Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) PG-13 132 mins


UK Release Date: 5/9/2013
US Release Date: 5/15/2013
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana

J.J Abrams came out of nowhere for me. It seems like he hit the ground running with the Alias TV series, yet if you look back at his credits, he’s been around longer than we think. Three films come to mind that you might not know he had a hand in. Back in 1990, he penned the screenplay for the James Belushi comedy “Filofax”. If you have trouble finding that one on Netflix, look under the American title of “Taking Care Of Business”. Then there’s the Mel Gibson Sci-fi Romance “Forever Young” from 1992 (in 1992, Mel was a credible romantic lead – oh how the mighty fallen). Last, and some would say least, there’s Michael Bay’s Armageddon. I’ll admit it. I like Armageddon. (Request a LimeRant if you dare!) Yes, J. J has always been there, quietly plugging away with some modest successes.

The J.J Abrams we know as the creator of “Lost” (or as I like to call it, “The Island Everyone Wanted To Escape From But Missed It When They Did”), seems to be a completely different man in style and confidence. His films are always the best kept secrets in Hollywood, and very rarely do they disappoint. That’s why this review is difficult for me to write because there’s so much I could tell about Star Trek Into Darkness. Here’s the thing: I don’t want to tell you anything about Star Trek Into Darkness. So we have a bit of a quandary on my hands, don’t we? Hmmm. What do we do?

Writers, whether they be journalists, reviewers, screenwriters, or novelists, are protective and narcissistic creatures when it comes to their words. You’d better be careful if you use the words of someone else in your writing. In this case I need to break that rule. A friend of mine sent me a text last night before I’d seen the movie:


Well, French Fry, I hope I’m not letting you down. Your comments gave me the perfect jumping off point. Star Trek Into Darkness is indeed epic. The film opens with a great action sequence that is both visually stunning, and perfectly paced. With Spock playing by the rules and Kirk breaking them, things go awry and of course, its a smack on the wrist with demotion for James T, and Spock is sent to a different ship. Back in London, (yes you did just read that, a futuristic London that would surpass even Boris Johnson’s wildest dreams) a child is dying of a terminal illness. A mysterious stranger approaches the child’s father and assures he can save her. Of course, for a price. The price, in the form of an act of terrorism on a Star Fleet Archive is paid, and its up to Star Fleet to track the man responsible.

Here is where I draw the line. One plot point would lead to another and before you know it, everything that makes Star Trek, Into Darkness a fun ride would be lost. The internet is the place for spoilers, but you wont find them in a LimeFlix review. The LimeRant page is the place to look for movies that have reached a point where people have most likely seen them. I want you to experience the Star Trek sequel with the same level of surprise as I did. So what can we talk about to help you make the decision to see the movie. Here goes:

The cast of Star Trek Into Darkness shows such respect for Rodenberry’s universe. Everyone reprises their roles with the same level of enthusiasm and yet they are not caricatures of the original shows performers. Chris Pine’s Kirk is his own, and Qunto’s Spock is never an afterthought of the legendary Lenard Nimoy. The same goes for the supporting cast, who seem to have bottled the essence of those before, without drowning in it. That’s not easy and yet it looks effortless. Benedict Cumberbach is indeed phenomenal. (and indeed English). His bad guy is complex, his motivations solid. You just buy it. Anyone that’s watched a movie in the last 40 years know that if us Brits are good for anything, its being a villain. Terence Stamp as General Zod in “Superman”, Daniel Day Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” and of course Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lector in “The Silence Of The Lambs”. We’re bastards, us Limey’s. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask my wife!

All aspects of the movies design shine too. Michael Giacchino’s score is rich and energetic, containing a lot of homages to Alexander Courage’s original Star Trek series theme. Interestingly, the screenplay borrows a lot from the 1982 Star Trek sequel – I’m trying so hard not to spoil I dare not speak its full title. Even so, this is not a replica, but an weave of interesting ideas. One question I had going in was can J.J pull off both a Star Trek movie and a Star Wars movie? Given the timeline, it doesn’t look like there will be anything between this movie and our return to A Galaxy Far, Far Away… My opinion after seeing this is yes. Absolutely. His direction is tight but always on the right side of seriousness. The effects are handled smoothly, and his use of the frame in the IMAX sequences is great. This is a film that demands to be seen in IMAX 3D. The image literally jumps off the screen. Star Trek fan or not, this is a movie that all with a taste for action and good ole corn poppin’ fun will enjoy. Gene would be proud.

Is this lime worth your time? 9/10 (or 4/5)

Here’s a small post script LimeRant.

Whatever you think of this review, or indeed the film itself, there’s something you should know about J.J. Abrams. Back in December, I read a story on line that moved me. Paramount released a 9 minute IMAX preview to be screened before the first installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy. Dan Croft, a Star Trek fan who was diagnosed with terminal cancer was on a mission to catch that trailer as it would be his only chance to see any of the movie before he passed away. Compilations with Dan’s illness meant he couldn’t go as planned, and when he came out of hospital the trailer had been removed from theaters. After the story was posted on Reddit, it found its way to J.J. who granted Dan a private screening of a rough cut of the film back in January 2013. Dan died a few days after seeing the film. That was an amazing thing you did, Mr Abrams. I salute you!

3 Responses to “Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) PG-13 132 mins”

  • Jeff says:

    Wow, a 9/10! Well, looks like I’ll be making some plans on seeing this one now.

  • Luke says:

    Great review, and although I don’t think anyone with a brain will have trouble figuring out who the villain really is, thanks for hiding the spoilers. I have to say JJ’s two Star Trek outings have become my favourite Star Trek movies of all of them. They have the universe down, they have the tech down (although those barcode scanners on the bridge of the Enterprise piss me off) and the new cast is fantastic, dry humour is there, just as it was with Shatner et al but now they have serious action, pace and dare I say it gravitas too. I can’t wait for a third installment.

  • The Limey says:

    If anyone knows Star Trek, it’s Luke! I agree, the humour is so dry I’m curious as to whether the co-screenwriters are of British descent. And by the way, I couldn’t figure out who the villian was – that explains a lot!

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