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‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ rises to the light

by DARIUS LEWIS Staff Writer

There has never been a science fiction movie in recent memory that could capture the humanity of its characters while still containing exhilarating action quite like “Star Trek: Into Darkness”.

When first walking in to see this movie, my expectations were fairly average. I had general knowledge of the original TV series, a vague memory of the first “Star Trek” from 2009, and absolutely no memory of its villain, frankly because he was boring and easily forgettable.

I did, however, remember James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) as very real and fleshed-out characters with their own distinctive personalities, and with the help of the talented actors who portrayed them, were a joy to watch on screen.

Kirk, the brash and arrogant captain of The Enterprise starship, and Spock, the logical and apathetic half-human and half-Vulcan, produced a unique character dynamic that has helped them stand the test of time for over 50 years. Luckily, this  dynamic is not lost in the sequel.

The first few seconds of this movie open up with an unrestrained bang, as Kirk is being chased through a dense forest by a primitive tribe on an unknown planet while Spock risks his life to stop a volcano from erupting. Sound awesome yet? Don’t worry, there’s more.

When a former Starfleet agent (Benedict Cumberbatch) murders Starfleet commanders and flees to the dangerous planet Kronos, it is up to Kirk, Spock, and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) to track him down and kill him.

The action in this movie definitely delivers, and there is hardly ever a dull moment.

Junior Jakaran Sadhar said, “This movie is action packed with a great hidden twist.”

However, as with many action movies, the middle act of the film does drag on, and a couple plot points tend to get murky, but maybe these wrinkles will be ironed out after a second viewing.

Junior Jordan Brennert said, “This was an overall good movie and I’m glad they focused more on Kirk in this one. However, I thought the ending was unsatisfactory.”

With a $190 million budget, the special effects are expectedly top-notch, with every warp through the blackness of space and explosive spaceship rocket seamlessly integrated into the film. There is an especially notable scene about halfway in where someone is in a race against time as they propel themselves from one spaceship to another, dodging asteroids and space debris in the process, which perfectly captures the viewer’s attention and illustrates J.J. Abrams’ directing talent. His love for the material and passion for the genre manifests itself in every shot and every action sequence.

Now that may sound good and all, but what about the performances? After all, studios should not just expect audiences to be captivated by special effects and unshaken by mediocre acting (I’m looking at you “Avatar”).

Well, the entire cast deserves praise; however, Quinto as Spock and Cumberbatch as the villainous agent were especially amazing in their roles. Playing as a character who displays no emotion on the outside, but is tortured by his suppressed feelings on the inside is a daunting acting challenge, but Quinto pulled it off with flying colors. He constantly appears as a stoic and logical being with no feeling, which only makes the scenes in which he is emotional that much more poignant.

Cumberbatch portrays a manipulative, angry, and ruthless antagonist who will not hesitate to personally kill anyone who gets in his way. He has the perfect balance of real emotion and cold viciousness as he slowly reveals his bigger scheme. I have not seen a villain with that amount of raw savagery in a long time, and it was awesome to see Cumberbatch show it in full effect.

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” is a fun time, filled with dazzling special effects, great acting, and decent writing. While some plot points may be extraneous or unclear, it is nevertheless a great film and the perfect start to the summer movie season.

So, have you seen Star Trek: Into Darkness yet or are you excited to see it? Tell us in the comments below.

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