Movie Review: Star Trek: Into Darkness

What can I say? Star Trek: Into Darkness is a great movie. Sure, I’m totally biased. I love the Star Trek franchise. One of my earliest memories is watching a Next Generation episode when I was four years old. I think I can safely say that I’ve seen every episode of every series in the canon. I’ve read countless lame Star Trek novels. If a madman pun a gun to my wife’s head and said, “Never watch Star Trek ever again, or your wife gets it,” well, sorry babe, but you having to exist with me unable to watch Star Trek, that’s not a life that you’re going to want to live. I’d be doing you a favor.

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Having said all of that, I think that I’m even more qualified to judge this film, because my standards for Star Trek are so high. I used to watch brand new Star Trek, or some incarnation of it, every single week from when I was a little kid, with The Next Generation continuing into Deep Space Nine, to Voyager, and then finally to Enterprise. If the powers-that-be are going to make me wait three years for one two-and-a-half hour dose of Trek, it had better be fantastic.

And it is. It’s great. I don’t want to say anything about anything. Do what I did. Don’t read anything about the plot, nothing. If you see a commercial on TV, turn it off. If you’re out and the trailer starts playing on some screen in the background, close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and start screaming, “I’m not listening! I’m not listening! Lalalalalalaaaa!” Just go see the movie and let the story carry you past light speed, all the way to warp nine point three.

I’m not even exaggerating. Sitting there in the theater watching everything play out, I felt like my circulatory system had been replaced with a series of warp coils, that instead of a heart everything was running on a dilithium-based matter-antimatter reaction. You know that feeling when you see something really cool or moving and you get goose bumps across your entire body? That’s what the whole film was for me. The previews ended, Into Darkness started rolling, and it was just all goose bumps, unrelenting, beginning to end. My skin actually kind of hurts still.

But it was worth it. In fact, I’d sacrifice far more than some mild dermal discomfort to enjoy such a work of brilliance. That’s cheesy, but what else can I call it? It was brilliant. The sound effects alone, how does something at once sound so modern while maintaining its distinctly retro theme? It’s the same with the scenery, the lighting, the tech. It’s how I imagine the future to look like, not like something cooked up from scratch, but a century or two of constant addition to our existing society.

And this movie isn’t just cool, it’s really cool, it’s poignant, it’s relevant. It tackles big issues, without an ounce of subtlety, of course, but that’s what Star Trek has always been about. It’s taking large societal problems and saying something about them with aliens and sci-fi. Like who can forget that original series episode where the two guys are half-black, half-white? It’s the 1960s, so here’s an alien racism themed story.

There’s nothing I can say negative about Into Darkness. My only observation would be that Zachary Quinto, in an effort to channel Mr. Spock, missed the mark slightly and wound up embodying Tuvok, the Vulcan chief of security on Voyager. Anybody with me on that one?

Also, again, go see the movie, but be prepared to sit in a theater full of guys and girls that, based on appearance alone, clearly love Star Trek. (Obviously I’m not talking about me. I was the exception. When I tell people I love Star Trek they’re like, no way Rob, how is that possible? You’re so cool!”)

Finally, and this has nothing to do with the movie, but I got really thirsty right before the previews started rolling, so I snuck out to the concession area to buy a drink. The line was long and the employees don’t get paid enough to do their job fast, so I had to watch the same disinterested routine over and over again.

“Medium soda please.”

“Would you like to buy a large soda for fifty cents extra?”

“No.”

“Six fifty.”

Hands over seven bucks.

“Would you like to donate one dollar to cancer?”

“No.”

Makes change.

“Would you like to donate these two quarters to cancer?”

“No.”

Every single customer, every single time. I have nothing against donating money, whatever. But seriously, why don’t you give a dollar to cancer, Regal Theaters? The movie was like fifteen bucks. You just charged me another seven for a bucket of sugar water. And you want my spare change? You want even more money? Stop harassing me! Call of your dogs! This is extortion!

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