Chris Pine, Alive Eve, and Zachary Quinto in Star Trek: Into Darkness
It’s been four years since JJ Abrams released his high-energy and high-concept fueled version of Star Trek; A version that not only breaks away from the cannon that this the Shatner universe, but one that just says to hell with the old way of doing things and establishes itself in it’s own “alternate universe”. Viewers of Abram’s shows like Fringe and Alias will no doubt pick up on this thought process, because who better do it than Abrams himself? Star Trek not only ushered in new fans, but also pleased many of those already in existence and the Horizon looked good for Trekkers everywhere and the road to remake wrath of Khan looked promising, but Abram’s latest attempt with Into Darkness is by far his weakest effort to date.
The Enterprise has been taken away from its beloved captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) has been transferred to the USS Bradbery, due to the failure of their latest mission and for ignoring the prime directive; which states that no Starfleet officer may interfere with the development of an alien culture or civilization. Kirk is told by his father-like-figure, Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), that he has been quite a pain in Starfleet’s ass and despite what has happened his superior’s aren’t happy with his performance since he took over the Enterprise. But when a terrorist by the name of John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks a library on earth, its an all-out manhunt to bring him to justice and Kirk is thrust back into the Captain’s seat as if he never left it in the first place.
What ensues from here is nothing but a series of uninteresting twists and turns that reveal Harrison as the dastardly Khan and his past with the Starfleet president Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller); Who literally has switched places with the James Kirk in the original story arc. The only major difference here is that Marcus is corrupt and his daughter Carol (Alice Eve) hasn’t given birth to Kirk’s son, but is a still a scientist whom specializes in missile technology. Granted, Carol originally developed the Genesis project that Khan went after to create his own version of paradise in the original film.
As if this wasn’t enough the end of the film is mucked up with an attempt at switching up Kirk for Spock in probably one of the worst recreations of a famous scene I have ever seen. It not only lacks the original gravity of the situation, but it is played it off that Kirk and Spock know each other as if they were brothers. When in fact, this Kirk and Spock haven’t known each other for very long at all. This could have been more believable had Abrams chosen to put off this story arc until much later on in his saga of Trek films that will inevitably come.
The entire cast is back plus newcomers Peter Weller and Alice Eve. Eve adds that necessary female presence that questioned what Bra size was the cutoff in the original series. All-the-while Peter Weller, a director in his own right, seems out of place in the Khan against Starfleet plot device that should haven been given that final look over before it hit the soundstage floor. On the positive side Checkov (Anton Yelchin) is actually given something to do when Scotty and Kirk have yet another unnecessary disagreement.
It’s not that this retelling of the classic tale isn’t unbearable, Into Darkness like Iron Man 3, simply tries to do too much. I feel that if Abrams hadn’t tried to hide Khan in the beginning of the film that this could have been a successful remake as well as if Kirk wasn’t straight up swapped out for Spock in a scene that wasn’t necessary to recreate in the first place; with this film taking place in an alternate universe. A different universe is supposed to suggest different events taking place, not similar or very close to. The film has an incredibly strong opening first act, but slips up in the second only to open to a bittersweet third act that isn’t impressive or to entirely over-the-top.
I didn’t entirely hate Into Darkness, but I didn’t love it either, I would have loved to see the film that was originally suggested four years ago, not this half-assed rushed remake that is driven down our throats in the midst of yet another lame summer blockbuster season.