Popspotting Post: Star Trek Into Darkness
My husband was a big olâ€™ Trekkie. Â Sitting right now in a cabinet in our home is a collection of commemorative Star Trek plates. Â He had a Starfleet uniform and drew schematics of his very own hypothetical Starfleet ship. Â He even recently made me watch Star Trek 2: Â Wrath of Khan and its prequel of sorts, the episode entitled â€œSpace Seed,â€ the twenty-second episode of the first season.
As a total Trek neophyte, I wasnâ€™t terribly impressed with the episode of the series, but I enjoyed Wrath of Khan. Â I equally enjoyed the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot. Â There were great performances; Karl Urban as Leonard â€œBonesâ€ McCoy and Zachary Quinto as Spock stood out. Â I was even quite excited when Star Trek: Into Darkness was announced.
My brief encounter with the original series and the films served me well, as it turned out. Â Star Trek: Into Darkness is a throwback, in much the same way that last yearâ€™s Skyfall was an homage to the Bond films of yore. Â Abrams uses establishes subtle (and not so subtle) ties to the TV series. There is much in this movie for a hardcore Trekkie to love, but itâ€™s easy for a newbie like me to get caught up in the story and the characters.
Quinto and Urban continue to be the most interesting actors in Abramsâ€™ ensemble. Â Urban is hilarious, cranky, and charming as Bones. Â James T. Kirk, as played by Chris Pine, is a vapid pretty boy, but a serviceable actor. Â Zoe Saldanaâ€™s Uhura has very little to do. Â But the chemistry between them all elevates all of their performances into something special.
I am an Abrams fangirl. Â I will see anything he does (see the lamentable Cloverfield). Â However, I would like to have a word or two with him about the lens flare schtick. Â Itâ€™s become cliche to gripe about the lens flare in reviews, but sometimes cliches are cliches for good reason. Maybe anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
Abramsâ€™ musical collaborator Michael Giacchino provides the score. Â Giacchinoâ€™s music for LOST is still my favorite work of his, for its wide range and eclectic style. Â There are some LOST-like moments of greatness in his score for Into Darkness.
The baddie-du-jour is John Harrison, played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Â He really is the highlight of the movie. Â Harrison is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in an overcoat. Â Heâ€™s a scary dude, but heâ€™s pursuing his own twisted version of justice. Â Maybe Iâ€™m weird, but I actually was cheering for Harrison for a few minutes. Â Cumberbatchâ€™s performance is captivating and chilling.
The first two-thirds of the film is wall-to-wall action and chaos. Â There is a point in the film when I realized that the story could almost go anywhere. Â Unfortunately, the loose ends are all tied up a little too neatly and the last ten minutes are rushed.
Abrams has so many irons in the fire recently, with a possible third film in the Star Trek franchise and the upcoming Star Wars sequels. Â I remain a fan.