I grew up in a town divided. On one side of the tracks (there really weren’t any tracks) were the five or six of us that admitted to liking “Star Wars” and on the other was the kid who liked “Star Trek.”
It was unacceptable to cross those fictitious tracks. You were Wars or Trek there was no in between.
I’ve lived by that credo for the better part of my life – until recently I’d never watched a single episode of or film related to “Star Trek.”
But now that I’ve seen both the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot and its sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which opens today, I find myself at a crossroads – not only did I watch both films, but I enjoyed them immensely. I feel like I’m being unfaithful to Luke, Han and Yoda, but I really can’t help it.
In “Into Darkness” we meet back up with Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise as they journey across the galaxy in search of new life and planets.
This is where things get tricky without giving anything away. And if I’ve learned anything about films/film franchises with a fanatic following it’s that you don’t want to give ANYTHING away.
So, lets just say there’s a volcano, a surprising bad guy and a not so surprising bad guy that try to make the lives of the crewmembers difficult.
In terms of the story, it’s a pretty basic premise: good guys fight bad guys in space.
But it’s the manner in which that story is driven that’s impressive.
There’s a lot of action and cheesy dialogue inserted into the script for nothing other than a cheap entertainment, and there are a few awkwardly long periods with little or no dialogue. But all of those things come together nicely to push the story along and actually advance it. Sure, some of the action scenes are a bit much, but that’s to be expected in a big budget sci-fi flick.
The thing that stands out to me the most in the entire film is just how effective the 3D is.
I’m not a huge fan of 3D – the glasses bother me, things don’t seem as sharp as they could be if they were just in high definition and sometimes the action scenes are hard to follow because there’s just too much going on.
The latter does happen a time or two, but overall the scenes are pretty smooth and people and scenery really seem to pop off the screen. And other things that should be considered gimmes but often aren’t in 3D land – spears, debris, etc. flying off of the screen – are abundant and effective.
The other thing I really appreciated about “Into Darkness” is the fact that there were a few, but not a huge amount, of insider things. There’s no secret handshake needed to understand who the characters are or what the story is – you can walk into this rebooted series without having prior “Star Trek” knowledge.
“Into Darkness” is made for the masses – a fact that I’m sure will have purists upset. But if they can draw in someone as anti-Trek as I am, they’re doing something right.
Now I only hope that Lando, Boba Fett and the rest of the “Star Wars” world can forgive my movie infidelity.
Rating: ★★★★ of ★★★★★