Star Trek: Into Darkness Blu-Ray Review -

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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
  • Series:

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.  

Blu-Ray Extras

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.
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JacenBlade 9/15/2013 7:11:06 AM

     Let me get this comment in before it is drowned out by the deluge of posts by obstinate, foot stomping, pouting "Trekkies".  I approached the reboot of Star Trek back in 2009 with trepidation, especially over the casting of the characters with younger actors.  Star Trek turned out to be my favorite movie of that year, and I didn't have another "Wow, this is awesome" movie experience again until I saw The Avengers.  What Abrams and his writers did was assemble a worthy team of actors with great on screen chemistry and developed a story that allowed the new films to reference, reflect or be a homage to previous Star Trek creations without being beholden to the strict canon of what came before.

     I wasn't sure if it all could be recaptured in a sequel but it was.  Star Trek In To Darkness has all the elements that make movie going fun.  Characters you care about played by charismatic actors with fun, smart dialogue, great action sequences, awesome musical score and visually the movie looks freaking amazing (I don't mind the lens flare, but concede it may annoy some).  The special effects and general look of the movie are beautiful.  Every shot looks "real" with the seamless combination of actual and computer generated images. 

     The elements of Star Trek I have always enjoyed the most was the relationships and interactions of the main characters, especially Kirk, Spock and McCoy.  This movie does a great job of showing the development and strengthening of their friendships.  The whole 'flip the script" moment involving self sacrifice and radiation exposure was brilliant and I thought a respectful nod to The Wrath of Khan.  Maybe you can change the future, but maybe destiny will reassert itself.  Like Kirk said, he did what Spock would have done. 

     An unrepresentative small group of "hard core" fans at a convention voting this the "Worst Star Trek movie of all time" is a joke.  A small group of petulant whiners who had their own vision of what the movie should have been, didn't see it realized and lashed out in disappointment. The box office and critical reviews speak for themselves.  Get a life.  For crying out loud, it was just a movie.  Have any of you ever kissed a girl?     ................................  Should anyone get upset, I just want to clarify, this post was a recreation of the evil Jacen Blade from episode 27, "The Enemy Within"


Walker 9/15/2013 7:50:16 AM

 Let first say that I really liked the 2009 reboot. But I did not like this movie.

The problem I had with this movie is simple: if you had never seen Wrath of Kahn, would you understand why Kahn is a threat? Taken in this movie by itself, many of his actions appear somewhat justified (while there is collateral damage, he hits primarily military targets). The Enterprise crew turn on him first, based on the word of TOS Spock. None of their actions make sense without Wrath of Kahn.

Honest Trailer's take down of this movie was pretty spot on.

doublec 9/15/2013 10:08:10 AM

 Walker, I'm sorry, but not only does your criticism make virtually no sense but you don't even know how to spell the 4-letter name of the character you're talking about. (and I'll be nice and not point out there's at least 4 spelling and capitalization errors in the second paragraph alone of the actual article.)
Jacen, well-said and spot on. it's virtually impossible to go on the interwebz and get an accurate reading on this film because of the screaming intolerance of a small but vocal group of fans who just don't have the mentality or especially the imagination to handle anything that deviates from an arbitralily created "canon".If it's in any way shape or form different, it's not just wrong but heresy to be burnt out. This group of people are sadly becoming the public voice of sci fi fandom,  constanly angry and obsessed wtih utter trivialities.

twomcs 9/15/2013 11:14:19 AM

 I actually liked this better than the last one, and that's saying a lot!

redhairs99 9/15/2013 11:21:27 AM

Walker, you seemed to have justified your only criticism in your own post.  Spock consulted Old Spock about Khan and Old Spock said he was the most dangerous villian he'd ever faced and they did defeat hom but at great personal sacrifices.  With that little bit of info, you don't necessarily need to have seen Wrath of Khan.

Also in this movie alone, he's made some random officer blow up a secret Starfleet base, shot up Starfleet's highest ranking officials killing several, taken on a hoard of Klingons practically single-handedly, squeezed a man's face like a mushy plum on top of showing off his great intelligence by orchestring everything.



karas1 9/15/2013 4:09:05 PM

Gee, anybody who doesn't like this movie is an out of touch whiner who lives in his mother's basement.  Isn't it possible that people are entitled to dislike a movie that you liked?

I didn't much care for this movie.  I don't like the changes that were made to cannon and I particurlarly hated the relationship between Spock and Uhura.  That being said, it was a much superior film to the first movie which had more plot holes than a slice of swiss cheese.  This movie had fewer stupidities and plot holes.

monkeyfoot 9/15/2013 8:33:16 PM

Despite not touching on Roddenberry's vision for it, I did enjoy the first movie. This one did link with the allegorical  storytelling part of of the series and I enjoyed it even more.  Ialso enjoyed the twists added to the classic character they used.

Unfortunately, through the web on sites the very very loud but small minority of genre fans always cause an upset with every thing from Star Trek to Star Wars and Superman and Batman casting to Iron Man 3. If they just say its their personal opinion on a topic its all good. But when they say theirs is THE opinion of screaming outrage then just ignore them. Its the only way to quiet a child going through a temper tantrum becuase they didn't get their way.

SarcasticCaveman 9/16/2013 1:40:53 AM

 I'm a Trekkie and I loved the 2009 movie, but was sorely let down with "Into Darkness".  Things I honestly did like about it - I still like the faster-paced action, special effects are great as always, and the cast are in a spectrum of adequate - perfect in their casting, depending on character.  I loved that they briefly mentioned Harry Mudd.  I loved the look of the Klingon ships and how they moved in atmosphere.  I loved the scene with "Harrison" and the gatling phaser/disruptor - reminded me of the fights from "Equlibrium" with Christian Bale.  I liked it that Scotty was the one to take a moral stance, thus elevating him (at least in my eyes) from an under-used and almost Jar Jar Binks character.

Plenty of things to like...but in a brand new timeline where they could literally go anywhere that no crew or writer or director had gone before, they used KHAN.  They didn't even use him all that well.  The 2009 movie was at least and original story, but this...this was a poorly executed mash up of "Space Seed" and "Wrath of Khan".  The big "reveal" is what pissed me off the the guy sounds British except for the part when he strives to sound like Ricardo Montalban, but really just ends up making it a parody?  Bad form.

But hey, I stil like it better than "Star Trek V", and at least I won't go to see the next movie and end up sitting through "The Search for Kirk."

SarcasticCaveman 9/16/2013 1:46:59 AM

 JacenBlade - LOVE that SNL skit....LOL.  Jon Lovitz looked so ashamed.  I think I might have seen that same convention thing you mentioned also, where "Into Darkness" was voted worst?...I also disagree as I mentioned above, but I'm not sure what is more ridiculous - fans voting "Into Darkness" the worst Trek ever, or how many fans on Facebook got OUTRAGED that "Galaxy Quest" was included on the list...LOL.  Me and a good friend always joke that "Galaxy Quest" is one of our favorite Trek movies.

lazarus 9/16/2013 8:02:23 AM

I honestly loved ST:ID. Now that the main homage to the TAS timeline is handled it is time to take this in a new direction. Stop rehashing old enemies and plot lines. Stop using old canon to appeal to the loyalists.

This is a new timeline, act like it. Throw out some new enemies to face besides Klingons, Romulans and Genetic augments. Lets try maybe throwing in some more intrigue and drama. I love the conspiracy factor of this movie and think seriously they should begin expanding on that. What if Section 31 was just the beginning? What if there are other secret bases out there and other agendas being pushed through Starfleet?

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