Into Darkness – More Like Into Awesome!

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To begin with I am an old-school Trekkie and damned proud of it.  I’ve been around long enough to know that wearing a red-shirt is a death sentence, that you aren’t really in a fight unless your shirt gets torn off, real captains have hair, and there’s no such thing as a Vulcan Death Grip.  I’ve seen Wrath of Kahn so many times I know the lines to entire movie, much to my wife’s chagrin.  I know that some people would argue that the Wrath of Kahn was not the best of the Star Trek movies – and they would be dead wrong.  This is the benchmark, the proverbial bar for this kind of franchise.

When the studios rebooted Star Trek, I was pleased.  It would have been a shame to let such a piece of intellectual property sit and gather dust.  The first new Trek movie was actually very good.  Sure, I could punch holes in it, I’m a geek after all, but on the whole I thought it rocked.  With this frame of mind I was looking forward to Into Darkness, the new Trek offering but was wondering if they could pull of a sequel that was as good or better than the original.

Man was I pleased!

First off, for all  the crap J. J. Abrams is bound to catch from the “guys living in their mom’s basement,” this was as neat twist on the canon of Star Trek.  If you knew nothing about Trek, like my wife who went with me, the film was an action packed joy ride.

The character development was good.  Kirk learns a bit of humility, something he needed for his character.  Sulu gets the big chair for a while.  Scott, played by Simon Peg, is outstanding.  Even the love affair of Uhura and Spock is actually welcomed here.  Bones gets a lot of throw-away one liners, but they come at intense moments and come in as welcome comic relief.  My only minor gripe is that Dr. Carol Marcus, whose father has a distinct American accent speaks like a citizen of the United Kingdom, which doesn’t entirely make sense.

If you were looking for pure science fiction, the essence of Star Trek, this movie is a little thin on this front.  This is an action adventure movie that just happens to be set in outer space.

Now for the only spoiler-filled portion of the review:  If you are a Trek fan, and you liked the episode Space Seed and the movie, Wrath of Kahn, this is an awesome movie.  No, correction, a beyond awesome movie.  The homage to the original series and film is embedded here.  When they said 72 torpedoes I did a double-take.  There’s a nice reference to Section 31 for true Trekkies too.  If you are like me and know the dialogue of the movies, you will love this movie –especially that last 30 minutes.

Bottom line – five (no hell, six!) stars out of five.  Yes, I’m over-awarding it!  It’s full of juicy Star Trek goodness wrapped in a bacon-flavored action film.

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