, who they see as their family.

The audience also gets to see a relationship develop between two who are more than friends. Spock is adept at concealing his emotions, and often for good reason. Uhura believes Spock is unfeeling, which is fracturing their romantic relationship. While this conflict makes for some amusing fodder for Kirk when he’s nearby, it’s an intriguing problem that is actually quite deep.


Bett: Spock played by Zachary Quinto lets no emotion escape from deep inside which must in itself be a challenge for any actor. The central plot is watching Spock try to listen to his emotions to make better decisions and Zachary does an excellent job of showing this progression.

Scotty played by Simon Pegg is also excellent as he gets kicked off the ship and has his own side adventure. I find it interesting that Scotty has part of his persona externally represented by his silent alien Keenser.

Kirk played by Chris Pine captures the bravado and loyalty originated in William Shatner’s portrayal of the character.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the main villain very well. You first want to hate him, but you like him and I think that’s important for the plot.

Joe: My first exposure to Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting was in Star Trek. I hadn’t seen the British TV show Sherlock, but I’d heard good things, and now I know why. Cumberbatch’ has a dramatic way of captivating the camera when he speaks. He plays a great villain with motivations that the audience can almost sympathize with. I would accuse him of stealing his scenes, if the actors playing opposite him weren’t also so good.

Zachary Quinto does a brilliant job again as Mr. Spock. It must be extremely difficult to play a character who is cool, calculating, and chooses not to show emotion. However, Quinto is able to subtly convey his character’s thoughts in a way that is unparalleled by any actor of his age. We know exactly what Spock is feeling, even if he doesn’t show it.

Chris Pine plays the hot-headed and charismatic Captain Kirk. He’s been the golden boy of the star fleet and the loyalty of his crew is without question. But in this film, Kirk begins to question himself and wonder how much of his accomplishments have been based upon luck, as opposed to skill. Chris Pine does an excellent job of showing this inner conflict. There is some great character development with Captain Kirk in this film.

Cinematography, special effects:

Bett: I watched the 3D version of the movie. I think the best part of the cinematography/special effects was the fighting scenes on the flying cars near Earth. The characters were jumping between the flying cars and the shots were clear enough to see all the action unlike a lot of action scenes now days that cut so much it’s impossible to see the fight. There were many more amazing action sequences, but even so the movie was centrally about the friendships between the crew and the director did a great job of focusing in on those.

Joe: I did not watch the 3D version, but the special effects and cinematography were still outstanding. It’s quite a feat to make a futuristic film of this magnitude so realistic and believable, but Star Trek is up to the challenge. We fear for Mr. Spock’s safety as he’s lowered into a live volcano at the film’s beginning. We are in awe of the void of space as Kirk shoots from ship to ship, through a debris field, as his suit freezes and his visor begins to crack. The audience can believe that this world, our future world, is real and we care for the characters that are in it.

I also really liked the flying car scene near the film’s finale. The sense of height is palpable and the fight choreography is fantastic for certain hero and a particular villain. As an action fan I also liked the shootout in the middle of the film. I was very impressed. A scene that could’ve been chaotic and choppy was instead seamlessly shot. Fans of the series should be happy to see the appearance of an alien race that was only mentioned in the previous film, but a powerful force in the Star Trek universe.


Overall Rating:

Joe: Even if, like me, you haven’t watched the series or the old movies, you can still enjoy Star Trek Into Darkness. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I saw it with my friends when it first came out and then again a week later with my Dad. You can see this film with family members, friends, or mixed company. If you’re a Star Trek fan or seen the last J.J. Abram’s film, you probably already know you’re gonna like it. Thumbs up. I give Star Trek Into Darkness a 9 out of 10.

Bett: I highly recommend this movie to even people who aren’t long time Star Trek fans because the story is universally appealing: Making decisions to protect ones loved ones. I give it a 9 out of 10.


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