Movie review: “Star Trek Into Darkness”

star trek into darkness ii

I was nine years old and in the fifth grade when the first “Star Trek” series began on TV. It was a bit late – ten o’clock, I think – but, for some reason, my parents allowed me watch it. I was hypnotized. I remember especially the “Cat’s Paw” episode, with Korob and Sylvia, which first aired just before Halloween 1967:

I’ve never been  the same since.

I’ve seen most of the various TV series, and most of the movies. I didn’t care much for “Next Generation,” but I did love “Deep Space Nine.” “Voyager” I flirted with, but we never fell in love. “Enterprise” I didn’t connect with at all, though I think Scott Bakula is very hot.

The movies have mostly been disappointments. The first one was much looked forward to – I remember yelling “Beam me up!” in the theater lobby, which everyone thought was very funny – but it was really pretty terrible. “Wrath of Khan” was a good movie, as was the one with the whales – what was it? – “The Voyage Home.” Most of the “Next Generation” movies were completely forgettable. The movie before this one, “Star Trek” with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, was pretty good, although it seemed to indicate that we were moving  into, ahem, an alternate timeline, in which things didn’t happen the way they did in the original TV show or the first few movies.

Anyway: so here we are, on our second movie! Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) are still both very cute. (The director likes to let the camera dwell on Chris’s pretty eyes for minutes at a time. I admit that his eyes are very special.) Spock is still in a relationship with Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and they’re spatting this time around, which is also cute. Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and McCoy (Karl Urban) create a solid old-fashioned connection to the original series, funny and serious at the same time, and all three of them give terrific performances.

But, unfortunately, all of the above excellent performers are saddled with a sub-standard plot.

Benedict Cumberbatch is the villain, and he’s very good at being a villain, because he has that voice, and that slightly-inhuman face. But the plot is all things blowing up, and maybe the Klingons will attack us, and maybe there are bad guys within StarFleet!

Yeah, mm-hmm. We’ve done this before. About a million times.

There is a ton of stuff in this movie for the fans (which non-fans will not even notice): tribbles, a mention of Harry Mudd, the appearance of Carol Marcus. The producers made a big deal of not revealing the movie’s plot in advance, and I’ll play along. I will say this: Cumberbatch is playing a villain named John Harrison, but John Harrison is not his real name.

I went to this film as a Star Trek fan always does, hoping for a really good movie.

I came away thinking: “Oh, well. Chris Pine is cute, so it wasn’t a total loss.”

Well, anyway, I have high hopes for next weekend’s “Man of Steel.”

And if it turns out to be terrible: well, at least Henry Cavill’s very cute.

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