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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 21, 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness Movie Review: Rousing Action-Sci Fi Entertainment

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” will surely please action-sci fi lovers, whether or not they’re bonafide Trekkies (diehard “Star Trek” fans). The series about the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise in the year 2260 was first aired on TV from 1966 to 69. It became a cult classic during syndication in the 70s, spawning an animated series. The original cast included William Shatner as Captain James Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as First Officer Spock and DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy.

In 1979, it branched out to the big screen with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, with the original cast. It was a hit so five sequels followed. In 1987, a spin off movie was made with a new cast, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. This had three sequels, the last of which was made in 1994. In 2009, Director J.J. Abrams (who’ll also direct the new Star Wars movie) made a reboot, simply titled “Star Trek”, a prequel showing the characters when they were younger: Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock and Karl Urban as McCoy. It was an acclaimed hit so now we have the sequel, “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, which traces its origins in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, with Ricardo Montalban as the superman villain.

It opens with Kirk and his men trying to save a primitive tribe from the eruption of a volcano. Spock is trapped inside the volcano while trying to detonate an “ice bomb” meant to freeze the volcano and Kirk is forced to violate a rule of their Federation just to save him. Because of this, he’s demoted as First Officer, at a time when a Starfleet commander, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), stages a personal rebellion, bombs London then attacks the Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco.

Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller of “Robocop”) reinstates Kirk and orders him to arrest Harrison who went to the hostile Klingon planet. The Enterprise is equipped with powerful torpedoes meant to destroy the planet but Kirk soon realizes that Harrison is not just an ordinary terrorist the way he’s pictured but someone else more formidable connected with past “Star Trek” films. Of course, we can’t reveal who as it will be a spoiler.

Pine is every inch the perfect Hollywood leading man as the heroic Kirk. Quinto is the young emotionless Leonard Nimoy personified and his love affair with the more expressive Uhuru (Zoe Saldana of “Colombiana”) is an added treat. Urban shows the wit exhibited by Kelly before as the ship’s doctor. But it is Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes in the new TV series) who nearly steals the movie as Harrison, giving his role the angst and gravitas it deserves.

The movie is presented like a U.S. summer action blockbuster, fast paced and filled with thrilling battle scenes and fight scenes. Another newcomer in the movie is Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus. In past “Star Trek” films, she is shown to be Kirk’s romantic interest and they even have a son, so it’s easy to conclude her role will be lengthened in the next movies of this franchise. The CGI special effects are definitely amazing and seamless, making the entire movie truly rousing entertainment.