I'm not a Trekkie. I'm not steeped in the Star Trek canon. I'm not even a sci-fi fan. But I did casually enjoy Star Trek as a kid whenever it came on TV. I could point out Spock. And I knew who Leonard Nimoy is.
J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek movie franchise in 2009, like Christopher Nolan and his Christian Bale-Batman, but I only got the chance to see the second installment: Star Trek: Into Darkness. Not in 3D nor in IMAX-3D, but in an old-fashioned reel that sometimes skipped a second. So, did a non-fan like me enjoy Star Trek: Into Darkness?
Star Trek: Into Darkness opens and jumps right into action. In the gaudy-pink alien planet Nibiru, Captain Kirk of the intergalactic explorer U.S.S. Enterprise ignores Prime Directive in order to rescue Spock from a volcano. And so he is demoted to first officer. However, a super London bombing perpetrated by an ex-Starfleet agent, John Harrison, propels a quick series of events, which reinstates Kirk as captain of the ship and the gang races to chase the villain...and soon uncovers a conspiracy. Who is John Harrison, really? And why is he angry and scarily invincible? And why did he bomb the secret Section 31 in London?
Star Trek: Into Darkness delivers action-packed adventure, but it's more memorable for the drama. Here we see the characters shed moving tears in close-up shots, lots of engaging Kirk-Spock bromance, entertaining captain-crew dynamics and bickering, logic versus emotions, and tales of death, sacrifice and betrayal. And comic relief brought on by Scotty (Simon Pegg).
And what makes an action movie rise even more and take hold of you is how powerful the villain is. And John Harrison, who is actually Khan (oops, spoiler?), the super-human, genetically engineered bad guy (or is he really the bad guy?) is played exceptionally well by Benedict Cumberbatch (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), delivering the perfect combination of cold, precise and invincible, with a gripping, ominous voice of a manipulative villain. Pine, on the other hand, is aptly cast as our protagonist Kirk, convincing and charming in his confidence and captain-characteristics.
Star Trek: Into Darkness is refreshingly entertaining, dramatic without being too melodramatic, a science fiction with a heart, and a cast ensemble that have chemistry together, and they will immediately grow on you. It's visually and emotionally satisfying. Enjoyable even in reel.
4.5 out of 5 stars
In Philippine Cinemas May 15, 2013, also available in 2D and 3D