Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Video review: "Star Trek Into Darkness"

It is endlessly vexing to me that the fanboy universe collectively dismissed the second trio of “Star Wars” movies as soulless sellouts, but have embraced the new “Star Trek” flicks from director J.J. Abrams enthusiastically.

For my money, Abram’s take on the original Starfleet gang has lacked intellectual heft, and is too reliant on special effects and whiz-bang action scenes. The first movie left me positively spinning, as if James T. Kirk, Spock, Bones and company were incapable of just sitting still and talking for two minutes.

The sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” does better at pacing. The first half is rather agreeable, setting up the characters and conflicts.

But things go off a cliff about halfway through, when the villain (Benedict Cumberbatch) is revealed to be none other than … well, I won’t spoil it for you. But even if you haven’t already heard the worst-kept secret of the movie recycling one of the great bad guys of the Trek universe, it’s pretty easy to figure out.

Kirk (Chris Pine) and the Enterprise get sent into Klingon territory to kill some terrorists who sprung a devastating surprise attack on Starfleet headquarters. Assassinations are not really in the rule book, setting up more conflict between captain, Spock (Zachary Quinto) and crew. The plot thickens further when it’s revealed other forces are at play.

The end devolves into a rather predictable exchange of phaser fire and fisticuffs, with the secondary characters relegated to hanging around in the fringes and reacting to barked orders. Remember when Sulu and Chekov actually, like, did stuff?

Personally, I’d rather watch a Jar-Jar Binks Christmas special than either of the new Star Trek movies again.

Video extras are decent, but only if you spring for the Blu-ray edition – the DVD comes with exactly zero goodies.

Several featurettes accompany the Blu-ray version, mostly going behind the scenes of various big-tent sequences such as the attack on Starfleet or creating the Klingon home world of Kronos.



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