REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Into Darkness'

You still with me? I haven't managed to alienate the Trekkie crowd by that initial admission, have I? Well, I will admit now that I have seen several of the Star Trek movies. That's gotta count for something, right? And, I did go out to see the last outing, I figured it only far to see this one, and figure out what brand of Macguffinite they planned to top the all powerful Red Matter.

The movie starts out with a nice action beat. Lots going on, as we are dropped into the middle of a story that we have absolutely no clue what is happening. Jumping into an active volcano, running away from strange abnormally white aliens, a lot to take in, with exposition being delivered on the fly. Pointy-eared Mr. Sylar (Zachary Quinto) does a great job of establishing that he is going to operate by the books, no matter what. Meanwhile the Voice of Jack Frost (Chris Pine) establishes himself as a "fly by the seat of your pants rebel." For shits and giggles Dr. Dredd (Karl Urban) just wants to establish that he is the doctor, not the Law! Oh, and never forget that a decidedly non-blue Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) is in love with Sylar.

What follows is a story, that feels familiar, while managing to still tread some unfamiliar territory. It manages to feel like it is retreading J.J. Abrams' first 'Star Trek' as well as aspects of the first two 'Star Trek' movies. Characters from Star Treks past emerge, hell, even events from previous movies are played out in sort of strange backwards reflection. It plays out almost like a series of winks at the audience:

"Hey guys, you remember Tribbles, right?"

"Hey remember that time that Kirk fought the Gorn?"

"Oh, remember that time that J.J. Abrams used so much lens flare that 95% of the screen was obscured? What? That was half of THIS movie?"

Yeah, about that lens flare... Abrams has taken it from a stylistic effect, into practically it's own character. Honestly, the lens flare has MORE screen time than any other single character in the movie. If lens flare could talk and get lines, the movie might have ended up being done with nothing BUT lens flare... Seriously, it was painful, and detracted from the movie on so many occasions.

Now, after I have trashed the movie, time to build it back up again.

The story was fun. Familiar, without being old. They managed to fit enough of the new in with the old, to make it feel like something completely different. I didn't constantly feel like I was watching one of the old movies. Instead, it felt more like I was seeing an old friend in a new way. The action was fun, with over-the-top battle sequences that firmly establish that this is indeed a Summer movie.

And there was enough story in between the scenes of action, that it felt that the story came before the action, rather than the action serving as the focal point. All in all a fun movie, which needs about a 75% reduction in lens flare.

Recommendation: It's a fun flick, that should appeal to the sci-fi geek in all of us, with many non-too-subtle nods at fans both old and new. If you're looking for something to hold you over until Elysium hits later this summer, than this will help to slake that sci-fi thirst.

Is it theater-worthy?: I want to say yes, because the action is big, and deserves to be seen super-sized. There is just something spectacular about seeing these larger-than life sci-fi movies up there on the big screen.

Final Thoughts: Is the film a little cheesy? Yeah. Is it a little predictable? Yeah. Bottom line though, it is fun. There are stumbles along the path, but ultimately, it is an appealing little journey, and when it is all said and done, fun is enough.

Final Score: 7.75 out of 10