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Old May 2 2013, 11:39 PM   #922
Admiral Buzzkill
Fleet Admiral
 
Re: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS - Grading & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Here's McWeeny at Hitfix, who gives it a B+:

If you consider "Star Trek Into Darkness" to be part 13 of a larger franchise, you may walk away frustrated and tied in knots if the reactions I saw after a screening were any indication. Conversely, if this is part 2 of a new franchise in your mind, chances are you're going to have a great time with the continuation of what JJ Abrams and his collaborators began in 2009's "Star Trek." I find myself somewhere in the middle of those two camps, ultimately coming down on the side of the film as a pretty relentless piece of summer entertainment, anchored by what I consider one of the most exciting movie star performances in recent memory.

I feel badly for the hardcore "Star Trek" fans who don't like this new version, because I know what it's been like for them in the years where there were no new "Trek" movies in the works, and I know what it's been like for them loving something that was always considered somewhat left of center, always in danger of going away forever. While "Trek" has managed to survive for nearly 50 years at this point, there have definitely been lean times where Paramount didn't see much upside in continuing to throw money at something that just couldn't cross over to be a full-fledged mainstream sensation.

They've had their moments, of course. "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" was a minor miracle, a huge rebound from the debacle that was "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." Lean and fun and wildly affectionate, "WOK" became the thing that they chased from that point on. It was interesting seeing how widely loved the series was when "The Voyage Home" was released, just as I was impressed seeing how completely everyone turned on "The Final Frontier" just a few years later. Even the biggest of the "Next Generation" movies still felt like they were nerd events, not mainstream events, and when Paramount first started talking about a reboot, it seemed like a business decision with very little creative upside available.

I would argue that the 2009 film proved that supposition wrong, and in fairly spectacular fashion. What Abrams did, and what he does in everything he makes to some degree, is he reclaimed the basic archetypical dynamic that defines "Star Trek," and he used it in a way that resonated loudly with audiences.

This part is great:
"Star Trek Into Darkness" begins with Kirk chafing at the role that he's expected to play, and Chris Pine once again owns the character of Kirk completely from the opening scene to the finish. It is downright miraculous that he ended up with the role, because what he does with it is not something I can imagine any of the other likely candidates for the part even trying to do. Pine is an original, and he plays this combination of arrogance and anger and comedy in such a way that it's all sort of jumbled up together. He's not doing Shatner at all. He's playing Kirk.
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