Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

A rollickingly good-humoured but also dramatic storyline in Star Trek

Star Trek Into Darkness doesn't go boldly

Star Trek Into Darkness doesn't go boldly

Hollywood’s reigning sci-geek super-genius, J.J. Abrams, certainly aced his Starfleet exam four year’s back with his reboot of the moribund Star Trek movie franchise. A rollickingly good-humoured but also dramatic storyline introduced us to young, just-graduated versions of all the series stalwarts, and fanboys and newbies alike fervently embraced this savvy prequel. They should certainly be pleased with Abrams’ sophomore effort, Star Trek Into Darkness, which has similar flair if not great originality.

Young and studly Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), he of the chiseled cheeks and piercing blue eyes, isn’t at the helm of the USS Enterprise very long before his recklessness and arrogance get him censured by his superiors and booted off his beloved ship. He barely has time to brood before a much bigger disaster strikes: a rogue Star Fleet officer (Benedict Cumberbatch, most famous for his portrayal of a sociopathic, modern-day Sherlock Holmes on PBS) has murderously blown up a busy Star Fleet facility before fleeing to the edge of Klingon territory, where Star Fleet dare not go for fear of provoking war.

Quicker than you can say “a shot at redemption,” Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho) et al. receive the admiral’s blessing to launch a covert mission to assassinate the ruthless villain who has killed so many fellow officers. Things are far from what they appear to be, and what follows is a twisty and exciting plot full of surprise betrayals, unexpected alliances, and touching reconciliations (Kirk and Spock’s bromance is as rocky as ever, mostly due to the huge misunderstanding that causes Kirk to lose his command at the beginning of the film). And, given that that this is two centuries in the future, it is surprising how many brutal fights there are that rely on fists rather than phasers.

Notwithstanding the use of “darkness” in the title, a notable body count, and some epic scenes of terrestrial and interstellar destruction, this is far from the sci-fi equivalent of The Dark Knight. The script is light on its feet as it balances action and emotion, pathos and comedy. It is also deft and clever at imagining the series’ iconic characters as much-younger people. Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) is particularly effective in this regard as he creates an endearingly crusty and droll Scotty. And then there is the lesser-known Cumberbatch, a gifted English thespian who makes for a tasty and tightly-coiled villain, mostly thanks to his mockingly precise diction and quiet sense of menace. In all, this is an engaging and entertaining Trek, one very much worth taking. M

 

Star Trek Into Darkness  ★★★

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto

PG 13 – 132 minutes • Continues at The Odeon,

Empire Uni 4, SilverCity and West Shore

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

To each their own pipe. The new sewer main during staging in James Bay before it was installed in 2018, to convey waste to the McLoughlin Point treatment facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘End in sight,’ for Victoria’s annual sewage overflows

Wastewater projects underway should end sewage overflows

Community members Ed Hutchinson, left, Dave Noren, and Pat Graham, president of The Ladies Guild, stand before the new book house outside the Church of the Advent in Colwood. The tiny library was built as a result of the annual Church of the Advent book sale being cancelled due to COVID-19. (Submitted/Joan Hoffman)
Colwood church builds little library

Church of Advent annual book sale cancelled due to health restrictions

(Courtesy Very Good Butchers)
Very Good Butchers brand adds cheese to its platter

The Cultured Nut products to be rebranded under Very Good Cheese banner

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read