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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Star Trek Into Darkness (3-D) | Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
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Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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Star Trek Into Darkness  (3-D) | Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve | Review


The iconic Enterprise crew is back again, fresh from a mission that results in an endangered Spock (Zachary Quinto) rescued by Kirk (Chris Pine) in a manner that violates a key Starfleet Prime Directive while on a primitive, volcanically-challenged planet.  And that’s just the first ten minutes.


Kirk’s maverick maneuvers get him into hot water with his superiors, resulting in his demotion and Spock’s reassignment.  Rear Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) takes the sullen ex-captain under his wing as his First Officer.  Kirk feels betrayed by a stick-to-the-rules Spock, and the two struggle with their personal and professional relationship throughout this second J.J. Abrams – directed Star Trek (reboot-2, franchise-12).


An act of terrorism by former Starfleet operative John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) reshuffles official priorities that culminate in a reinstated Captain Kirk and crew (Spock included) with the addition of yet ANOTHER Science Officer, Dr. Carol Wallace/Marcus (Alice Eve) warp speeding off to Klingon turf Kronos in pursuit of the fleeing superhuman Harrison and all of his deadly secrets and revelations.  Dr. Wallace/Marcus, a weapons expert is the daughter of Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller).  Nepotism? Conflict of interest?  Blonde?  You bet.


Carrying 72 photon torpedoes, The Enterprise, sans an unwilling Scotty who warns that the weapons are simply too unpredictable, sets off to pursue John Harrison (not his real identity, you’ll find) fight Klingons, weather Spock/Uhura love spats, discover shocking ulterior motives of betrayal and treason within Starfleet administration, experiment on a Tribble, and encounter an astounding amount of explosions and space debris.
Reprising their roles are Karl Urban [Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy] Zoe Saldana [Communications Officer Lt. Uhura] Anton Yelchin [Navigator Pavel Chekov] Simon Pegg [Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott] and John Cho [Third Officer Lieutenant Sulu].  Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo as Spock Prime, playing advisor to his younger version.


The charismatic ensemble cast makes for entertaining interaction and dialogue regardless of circumstance.  After all, they inhabit earlier versions of characters that come with built-in histories and idiosyncrasies as envisioned by original series creator Gene Roddenberry.  We already have a built-in affinity for them.


Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto carry the bulk of the drama with a complex character relationship that provokes Spock’s human side into the illogical world of emotion.  Karl Urban’s acerbic wit is always a welcome generator of wisecrack for any situation.  John Cho is pitch perfect as Sulu (don’t get on his bad side).  Simon Pegg’s Scotty fits like a comfortable red shirt – without the fatal implications.


Zoe Saldana’s eyelashes almost co-star with her as the Klingon-fluent Spock squeeze.  Anton Yelchin lays on a wery, wery theeck accent as Chekov, but we forgive the youngest member of the crew because he is, like everyone else, likeable and effective in his role.


Benedict Cumberbatch portrays a formidable villain, oozing real menace and incorporating suave confidence with ruthless cruelty and suitably baleful stares.  Alice Eve appears more humanoid than mortal as Dr. Marcus, puzzling British accent and all.  Peter Weller brings good science fiction “cred” to his Starfleet Admiral’s role.  Someone’s got to be the obstacle, the bureaucrat, the guy who disagrees with everything; Weller fits the bill.


The 3-D effect is a mild novelty here, not worth the fuss of the wraparound glasses.  The film can easily stand on its own without it.


Director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8) proves once again that he can be trusted with the Star Trek legacy and understands the reverence that die-hard fans carry.  His own affection is apparent as he helms a vehicle that stops for both veteran fans and (pardon me) a new generation of aficionados.  There’s room for everyone aboard the Enterprise.


Abrams updates his tale (from a script by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Transformers) and Damon Lindelof (Prometheus) to correspond with current events: terrorism, genetic modification, military supremacy, and war.


Friendship, morality, loyalty and even love can and do exist in the future, alongside phasers and shields.  Weaving them together is Abrams’ skill, and it renders a satisfying fabric of space heroes and heretics.

Such are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, whose five year mission will probably take a lot longer to complete if audiences have their way.