New ‘Trek’ delivers warp-speed fun
Set phasers to fun.
Director J.J. Abrams and company are back in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” a nonstop, action-packed entry in the venerable sci-fi series.
Despite the literal darkness in its title, this latest installment is breezy summer entertainment that moves along at a warp-speed clip, starting off fast and never slowing down.
As with its predecessor, the more philosophical and cerebral aspects of the “Star Trek” franchise have taken a backseat to action and adventure, but with the cast and crew comfortably settled into their roles, the excitement, light-heartedness and sense of wonder from the originals still remain.
When Abrams (“Super 8”) released “Star Trek” in 2009, he delivered, perhaps, the most effective series “reboot” in cinematic history, creating a sequel that followed the continuity of its 10 feature-length predecessors and five television series, while simultaneously wiping the slate clean for future adventures that could feasibly go where someone has gone before.
“Into Darkness” treads familiar territory from the original series and one of the original films, which, on paper, almost seems lazy. However, Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (“Cowboys & Aliens”) spin an original twist on an otherwise well-known “Trek” story, paying homage to the source material, while creating something uniquely their own.
As with the 2009 film, it’s great to see these characters in action again, and “Into Darkness” more than delivers.
John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch, TV’s “Sherlock”) is a Starfleet agent gone rogue, launching terrorist attacks from within the organization and targeting its very foundations. When one of these attacks hits tragically close to home, Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine, “This Means War”) and the stalwart crew of the USS Enterprise follow Harrison in hot pursuit.
Under orders of a vengeful Adm. Marcus (Peter Weller, “RoboCop”), the Enterprise pursues Harrison into hostile space, where they must extract him from the Klingon home world of Kronos without sparking an interstellar war.
But no sooner do they encounter their query than they learn something even more sinister may be afoot. Needless to say, nothing is quite as it seems, and it’s up to Kirk and company to find out why before it’s too late.
To divulge any more would reveal some of the film’s major surprises, unless you’re a hardcore Trekkie who’s relentlessly scoured the message boards since 2009 — or a casual browser who visited the Internet Movie Database last week. Either way, “Into Darkness” is an undeniably fun time at the movies.
The cast has fully settled into its roles, with palpable chemistry and an obvious appreciation for their characters. At the series’ heart is the friendship of Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto, TV’s “Heroes”) and Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban, “Dredd”), which hasn’t been lost in Abrams’ translation. Pine, Quinto and Urban honor their predecessors, while still owning their interpretations of these iconic characters.
The same goes for Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead”) as chief engineer Scotty, who’s thankfully given much more to do in this outing, as well as Zoe Saldana’s (“Avatar”) take on communications officer Uhura.
It’s “Trek” 2.0, but it’s still “Star Trek,” and this cast and crew is shipshape to boldly go.
“Star Trek Into Darkness,” rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.