Caliburn24 here in the darkness of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness.
The film, of course, is a sequel to Abrams’ reboot of the Trek verse with the 2009 movie. It opens with the planet Nibiru, identified as a Class M planet which is a Federation designation of a planet that can sustain humanoid life. In Trek lore, M stands for Minshara, used by Vulcans to designate such a planet. Anyway, the opening seems like a reflection of the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark complete with natives throwing spears, still there is another threat of the planet exploding. This brings in the crew of the Enterprise with Kirk (Chris Pine) playing Indy along with Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban). Meanwhile, Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are flying on a shuttle with Spock (Zachary Quinto) to handle the volcano problem. The Enterprise is submerged off the coast, which is more of a Farscape solution than Star Trek.
The plan is to have Spock lowered into the volcano and detonate a cold fusion device. Cold fusion is a nuclear reaction that is said to take place at room temperature. Here, it is more fanciful as a volcano stopper. Regardless, I think if a single volcano is a threat to a planet, there is more to a worry about, tectonically the entire planet would be unstable. I don’t know if the anti-volcano device would stablize the planet’s core. Let’s not worry too much about science since Kirk has to deal with violating the Prime Directive, which is Starfleet’s rule to not to interfere with the development of a planet’s species. So Kirk could stun beam the native Nibirans or even shoot canisters of knockout gas since the volcano is spewing out toxic gases, nope, he sends the Enterprise to the rescue.
The consequences of Kirk’s action has the removal of the Enterprise back to the command of Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) from the earlier movie. Here is another characteristic of the Abrams Trek, a centralization of Earth with Star Trek. The various series only had cameo appearances of Earth and the films too. Earth was mostly a stopover for the Enteprise crew to rocket off into adventures. The grounding of the rebooted Trek does raise the stakes for the audience with the threats that now come to our backyard. In this case, it is a terrorist strike on 23rd century London. Here it is the Harewood family with their ailing child given life by the villainous John Harrison played to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch from the BBC Sherlock show. The Harewood father is interestingly played by Noel Clarke, who is well known for playing Mickey Smith in Doctor Who. Kirk is made First Officer for Pike’s Enterprise and they are summoned to Starfleet headquarters to deal with the threat. Spock has been reassigned to the U.S.S. Bradbury, which may be a nod to science fiction author, Ray Bradbury.
The head of Starfleet is now, Admiral Marcus, played by Peter Weller best known for playing Robocop. Marcus wants to hunt down Harrison who appears in a shuttle to gun down the assembly Godfather style. He manages to escape and this is discovered by Scotty (Simon Pegg) to have transwarped to Kronos, this is the homeworld of the Klingons. Strangely, I’ve always seen the planet spelled in Klingon as Qo’noS in other Trek appearances. The terrorist attack leading to a war has 9/11 overtures and this given a mention in the credits as a dedication to veterans. The Klingons are later shown as adversaries in helmets. They were supposed to have shown up in the 2009 movie as having captured Nero and this was shown in the IDW Star Trek Nero limited series.
A new addition to the crew, is Alice Eve as Carol Marcus. This is a character that was played by Bibi Besch in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and she was the mother of Kirk’s son, David. All of the Star Trek actors get their moments and are caught up in John Harrison’s plot for revenge. The continuation of Abrams’ Trek provides for some dramatic conflict for Chris Pines’ Kirk to properly assume the captain’s chair. The effects are strong, but really only three scenes warrant any 3D viewing, with mostly the contrails of the warp effect being prominent. It makes for a good action film for this summer.