Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:08 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.6/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)


I am not a Trekkie. Never was. But Star Trek Into Darkness may be the first film that ever inspired me to become one.

Following a series of shocking inner attacks in London, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) receives special permission to hunt down the man reponsible, former Starfleet agent John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). After successfully capturing Harrison, Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise soon discover that there is something even darker and perilous at work. Get your blasters ready and beam yourselves in for the second entry to J.J. Abrams' Star Trek.

One may be sick of J.J. Abrams' constant use of lens flares, but Star Trek Into Darkness is inevitably well shot and inventively framed. At times, the cameraman chooses a rotating shot where the camera spins 360 degrees. At other times, the cameraman chooses to let the shot just sit at an oblique angle. There is much variety of cinematography in this film -- proof that the film went through terrific storyboarding and director-cinematographer collaboration. Hopefully they did not argue like Kirk and Spock do.

The film in the editing department is very stylistic this time around. They way some shots transition is so sudden and natural. For example, one shot is in the ship while the next shot is on a planet's surface. However, they transition as if the two shots are in the same physical location. It is a little difficult to explain and the chances of you comprehending my praising comment are approximately 46.21% Therefore, I shall conclude that there is only one logical way for you to understand. Go watch the film yourself.

The screenplay is very sharply written. Characters throw lines of dialogue at each other, interrupting and stuttering and not finishing what they want to say. Each line is accurate of the character's personality, and overall brings realism to every scene. Sure, the film is full of action sequences, fighting and shooting and chasing. However, the real substance of Into Darkness comes from simple scenes where it is just two or three characters talking to each other.

In the visual department, Star Trek Into Darkness delivers just as well as its predecessor, with state-of-the-art visual effects and largely impressive set pieces. Even better, Director Abrams knows when is it the right time to use computer generated imagery and when is it the right time to actually build a literal set. This is where I argue that Abrams' two Star Trek films have better art direction than Star Wars. There is much usage of locations, furnitures, hallways, and walkways for actors to interact with. With the help of the camera constantly following the characters as they run around, the interior of the USS Enterprise feels very realistic, further enhancing the story.

For filmmaking terms, Star Trek Into Darkness has very similar substance to Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight as well as the latest James Bond entry Skyfall. Plot-wise, there is a lot at stake here for Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the crew. Thus, as the narrative progresses, so does characterization, and this is mostly because the story this time around is far more involving. In the previous installment, the film was mostly about the chemistry between Kirk and Spock. Here, it is not Kirk who is in danger, but everyone we care about on the ship.

Both Pine and Quinto's characters are heavily admirable, and though they still have conflicting moments like in the predecessor, their overall chemistry has taken an additional step. They argue like we have all seen before, but their relationship is far more devoted. Star Trek Into Darkness, because of its story and themes, gives the cast a real chance to show their acting talents. We learn about whether or not Kirk is truly meant to be a captain of a ship and crew. We learn about Spock giving in to emotions and never always logic. For Pine and Quinto's acting, they both deliver in a raw and breathtaking fashion.

Unquestionably, The Dark Knight is a spectacular piece of work in terms of filmmaking. Remember how Heath Ledger stole the show? This is exactly what Benedict Cumberbatch did for Star Trek Into Darkness.

His performance wields much power on screen, portraying a combination of a monotone villain and an emotional human. For sure, he is a force to be reckoned with in the film, and will surely be remembered as one of the greater villains in cinema in recent years. There are two highly intense chemistries in this film. One, mentioned before, is Captain Kirk and Spock. The other is Kirk and Harrison. In many odd but sensational ways, the encounter between hero and villain in this film is similar to the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight, where Batman sat down and interacted with the Joker in person, with no bars present. Without a doubt, Cumberbatch is stunning and exceptionally talented. There is even one scene where you almost want to give him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Oh, and there is a moment in this film...
Trekkies are going to unleash their inner fanboys to the point of spontaneous combustion...

Most impressively, Into Darkness paid homage to Star Trek movies. In simplistic comprehendable English, Into Darkness did what Skyfall did for James Bond fans. It did what The Dark Knight did for Batman fans. And finally, it did what The Avengers did for Marvel fans. Though Abrams still desires to make a great film in general, and successfully did so, he provides enough fan service this time around. For once, he learned that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Personally, I was not a lover of the previous Star Trek film, but Star Trek Into Darkness has impressed me so much, blowing away all possible expectations of a sequel. Now, I cannot imagine doing anything else but revisit Abrams' prequel story of how Kirk became the captain of the Enterprise. The experience of seeing the first entry of Star Trek and becoming dazzled by Into Darkness is similar to when I saw Batman Begins and being amazed by The Dark Knight. This brings me to a logical deduction: Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the greatest film sequels I have ever seen.

In conclusion, Star Trek Into Darkness goes where all the "perfect" films have gone -- brilliant acting, stylistic editing, sharp writing, and mind-blowing execution. Certainly, the film is a dream come true for all the Trekkies out there. At the same time, it satisfies science fiction lovers as well as general filmmakers. It is as if Star Trek Into Darkness is made by a crew of miracle workers. Somewhere in the space and time of filmmaking, Star Trek Into Darkness has prospered.

Box Office Prediction: $400s to $500s

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