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- Rated: PG-13
- Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Peter Weller, Benedict Cumberbatch
- Written By: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof
- Directed By: J.J. Abrams
- Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2013
- Extras: See Below
Star Trek: Into Darkness Blu-Ray Review
Explosive sequel raises the bar for the Star Trek Franchise
By Tim Janson
September 15, 2013
Director J.J. Abrams continues to blaze a new path for the Star Trek Franchise with Star Trek: Into Darkness, the sequel to his 2009 reboot. Into Darkness is a beginning-to-end fuel-injected thrill ride that manages to balance its action with diverse and engaging characters.
Captain James t. Kirk (Pine) has been relieved of his command of the Enterprise after violating the Starfleet prime directive for interfering with the development of an alien culture. The fact that he did so in order to sake Spock (Quinto) gains him little sympathy from Admiral Pike (Greenwood). Kirk will once again be on the Enterprise but this time as first officer to Pike. A terrorist bombing at a Starfleet archive leads to a meeting of all top officers. But as they try to decide their next move the meeting is fired on by an attack craft, killing several officers.
The attacker turns out to be a rogue Starfleet agent named John Harrison (Cumberbatch) who has fled to an abandoned area on Kronos, the Klingon homeworld. Kirk is reinstated as Captain of the Enterprise by Admiral Marcus (Weller) and charged with finding Harrison and killing him for his crimes against Starfleet. However “Harrison” is soon revealed to be an alias for one of the most famous Star Trek Villains, Khan!
The cast from 2009’s Star Trek returns including Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy; Simon Pegg as Engineer Mongomery “Scotty” Scott; Zoe Saldana as Lt. Uhura; John Cho as Helmsman Mr. Sulu; and Anton Yelchin as Ensign Chekov. While each of the characters bases their portrayals on the original characters from the TV series, they each bring their own nuances to their roles that makes them well-crafted homages as opposed to mere imitation.
Simon Pegg brings his electric style of humor and wit to his performance as Scott; Urban captures the essence of McCoy’s deadpan, sarcastic mannerisms; and Saldana gives us a sexier yet more hard-edged version of Uhura. While the supporting cast sparkles it is the four male leads (Pine, Quinto, Cumbberbatch, and Weller) that make the film go. Weller has seen his career resurrected in recent years playing primarily unsavory characters such as Stan Liddy in Showtime’s Dexter. Pine and Quinto have quickly developed a chemistry that rivals that of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Cumberbatch may top them all in his role as the villainous Khan, the genetically-engineered superhuman first played by Ricardo Montalban in the 1967 Star Trek episode “Space Seed”. He plays Khan with equal parts pathos and hubris.
A departure from the TV series and most of the films is that Into Darkness isn’t a universe-spanning adventure but rather most of the action takes place on Earth or within our own solar system. We get a view of 23rd century Earth and the inner workings of Starfleet. But look we all known that Abrams is known for action and he doesn’t disappoint with several incredible action sequences including a firefight with a squad of Klingons, Kirk and Khan space-jumping through a field of space debris, and, most surprising, a climactic battle between Khan and not Kirk as you might expect but rather Spock, as they battle atop a shuttle vehicle back on Earth. Star Trek: Into Darkness has a wow factor that will attract both die-hard Trekkies and casual fans. While there may have been doubts in the beginning, there is little doubt now that the Star Trek franchise is in the strongest hands it’s been in since Gene Roddenberry.
The only disappointment about this release is the relatively light accompaniment of bonus materials which seems to be a growing trend from studios and especially disappointing for high-profile releases.
Creating the Red Planet (8:28) – Takes a look at the opening segment featuring Kirk, Spock, and Bones on the strange alien-inhabited red planet.
Attack on Starfleet (5:25) – A featurette about the attack on Starfleet and the various visual effects.
The Klingon Home World (7:30) – This short looks at the development of the Klingon home world segment and the updating of the look of the Klingons.
The Enemy of My Enemy (7:03) – A look at the villain Khan and Cumberbatch’s amazing portraying featuring interviews with both Abrams and Cumbarbatch.
Ship to Ship (6:03) – A look at one of the key action sequences as Kirk and Khan make the space jump from the Enterprise to the Vengeance.
Brawl by the Bay (5:44) – Zachary Quinto talks about this sequence and his showdown fight with Khan.
Continuing the Mission (1:57) - This brief featurette highlights Abrams' real-life work with modern war veterans.