I’ve never cared for any of the other iterations of the series – mostly because the original series was written by science-fiction authors instead of television writers, which made the original episodes bold and reflective of the nation’s political climate.
Nearly every original episode made you think about the world you were currently living in. In other words, it was a smart series.
And when J.J. Abrams took the helm of the films and rebooted them, he did his best to recreate the characters we classic Trek fans fell in love with over the years since it debuted.
And, basically, the first “Star Trek” spent most of its runtime letting the audience get reacquainted with the new, fresh-faced stars.
Now, with “Star Trek Into Darkness,” we’ve already been introduced to the crew, so let’s start doing awesome things – like going boldly where no one has gone before.
Oh, wait. Not yet.
This isn’t the movie the trailers led you to believe it was.
You see, Abrams is a huge classic Trek fan as well. And those old episodes weren’t about action and adventure. They were about politics and exploration and what it’s like being human in a world full of alien species: some good, some bad.
Sure, there’s action and huge, computer-generated set pieces, but one could almost feel that if it was left completely up to Abrams, this one would have been a straight political drama about our current time as Americans basically becoming world police.
But it’s highly unlikely the studio would have tossed him $200 million to make it.
There’s not a lot I can say about the movie without giving it all away. But it’s more of a classic Trek episode than anything else. It’s chock full of political undertones and melodramatic moments.
And if you go into the film knowing that, you should enjoy it. I mean, of course, there are gigantic explosions and fights and by far the biggest death toll in any movie I’ve seen in a while, but it’s more of a conspiracy thriller.
Yet, most of the action is deadline oriented and adds a forceful, cheap thrill. It seems like there’s always some sort of ticking clock that they must race against to try and keep the audience on the edge of their seats whenever possible. It gets a tad monotonous at times.
And the movie should be called “Spock Treks Into Darkness” because if you learn anything from this movie it’s that you never, ever piss off Spock.
It’s a different side of the Vulcan that we’ve never really seen to this degree. His emotions are boldly stitched to his blue shirt in this one.
Every other actor pulls their weight with “Robocop” actor Peter Weller seemingly coming out of nowhere to be the crazy, warmonger crux of the film. He stands out the most, but he’s not in the film as much as he should be, even though his actions set the movie in motion.
As I mentioned, there are tons of surprises and hidden themes in the movie and could probably use multiple viewings just to take them all in and see how they relate to the Trek universe.
Abrams is a talented director, and you can tell he loves playing in the Trek sandbox, using characters from the original and twisting them around to have a new, challenging effect on the Trek canon.
The music as always was excellent. And during the quiet scenes on the bridge of the USS Enterprise those are my favorites. Hearing those distant beeps and bloops that sound as if they’re from cheesy ’60s sci-fi movies always makes me smile.
Then there’s the lens flares. The blue beams of light that stream across every dramatic scene. It was already a bit much from the first film and seems like overkill at this point. Mentions of it freaking people out in 3D are rampant.
Overall, the movie works. It’s probably the best Trek movie to date, but mostly because it feels like a classic episode and will eventually lead to a better one the next time out.
But with Abrams tackling “Star Wars VII”, it seems highly unlikely he’ll helm another one.
And that could be a good thing. He’s done an awesome job setting up the characters and the universe they inhabit, so if he stepped away I’m sure they’ll find capable hands in which to leave it.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is entertaining if you are or are not a Trek fan, but the Trekkies should have the biggest blast watching it.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is playing at Rio 6 Cinemas, 806 E. Houston St. in Beeville, in both 2D and 3D.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.