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Film Review: Star Trek: Into Darkness
*** REVIEW DOES CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS***
When J.J. Abrams said he wanted to make a film for not just Star trek lovers, but also a film for regular moviegoers I had no idea what Star Trek would look like. The film opened with elaborate set pieces and some truly stunning action. The camera tracked along with Kirk as he ran through an exotic landscape, trying to escape with his life. The scene continued, cross cutting with other members of the crew up in the enterprise. Ultimately leading to the climax of the scene, where Spock must descend into a volcano to save an entire planet. This film opened by capturing a small moment of action, which seemed to be a normal expedition for the crew of the enterprise. Using this technique was a perfect way to start the film; the action and set pieces immediately captured my attention, while also making me feel as if I was apart of the action. The use of tracking and crosscutting heightened the building tension and enhanced the very well done CGI. Besides being pleasing to the eye, this introduction set the entire tone of the film, Star Trek would be an action packed film with some witty dialogue and great characters.
As the high adrenaline introduction continues, Kahn is first introduced. His first screen appearance is purposeful. Kahn is immediately set up as a man who is a terrorist with a lack of conscience, and someone who will stop at noting to achieve his goals. His first few scenes set up his motives and also provide foreshadowing to his abilities and how they will affect the future. Meanwhile the crew of the enterprise is chastised for their latest escapade, Kirk finds himself demoted from captain and forced to second in command. Kirk and Spocks unconventional and brotherly relationship is expanded on as the growing threat of the unknown Kahn continues. When a fire of missiles intrudes a meeting the non-stop action is once again introduced. The decision to create a rouge crew is made and the members of the enterprise are reinstated. The search for Kahn is initiated.
The second act of Into Darkness is much like the first; there is a continuation of new lands and obstacles that the crew must face in order to reach Kahn. Abrams relies on this action and witty dialogue to propel the film. At this point it feels as if the film is going into the direction of style over substance. The emersion into new worlds is exciting and the dialogue allows easy laughs, but there is so much action that these scenes, although well done, lose their value as the quantity of action increases. There also is a nod to Starwars when enemy cruisers are pursuing the detached spacecraft. The Klingons are also shortly introduced, becoming part of Kahn’s alibi, and fueling the long-standing tension between their race and the Starfleet.
The film takes a nice break from the action as Kahn tells his origins to the crew, continuing to walk the line of misunderstood or evil, manipulating or exposing the truth. When Kirk is pulled into a multitude of options the film starts to pick up pace again. This act was frustrating for me. Although the conflict was outlined I didn’t feel as if they explained the character motivations enough. Marcus walked the line of solider of fortune, making him almost a secondary villain, who in my opinion was unnecessary; overall his character seemed out of place.
The final act continues with the intense action scenes, as kirk must save the ship from certain doom. The last act has some really great fight scenes and intricate set pieces. The final fight between Spock and Kirk was well done, but the ending left me with a kind of anti-climatic feeling. Because the second act expanded on Kahn’s motivations the film had a kind of unfinished feeling. Just as I was discovering who the villain was, he became eliminated. The film ends on a great note as balance is restored and the crew of the enterprise embarks on it’s five year mission.
I felt that one of the strongest points in this film was it’s first act, it was well done setting up the current state of the crew and cross cutting with the Kahn. It reminded me of The Dark Knight, introducing the audience to the villain, while catching up with the protagonist. The actors are also a strong point; the casting is what really brings the film together. The chemistry of the actors works to form truly entertaining dialogue. I felt that Kahn was also very well done as he could have been made into a one note villain, as I mentioned earlier I wish Abrams would have just stuck to him as the sole conflict for the film. The cinematography was excellent, seeing the film in IMAX was a really amazing and immersive; Into Darkness has esthetically been the best IMAX film since Prometheus. Overall I recommend Star Trek: Into Darkness as a great action film with fantastic dialogue and characters. For someone born and raised of the classic Starwars trilogy I cannot speak about the origins or authenticity (I have no knowledge whatsoever) of this Star Trek adaptation. But as a film goer I can easily say this movie was very entertaining and enjoyable.
*** Sorry this review is not like usual; I drank one to many mojitos before and found myself distracted for the first 30 minutes. I wrote most of this review at 3am as well. I have also heard some complaints from fans of the series, so sorry I couldn’t weigh in on that, I hope J.J. Abrams did justice to Star Trek.
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“I’m Tony Stark. I build neat stuff, got a great girl, occasionally save the world.”
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