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Laramie Movie Scope:
Star Trek Into Darkness

Nothing succeeds like excess

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 18, 2013 -- This gaudy movie is a tribute to excess. Excess noise, excess explosions, excess emotion, excess action. It has it all. Fortunately, there is some humor in this movie, too, not an excess of humor, but enough to take the edge off all that hysterical emoting and action. On top of that, it is also a character-driven plot, with some really good characters.

In this second movie in the latest Star Trek reboot (it is the 12th Star Trek film overall), the plot has some very close similarities to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.” Several scenes and several lines of dialog are recycled directly from that 1982 film. Old characters dating back nearly 50 years, back to the days of the original Star Trek TV series in 1967, an espisode named “Space Seed.” This particular episode has now inspired two big budget Star Trek movies.

Star Trek fans will notice some very familiar characters, plot points and lines of dialog in this film. Much has been lifted, not only from the 1982 Star Trek film, but from the 1991 film, “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” as well. One plot element, the secret organization known as “Section 31,” dates back to episodes of the TV series Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Enterprise.

The story picks up where the last Star Trek film left off. Kirk's (played by Chris Pine, reprising his role from the last Star Trek film) casual attitude towards the federation's Prime Directive “more of guideline, really,” gets him into trouble with Starfleet. He loses his command, but not for long. His mentor, Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood, also reprising his role from the last film) arranges for him to be his first officer on the Enterprise. The next thing you know, Kirk is captain again, for no good reason, really. He just asks for a command from his superiors and receives it.

A rogue Star Fleet agent, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch of “War Horse”) attacks a couple of Star Fleet installations, killing dozens of people. Kirk and his Enterprise crew are sent to stop him. The Enterprise catches up to Harrison on the home world of the Klingons. Tensions are high between the Klingons and the federation. War seems imminent. This mission is very dicey.

The plot is way more complicated than this, but this is enough to give you an idea about what the movie is all about. There are a lot of action scenes, and about the same number of cliff hangers. Some of the action scenes and cliff hangers are so extreme they are ridiculous. The poor old Enterprise gets blasted to pieces again and again. It gets battered and destroyed often enough to suggest that “Enterprise” is not a lucky name for a starship. There is also lots of emotion. Spock and Uhura have a spat! Spock cries! Spock wouldn't have cried if he had recognized that the scene he was reacting to was a rather obvious movie plot device.

As in the last Star Trek movie, the best thing about this movie is the cast. The entire cast is back from the last film, with one addition, Dr. Carol Marcus (Alice Eve of “Men in Black 3”) who is a stunning beauty. There is a scene where she is shown with most of her clothes off, more proof that there is nothing subtle about this movie. In addition to Harrison, the other main villain of the film is played by that old Robocop himself, Peter Weller.

The regulars, all reprising their roles from the last Star Trek film, are Zoe Saldana (Uhura) Karl Urban (Bones) Simon Pegg (Scotty) John Cho (Sulu) Anton Yelchin (Chekov) Pine and Zachary Quinto (Spock, and the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, also has a cameo in this film). This is a very good cast, which has managed to resurrect and update a very interesting cast of characters which date back to the original Star Trek TV series, over 40 years ago.

This movie is way over the top, but at least it doesn't have the stupid time travel plot of the last Star Trek movie. In fact, I was hoping the filmmakers would use time travel to fix all the damage they did to the Federation in the last film, but they did not. It has a nice touch of humor, a solid cast of characters, and some interesting plot twists. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2013 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)