May 18, 2013
Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
Release Date: May 16, 2013
To Boldly Go, and Whatnot
J.J. Abrams 2009 venture into the universe of Star Trek was a star-studded success. It embodied a fresh approach to the franchise, and, for all intents and purposes, made Trek “cool” again. There was little doubt that the talented director could craft yet another solid entry into the series, but I doubt that anyone would have predicted that Into Darkness would surpass the reboot in just about every way imaginable.
Most notably the movie builds on the mythos of Trek in measurable and significant ways. At the risk of dropping major spoilers, I’ll simply say that long-time fans of the franchise will feel a strong sense of nostalgia regarding what transpires in this second effort from Abrams. The characters are all more fully developed this time around, and much of the plot (partially by sheer coincidence, partially, perhaps, not) directly mirrors the concerns and fears that have engulfed our post-9/11 society. Thus the socio-politcal subtext of the film adds another level of depth.
The action you’d expect is, of course, delivered in abundance, with a few cues having been taken from the previous movie. If anything is lacking, it comes in a lack of comedic relief; for me, this is actually somewhat welcome, as I found some of the cartoonish aspects of the 2009 offering a tad bit distracting.
Overall, Abrams really does deserve credit: the man has managed to direct two outstanding Trek movies. Both times he’s managed to retain the spirit of the original(s), and both times he’s managed to inject his own brand of frenetic/contemporary intensity that has reinstated the series in the pop-culture zeitgeist in a way that might otherwise have been impossible.
For me—and you’ll have to forgive my wandering thoughts—one of the only things I could think about as the credits rolled was this: the future of Star Wars (that’s right, Star Wars) is in very, very good hands. In case you haven’t kept up with current events, Abrams has been named the director of what my fellow nerds never thought would happen: Episode VII; a full-fledged sequel to Return of the Jedi (and the beginning of a new trilogy). It would seem, then, that Abrams is something of a wonder boy, and that the events of this galaxy—as well as those in a galaxy that existed a long time ago far, far away—are in the best hands we could have hoped for.