MOVIES WITH MICHAEL: Sequel satisfies Trekkie standard

The Daily News

I never watched the TV series, the only knowledge I had of the old “Star Trek” is from pop culture and television references. And despite my lack of knowledge, when “Star Trek” came out in 2009, I couldn’t have been more excited. I had always enjoyed the idea of “Star Trek”; I just never had the time to get heavily into it.

With the reboot being a prequel to the happenings of the television show, I figured it’d be a good introduction. I was right. Director J.J. Abrams, who wasn’t a big fan of the original “Star Trek” franchise himself, used these films as a way to reinvent the characters and roles laid out in the original series. He set out to make a film for movie-goers and not just “Star Trek” fans.

Abrams has said after making the first film, he’s learned to appreciate the old “Star Trek” series and has even watched and enjoyed them. This is apparent when watching “Star Trek Into Darkness.” While the film was just the kind of sequel I had been hoping for, I wasn’t too happy with the number of shout-outs to the original “Star Trek.” I only recognized a few of them, and when I did I knew that the film was meant for the Trekkies among us and not just us movie-goers. 

The film features the familiar faces of Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, and Zachary Quinto as his no-nonsense, always logical, Vulcan humanoid partner Spock. The film also introduces a new face - one we won’t soon forget - rising British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as the sinister John Harrison. Pine and Quinto prove once more that their chemistry together makes them perfect for their roles. 

Right off the bat, we see how they’re still learning how to work together. When Spock jumps down into an active volcano in order to stop it from erupting and killing an entire indigenous race of people, he puts himself in a life-threatening position and, relying on logic, he chooses to stay in the volcano despite the risk of death. Kirk, staying true to form, chooses to bend the rules in order to save Spock’s life by beaming Spock out of the volcano.

The secondary characters, Nyota Uhura (Zoë Saldana), Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (Simon Pegg) and Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), add a more subtle layer of humor than in the first film. Uhura’s on-going lovers quarrel with Commander Spock, Scotty’s spastic personality and quirky humor, and Bones’ corny metaphors add comic relief to an otherwise serious plot. The movie seems to be as much about their character development as it is about Kirk and Spock. 

The special effects throughout the movie make it a feast for the eyes. Coupled with the outstanding score, composed by Michael Giacchino, you’ll be left with chills all around. Costume design seemed very simplistic, taking a lot from what we know of the Starfleet uniforms and redesigning them in a modern fashion similar to the first movie. 

But the most amazing aspect of the movie would have to be the set design. With several different settings throughout the film, the designers succeeded at making you feel like you were a part of their world, and I was blown away at the amount of detail in each location. 

In the end, the movie was well-directed and well-written. While it was definitely influenced by the old “Star Trek” stories, it had just enough to make it new and exciting.

Overall, I’d give the film a 4.5/5. While it is a stunning addition to the rebooted “Star Trek” franchise, the movie relies too heavily on old “Star Trek” dialogue and therefore lacks the originality I hoped to see. All movies, even reboots, should be able to stand alone without explicit knowledge of what the movie is based on, and “Star Trek Into Darkness” falls short of doing so. 



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