Star Trek Into Darkness
Sometimes its best to write a movie review several weeks after its premier, especially when its a summer blockbuster. The plot is known and the success of the film, rightly or wrongly, is measured by box office receipts. Then its possible to appreciate it without being concerned about spoilers.
With that being said Star Trek Into Darkness was as good as a film sequel could get if the goal was to keep the die hard fans satisfied while simultaneously attracting the next generation. This also turned out to be the major flaw of the film, by overreaching for the larger audience.
On the good side, there was a great deal of fast moving epic action sequences. The plot was good, a bit sentimental at times, but Star Trek has always thrived on sentimentality especially when it has to do with some of its iconic characters. The screenplay, written by the same team that did the first reboot, Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman put in some clever twists but it seemed like JJ Abrams who directed the film was more focused on the next installment of Star Wars.
It should be clear by now that Star Trek Into Darkness is a time line regurgitation of The Wrath Of Khan. Several themes from the original time line came up such as the Tribbles, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and Leonard Nimoy’s well positioned cameo as the elder Spock. Its good to see the 82 year old Nimoy play Spock once again, and to know that he has finally found peace with the role that defined his career. Although short, his presence served to enlightened his younger self about the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise every faced, Khan Noonien Singh who initially appears in the film as John Harrison, perhaps a descendent of George?
It’s impossible not to compare the two time line encounters with Khan. The character was originally seen in Space Seed, the 1967 episode of Classic Trek and portrayed by Ricardo Montalban who succeeded in focusing most of the audiences attention on his genetically enhanced Pectoral muscles and even more so when he reprised the role sixteen years later in the highly successful, The Wrath Of Khan (1982) when he was in his mid-sixties. Accidentally released from his cryogenic chamber by the Enterprise in the original episode, his portrayal was of a political conqueror bent on ruling the masses by taking over the Enterprise, then when defeated, he and his crew are marooned by Kirk on what would become a barren planet.
In the new time line, Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Khan as far more ruthless, focused solely on a quest to exterminate weaker species of humanoids and often resorts to terrorism as a calling card. Tall and slim with a heavy British accent wearing a long black jacket, he is more reminiscent of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix.
In Star Trek Into Darkness, Khan is awakened by the rogue star fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus who intentionally uses Khan to develop advanced technology that he can harness to start a war with the Klingon Empire which he thinks is inevitable. He holds Khan’s crew as hostage and forces him to attack star fleet headquarters and Captain Pike, Kirks mentor, is killed. But, its understandable that Khan would be angry because he was being blackmailed by the admiral, and his willingness to comply to protect his crew is noble, presenting us with a Khan that is not clearly evil, but understandably protective of his crew who are his family.
The admiral’s daughter, the new science officer assigned to the Enterprise happens to be Dr Carol Marcus who in the previous time line had an affair with Kirk resulting in a son David who is first introduced in The Wrath Of Khan. So this suggests a future romance and a family for Jim Kirk and perhaps a better ending then the previous time line.
The twists and turns of the plot are filled with “Trek-isms” and winds up with Kirk sacrificing his life to save the ship instead of Spock in the 1983 movie. Kirk actually dies in this one but is brought back to life when Dr. McCoy uses Khan’s genetically enhanced blood as a transfusion for Kirk, hopefully saving us from having to sit through a version of The Search For Kirk and the Humpback Whales film. If I read between the lines correctly, the subject of the next film will be The Klingon War with The Federation.
Despite all the predictability and reversal of outcomes for Kirk and Spock including the death scene when Spock cries, it all seemed to work, however if it were up to me, the subject of the next film would be first contact with The Borg, though the presence of Leonard Nimoy elevates the film and once again binds the plot to Classic Trek and the six films the original cast were part of, reminding us all of Star Treks most unforgettable line: “Live Long And Prosper.” For a full list of cast and crew, check out the IMDb link. The film is rated PG-13 and runs 132 minutes.