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5 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Star Trek Into Darkness
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by Daniel Kelly

"Boldly going nowhere fun"
2 stars

It could be argued that in 2009 J.J Abrams achieved the impossible; he made “Star Trek” cool. His reboot of the popular sci-fi franchise was everything punters hoped for, a slick, emotive and incredibly accessible blockbuster, laced with just the right amounts of heart, bombast and wit. As a result its sequel was always going to much anticipated, and after four years of waiting it arrives in the form of “Star Trek: Into Darkness”. “Into Darkness” reunites Abrams with his previously stunning cast, but something is missing here, that crucial sense of zippy fun that underlined the initial foray as such a delightful summertime confection. Instead “Into Darkness” becomes bogged down in repetitive (albeit lavish) set-pieces, underwritten characters and a need to make the whole enterprise feel darker. The latter complaint isn’t necessarily a new problem with sophomore franchise flicks, but it’s an adjustment Kirk and company simply didn’t need to endure. It’s wholly polished, but “Into Darkness” is a broody, charmless heartbreaker.

After a standard recognisance mission spirals out of control, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine, much less dashing than he was in 2009) and First-Mate Spock (Zachary Quinto) are stripped of the Enterprise, demoted and shamed by the authorities of Starfleet. However when mysterious criminal John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) begins an assault on the academy, leaving Kirk’s mentor Pike (Bruce Greenwood) dead, he reclaims his position as Captain and vows vengeance. With the unexpected support of Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller), Kirk and his crew plan to capture Harrison and bring him to justice, travelling to the fugitive’s hideaway in Klingon territory. Upon arrival they locate their man, but it transpires his identity and Starfleet’s motives for dispatching of him are hazier than first anticipated.

“Star Trek” was a blockbuster packed to the rafters with attitude, explosive action and a tremendous ensemble performance. In contrast “Into Darkness” merely feels perfunctory, a rudimentary spinning of the sequel-wheel which depressingly dictates nearly everything Hollywood attempts. The screenplay is a watery and unfocused piece of work, attempting to stuff new characters and ideas into the mix without fleshing out a single one satisfactorily. It’s legitimately difficult to begin dissecting the movie’s fumbled character dynamics. The film wants to essay the burgeoning bond between Kirk and Spock but devotes little energy into formulating the relationship, relying on surface level tiffs and a treacly ending to communicate their affection. Similarly Spock and Uhura (a steely but criminally underused Zoe Saldana) find the former’s lack of obvious emotion a romantic roadblock. This promising notion is settled over one shallow, spiky exchange, before Abrams loses interest and moves onto the next round of pyrotechnics. Adding to the unappetizing taste is a pointless new female character with daddy issues (Alice Eve, existing only to look good in underwear) and Harrison himself. British thespian Benedict Cumberbatch nails a sense of pervading menace and classes up every scene within which he features, but ultimately he’s left grappling with a rote and at times illogical role. His actions are lacking in consistency, and whilst his performance grips, Cumberbatch adds to the icky dourness that dominates this entry.

Michael Giacchino’s music is still an utter joy (please let him have a pop at the “Star Wars” theme) infusing the soundscape with a dependable urgency and sense of adventure, but the action rarely matches up, at least in terms of imagination. Abrams envisions stunning worlds with ace special effects, but the larger scale set-pieces underwhelm, chiefly because they’re often reduced to CGI spaceships firing lasers at each other. It’s not suspenseful or engaging, and by the time “Into Darkness” offers something with a little edge (the hand to hand combat moments have genuine oomph) it is unlikely audiences will particularly care. Spectacle is one thing, but infusing it with tension, excitement and audacity is quite another. Abrams achieved that quite flawlessly in 2009, but can’t even approach such blockbusting standards with “Into Darkness”.

The picture pirouettes between action regularly, but fails to establish a cracking pace, the final act particularly punishing and overstretched. The outcome feels inevitable from the get-go, and by too regularly placing an abundance of characters in peril, finds itself bleeding potential momentum and excitement. Abrams places the entirety of the movie’s main cast in danger without focusing potential suspense on the fate of individuals, a silly manoeuvre which should bother anybody with a functional history of film-going. I mean it’s possible to believe one key character might bite the dust, but an entire handful of franchise stalwarts? Give me a break.

“Into Darkness” doesn’t have much of an identity, it looks great, but ultimately it’s a hollow, surface level beauty that fails to penetrate the clunky, humourless script. After Abrams’ recent work I had every faith that this picture would amount to one of the season’s strongest offerings, but alas it actually jumps at the opportunity to be summer 2013’s first major disappointment. It’s a puddle of mega-budgeted mediocrity that even purists and uber-nerds will struggle to fully embrace. [C]

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=20210&reviewer=425
originally posted: 05/10/13 07:53:45
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User Comments

10/29/16 morris campbell killer sequel lots of fun purists stay away 5 stars
12/29/15 onix fiero fun and entertaining film. if you are looking for old trek this isn't it. but still fun. 4 stars
6/16/15 Bents Simply a straight-up action film - but a very good one 4 stars
3/20/14 Jack Star Trek into darkness: Idiots in outer space. 1 stars
1/27/14 Charles Tatum Great stuff, despite the naysayers! 5 stars
10/16/13 jeanne For 50 years, Kirk has been an immature jackass. My cat is a better captain. 1 stars
10/15/13 Carl Very enjoyable film. I have to knock off just a bit for not addressing Khan's heritage. 4 stars
8/31/13 Eggy Joe Repetitive, weak characters and unoriginal. Disapointed. 3 stars
7/22/13 TalynofTexas Exciting movie although it drags in parts and the ending is over the top. 4 stars
6/12/13 Marty Action was top-notch with great effects. Characters fun but shallow. 3 stars
6/07/13 Carol S Absolutely amazing! Both my husband and I enjoy it! 5 stars
6/05/13 gc A shot-for-shot remake of spocks death scene from ST 2, this is the best they can do? 2 stars
5/28/13 ThaDude Trek fans needs to get out of the 60's, the new films are what this franchise needed. 5 stars
5/26/13 jamiebraun Best star trek movie Ive seen in a decade 5 stars
5/26/13 Jeff Wilder Well-done Trek film. Best since First Contact. 4 stars
5/26/13 Philip Slick production that moves like lightning but ultimately hollow. 3 stars
5/20/13 kevin lause The villain makes this worth seeing. 4 stars
5/19/13 Koitus Good movie, especially if you are a Trek fan! 4 stars
5/19/13 THOMAS LEE Boring, inept, and irritiating. And that was just the cinema audience... 1 stars
5/18/13 Durwood Great effects and ok plot but a little wimpy with the don't go after terrorists message. 3 stars
5/17/13 Mishyana Original ST gets more credit than it warrants, this gets less. Both are good. 4 stars
5/17/13 Bob Dog Star Trite... 1 stars
5/16/13 mr.mike A few notches below the !st . still quite good. 4 stars
5/15/13 radium56 Fast paced & entertaining. 3D transfer unnecessary, occasionally awkward (seen in IMAX) 4 stars
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  15-May-2013 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Sep-2013


  DVD: 10-Sep-2013

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