Good or evil, the one thing movie characters usually agree upon is the importance of family. Family can be defined in many different ways. It can be the literal meaning of blood relation; it could be friends or it could be the people that an individual is responsible for. Regardless of how it is defined, family is something precious and it is something people go to great lengths to protect. On the one hand, we already expect a villain to do horrible things, and when it is for the sake of family we sometimes sympathize with them. There are times however, when even the hero is tested and we wonder just how far they would go to save a loved one. Ask yourself just how far is too far to save those you hold dear and is there a limit in your mind to start with? In J.J. Abrams’ latest Star Trek re-imagination titled Into Darkness, we see how several characters deal with this very question and you might be surprised with how some of them respond.

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY… Abrams’ Star Trek movies are mot so much meant to reboot the franchise as they are to take the story down a different timeline. Fiction, especially science fiction always has “what if?” questions posed and the story Abrams told in his first Star Trek film answered just such a question. Expect more of the same from this new foray into unwritten Starfleet history. Just like the original Shatner version, Chris Pine’s Kirk skips over the prime directive in the way that a little girl skips rope. And just like the original, this Kirk gets demoted for it. The difference is that the original Kirk was demoted from admiral to captain and given the new NCC-1701-A Enterprise (to replace the one he’d blown up) while this Kirk was demoted to commander and lost his ship to its original “owner,” (now) Admiral Pike. The terrorist acts of former Commander John Harrison (Cumberbatch) put a vengeful Kirk back in the captain’s chair and he takes the Enterprise deep into enemy territory to find him. The cooler heads of Scotty and Spock attempt to dissuade Kirk, but he feels the man who killed his mentor must pay for his crimes. Kirk historically has always come out on top, no matter the odds, but when there are literally enemies in every direction, the Enterprise may have nowhere left to run. The crew of the famous vessel may not live long enough to go where no one has gone before.

THE NEEDS OF THE MANY When I saw the first (new) Star Trek, I was amazed at how much attention Abrams and crew paid to the original detail. If only more filmmakers would take a page from this creative team and realize that if you are going to change the story, you have to be spot on with the characters. Just like last time, this was accomplished  in this film. Not only are the crew of the Enterprise being faithfully represented and recreated by this new acting team, they went so far as to recreate the chemistry the characters have with one another and their individual behavior and mannerisms. Spock’s struggle with his Vulcan and human sides played a big part in this movie and Zachary Quinto nailed it. The scene where he explains his actions to Kirk and Uhura was particularly emotional for the normally stoic science officer and was one of the best scenes in the film. My other two standouts also involve Spock, but I do not wish to spoil the film for those who have yet to see it. Kirk’s reputation with women was the perfect way to introduce Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) into the picture, who longtime fans will remember as the mother of Kirk’s son. My hat is off to John Cho for his continuously fantastic portrayal of Sulu; he does true justice to George Takei’s role. The same can be said for Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin, but Bones and Chekov were not really standout characters in this story, despite both of them saving lives. I was very unhappy with Peter Weller in this movie; don’t get me wrong, he was fantastic, but his role was too straightforward. I am used to his character being more obscure or tortured (just more used to him being Robocop), but Admiral Marcus’ motivation just seemed too easy for Weller. If Cumberbatch is not voted this year’s best villain, I am starting a protest. On board the USS Vengeance – that is how you kill a man and make sure no one ever messes with you. I am happy to say that this installment of a franchise that became famous without having the greatest acting had some the best performances I have seen this year thus far.

SET PHASERS ON AWESOME From the very start of this movie your eyes are treated to fantastic effects. Volcanic eruptions frozen, Klingon (yes, I said KLINGON) attack ships, the horrific sight of bodies sucked out of a hull breach at warp speed, and the USS Vengeance herself. Just seeing that black ship completely dwarf the Enterprise was a sight. I honestly did not see much use for the 3-D. There really were no come at you moments in this movie, but this must be seen in IMAX. The visuals of the alien planet and certain parts of Earth are breathtaking. I happened to see the opening scene of the movie later on in the day on an 80” HDTV using what was at least 240Hz image enhancement and between this movie and my PS4, I simply must buy a new TV this holiday season. Loyal Trek fans have been rewarded with great special effects ever since Star Trek The Motion Picture and I guarantee that you will get nothing less from the latest installment.

DUDE, REALLY? And by that, I mean, IT’S A STAR TREK MOVIE! Of course the music is great. And that is all I really have to say about the soundtrack. Well, that and that if there had been some Klingon music in there, it would have been over 9000 times better.

Star Trek Into Darkness was clearly made for the fans. From start to finish, there are homages both great and small to the original TV show and the original cast movies. The story was extremely well written and despite not being completely original, it managed to surprise. The evolution of this new Star Trek universe continues to excite, entertain and amaze. I also like the fact that Abrams is not just cashing in on the name, he takes the time to develop his characters and show that even though they are the original crew that they are not the exact same because this is not the same timeline. Into Darkness is one of the movies I say that you must see (in theatres) this year. If you are a trekkie/trekkor, you most likely have seen it already and you know exactly what I am talking about. If you like sci-fi, then you have to see this film because it will probably be the best sci-fi flick of this year. If you just like good movies, then you should go see this one because, let’s be real, Tony Stark couldn’t hold up his own house; he sure cannot hold a candle to the Enterprise.

 

END OF MAIN REVIEW. PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ SPOILERS, FOUL LANGUAGE OR RANDOM MADNESS

 

I have told you many times that nothing is safe up in here and just because I liked this movie doesn’t mean that it cannot also get the business. Let’s start with the little bullshit that bothered me – entering warp. The falling crystal sound was a big what the fuck for me because as you know, there is no air in space so there is no sound in space. Couple that with me trying to wrap my brain around the fact that the Enterprise now shits out blue fairy dust across the galaxy every time it goes to warp. That was a small beef and honestly I can deal with it. What was complete bullshit was Khan. Yes, I have beef with Benedict Cumberbatch, regardless of the fact that he was absolutely fantastic in the movie. So what the fuck is the bug up my ass? Simply this: as “Commander John Harrison,” he is perfect. Then when you reveal his true identity to be KHAN NOONIEN SINGH (and yes, that is the real, correct spelling), suddenly a six-foot tall white guy looks ridiculous. Khan was a Sikh from Northern India and yes, Ricardo Montalban was a Mexican (R.I.P.), but at least they put some fucking makeup on him and tried to make him look somewhat Indian! Again, I will get over it, but this was just stupid casting for Khan. They should have let him stay John Harrison.The biggest complaint was the Klingon presence in the movie, or the lack thereof. It was really teasing the longtime fans to have that fight scene and that humongous fucking starship with no space battles between Klingons and Starfleet. It would have been insane if like three or four birds of prey de cloaked around the Vengeance and opened fire. I would have loved to see how that ship would have fared. Screw it, what is done is done. Despite the rage, I loved the movie so go see it or the next Black Rage piece will be about you!

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