Star Trek Into Darkness (AP) — Like fan-boy fiction on a $185 million budget, director J.J. Abrams’ film is reverential, faithful and steeped in Trek mythology. It’s also an excessively derivative what-if rehash of themes and interactions that came before, most of the characters lesser copies and even caricatures of the originals.
The scenario’s been hijacked and rejiggered from better Trek plots of decades ago, the best verbal exchanges lifted nearly verbatim from past adventures.
In short, the new chiefs of Starfleet aren’t coming up with much to call their own. But they pile on the spectacle in a way that’s never been seen before in Star Trek; the action in Into Darkness is top-notch, the visuals grand, though the movie’s needless conversion to 3-D muddies the images.
Abrams was most definitely not a fan-boy for this franchise when he made 2009’s StarTrek, which reintroduced Kirk, Spock and the rest of the starship Enterprise gang with a time-travel twist that allowed the William Shatner-Leonard Nimoy original to coexist with an entirely different destiny for the new players. Abrams grew up a fan of Star Wars, the next space saga he’ll be reviving with the launch of a third trilogy.
But his key collaborators, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, are Trekkers to their marrow. They know this world, they love this world, and like many fans, they have a particular fixation on 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the best that the franchise has ever had to offer, on the big-screen or TV. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho and Zoe Saldana are among the returning ensemble cast.