Monday, May 20, 2013
Star Trek Into Darkness
J.J. Abrams and a highly talented cast of actors increasingly comfortable in their roles bring wit and humor to "Star Trek Into Darkness" and this new generation of "Trek" that elevates it well above the level of Shatner and Nimoy. The writing is so sharp here (credit Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci) that Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, et al. can generate laughs as big from the exchange of glances as of dialogue, raised eyebrows as raised voices.
The plot of "Into Darkness" isn't especially compelling or memorable, but it gains significantly from the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch (the breakout star of the BBC's "Sherlock") as villainous rogue Starfleet officer John Harrison. Still, it runs twenty or thirty minutes too long, producing occasional moments of boredom and devolving into the outright silliness of an extended fistfight in midair. The rest of the material is too strong for the fate of the Enterprise to come down to hand-to-hand combat.
But even when the story sags, there's always a hilarious bit of interplay between Kirk and Spock, or a little look from Zoe Saldana as Uhura, or an exasperated cry from Simon Pegg as Scotty, or a grumble of self-pity from Karl Urban as Bones. Abrams and company have brought life to a movie franchise that, while ahead of its time, had been thought of as past its prime. We were wrong; it's just now getting there.