Into Darkness – misses a few notes but what about the score?

itdAs a long time Trek fan you’d think I’ have the Into Darkness theatrical release date marked on my calendar with a big red heart drawn around it. Not true. It’s rare I get a chance to see movies in the theater anymore, so tracking the dates would just be self-torture.  Sometimes, though, things just work out and I did get a chance to see Into Darkness in the theater. Woot!

Blockbuster – check!
I have to disclose that I’m inclined to like any Star Trek movie, but I think I would have enjoyed this one even if I wasn’t already a fan. You can always count on Director, JJ Abrams, to make a big action-packed block-buster. That is what he set out to do and I’d say he succeeded for the most part. I highly recommend the movie, but I feel compelled to warn you that it isn’t a perfect movie so set your expectations accordingly.

Into the not so Dark – ness 
I had a bit of trouble with my own expectations. Perhaps it was the name, but I was expecting a darker flick. There are plenty of ‘darker trappings’ and emotionally dark moments, but the overall effect isn’t dark. If the movie fails anywhere, I’d say it was in those dark or dramatic moments. You don’t want solutions to appear out of the blue, but I’m not sure you want them to be quite this predictable. The movie too often telegraphs the plot twists before they are executed and the solution to the dark moment is easy to spot long before it is needed. I’d go so far as to call it predictable.  But this is adventure not mystery, so a bit of predictability isn’t disastrous. The movie is still a fun ride and even laugh-out-loud funny at times.

Fandom Nods Noted
Many of the jokes come in the form of nods to the fans. Fondly remembered lines abound, but not every nod to fans hits the mark. kronos Some are just too on the nose and each of those occurrences took me out of the story. The more subtle references or twists on the original fare much better. At least for me.

Get your Star Wars out of my Star Trek
My last complaint may be a bit petty. I know Abrams has been pretty open about not being a Star Trek fan until he put his own mark on it. I guess that is okay as is his preference for Star Wars. I won’t begrudge anyone their childhood favorites. However, I was disappointed when one of the last big scenes of the movie was played out in a manner so similar to scenes in Star Wars episode 2 that I expected a skinny, arrogant Aniken to beam into the scene at any moment. (sigh)

Embrace the Bromance
What makes the movie stellar, in spite of any weaknesses, is the central character relationships. At the heart of this movie is the friendship between Kirk and Spock. That delights my fannish heart more than any tribble or red-shirt reference. The evolution of that friendship and its effects on the two men and the rest of the crew are integral to the story and develop apace with the plot. Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine execute it perfectly.  Into Darkness, taps into the Star Trek tradition of looking at ethical complexity, hard choices, right and wrong, logic and passion, love and respect and I heartily approve.