First let me say that I spent the week before this movie came out trying to taper my expectations. In hindsight there was no reason. The movie did not have the blow-you-away energy of the 2009 re-opening but it is sure to please discerning Star Trek fans and most others inclined to pay the outrageous price of a theater ticket. I spent 17GBP (about $27 USD) to experience this film in IMAX 3D. I usually don’t like 3D films so this was a gamble for me. It’s a nice feeling when a long shot comes through in a big way. The visual and auditory experience was simply extraordinary.
The adventure starts when the crew of the Enterprise boldly goes to a primitive jungle planet. Their observation mission quickly changes into a rescue mission that violates the all too sacred Prime Directive. Sacred it would appear for everyone but Kirk. His arrogance costs him a job and Starfleet realizes maybe this is just an inexperienced egotistical kid and we got way ahead of ourselves making him captain of star ship.
The future is not looking good for Kirk when the sinister John Harrison makes his appearance inflicting a reign of terror upon Starfleet. He’s a bad boy and plays the role well. But I’m not sure he quite looks the part. He can act well, but it reminded me of Roger Moore as 007. He’s a little too much of a pretty boy to taken seriously as a tough guy. I’ll probably feel different when I see the movie for the second or third time. It often takes a little time to warm up to scifi evil protagonists; Darth Vader, The Terminator, Agent Smith (The Matrix), Boba Fett, and Predator being the notable exceptions.
Kirk is ordered to hunt down the bad guy and dish out some payback for those evil deeds. Now if you are wondering how it is such old west frontier justice is dispensed in the 23rd century you are not alone. And this quagmire becomes the key to a few deep, dark Starfleet secrets. I’ll give you a hint: Dead men tell no tales.
Star Trek Into Darkness leads you down a path of action, adventure, secrecy, and moral challenges. All this is interwoven onto a framework of awesome CGI. But despite the wonderful special effects, the character development is probably the film’s greatest strength. The film emphasizes the complexities of interpersonal relationships aboard a starship. Spock and Uhura have a few tense moments and you expect the next words to be “we need to talk”. Being the third wheel Kirk tries to avoid being dragged into the argument with some humorous results.
Highlighted throughout the film is the different belief structure between rules based Spock and the Kirk philosophy of “the rules don’t apply to me”. These philosophical differences emerge as open tensions at several points during the film. And as you might expect, in the end everyone learns the truth lies somewhere in the middle. But fair warning; this truth comes at a high price.