Video Blog: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Takes Sci-Fi to the Next Level
by Alex Billington
May 2, 2013
"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise." They're back in action, and J.J. Abrams has taken sci-fi to a whole new level. Early this morning I was one of the first in the United States to attend a screening of Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J.'s highly anticipated sequel to Star Trek from 2009, the reboot of the legendary, seminal sci-fi franchise. For me, this was one of the big moments of the summer, building up excitement and anticipation to finally sitting down and watching over two hours of adventures through space with the crew of the USS Enterprise. Did it live up to my expectations? A big YES.
When going in to a sequel like this, there's always so much of a build up beforehand. From all the trailers, TV spots, footage and marketing, to rumors, early buzz, fanboy hype, and everything inbetween. It's hard to contain all of that and not let it overwhelm you in the final experience. But today, that wasn't an issue. I fell into it and got lost in the sci-fi universe J.J. and his team have re-envisioned. While I liked Trek growing up, he's revitalized this franchise in such an incredibly entertaining, energetic, heartfelt way and pushes that even further this time. It's everything I wanted to see in a Bad Robot Star Trek sequel and so much more.
After the screening, since I'm based in New York, I couldn't meet with any of my colleagues (who are still in Los Angeles) and instead made a solo video blog of my spoiler-free reaction to Star Trek Into Darkness.
There's so much to talk about with Star Trek Into Darkness that I can't really talk about most of it, because it's part of the experience. However, that's why the experience is so key, and why J.J. Abrams makes such entertaining movies. We may know who everyone is and the reveals aren't shocking, but they are exciting to see as they happen. It's all about context, and watching the story of all these characters play out; how they get stuck in these situations, how the environment (on a ship, in space, on another planet) and other people are affecting them, how it causes things to happen, and why. He makes following the story the experience, and here they made it even bigger and better than I've seen before. Bigger ships, bigger fights, bigger stakes.
We were shown the film in 3D and I have to admit, the 3D added to that experience, it looked phenomenal. There are some issues I have with the story in spots and some occasional logic jumps, but they're minor compared to the genuine joy that comes from getting lost watching this two hour space opera extravaganza. I was also, surprisingly, let down by Benedict Cumberbatch, he wasn't as menacing and monumental of a villain as I was hoping, and plays in and out of the story in odd ways. He has some amazing scenes and it's the effect of his actions that count. In particular, I think Zachary Quinto as Spock really stands out, with some of the strongest scenes involving emotion, which may not seem right for a Vulcan, but it all works out.
As much as I'd love to talk about specific scenes and characters, they're best saved for a discussion once everyone else has seen it. But this is unquestionably an entertaining, epic sequel that takes sci-fi to new heights in terms of scope and scale and quality. I wish I could watch it again now. And tomorrow. And the day after. It's one of those movies that I know I'll be making many trips to the theater to see over and over.