2013-05-18

Star Trek Into Darkness – Finding Freedom from Fearing the Darkness

by Yo Snyder

Making Star Trek
cool again was no easy feat four years ago when J.J. Abrams took on that
challenge with his attempt at a reboot. Much to everyone’s surprise and
delight, he was able to pull it off. However, that just left him with a bigger
challenge; how to follow that up. And if that wasn’t hard enough, he apparently
decided to up the stakes rather significantly with some of the material he
tried to tackle in this sequel. And you know what? Once he again, he surprises
and delights by pulling it off again. Star
Trek Into Darkness
is a worthy sequel and, arguably, an even better movie.
Granted, it might be a little light for those who enjoy the more cerebral
qualities of the Star Trek brand, but then again, this is a different kind of
Star Trek. Yes, it’s a bit heavier on the action, but it has plenty of heart
and it’s a whole lot of fun.

I won’t really go into any plot details to avoid spoiling
any of the fun, but I will say that this Star Trek does a good job of putting a
different spin on some familiar material. It also has lots of little nods and
Easter eggs for true Trekkers to spot and enjoy. I do need to say that
sometimes the rest of the crew gets a bit of the short end of the stick this
time around. We don’t get much more than mere moments with the likes of Scotty,
Checkov, Uhura, Sulu or even Dr. McCoy. This time around, the story is very
much about Kirk and Spock. Their development gets most of the focus, and while
it’s great, it still would have been nice to have a bit more development with
some of the rest of the crew. Oh, and there is one other familiar face that
gets a short cameo that, at least in my opinion, really wasn’t necessary.

As this is Kirk and Spock’s story, much of the film rests on
the shoulders of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, and both are more than equal to
the task. Pine has some truly outstanding moments in this film, and both he and
Qunito continue to an amazing job of both paying homage to the roles their
playing and yet making them entirely their own as well (there’s one moment
where Pine channels Shatner’s Kirk so well it almost scary, but it is but a
brief moment). Adding to the excellence these two bring is Benedict Cumberbatch
and the enigmatic villain of this story. He’s truly a force to be reckoned
with. His character his equal parts brutal and brilliant, and at times you
almost pity Kirk and his crew as it seems they really have no match against
such a force of nature. Again, don’t want to say too much about Cumberbatch
lest I spoil any of the fun, but he had perhaps one of the biggest challenges
of all, but it was one that he was more than able to match.

This film flies by at breakneck speed and has some truly
amazing, awesome set pieces. Again, I know some die-hard fans lament that this
new Trek seems to focus more on adrenaline than thought, but that’s not
entirely true. In fact, there’s one moment that’s powerful not because of the
spectacle of it, but because of the heart it has. Facing death, one character
tells his friend that he’s afraid. They know they’re about to die, and they ask
for help not to be afraid, not to be afraid of the darkness that is death. It’s
a poignant moment because I think that’s something we could all admit to
needing; help in not being afraid of death. Death is inevitable, and we can try
and ignore it or cheat it, but eventually it will find us, and in that moment,
is there really any way not to be afraid? The Bible tells us yes, there is a
way for us to not be afraid of death. The bible tells that one of the reasons
that Jesus came to die and rise again from the grave was to help set us free
from our slavery to the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-16). Jesus conquered for us
what we could not conquer ourselves, and what we cannot do on our own he offers
to do for us through his power and his great love for us. How do we not fear
death? We trust in the promise of life offered to us only through Jesus Christ.
Death need not be something we hide from or cower in fear of. No one’s saying
it’s pleasant mind you, but also doesn’t have to cause us to live in the
darkness of fear. The light of Jesus’ salvation and sacrifice has banished that
darkness once and for all; all we need to do is choose to step into the light.

Star Trek Into
Darkness
takes this new Trek franchise to the next level. It’s an
action-packed adventure with some that takes a moment every now and then to
interject the proceedings with some much needed heart. No, this isn’t the Stark
Trek of yore. It’s not as thoughtful, it more about the spectacle of big action
scenes and the corniness of some great one-liners, but it still retains the
heart of what has made the Trek franchise so long-lasting; great characters.
It’s the special moments with the characters that still make Star Trek special.
There are plenty of fun little moments and nods to the long history of Star
Trek, but these movies are really for a different generation of Star Trek fans.
In truth, I’m just fine with that. I didn’t expect the first Star Trek to turn
out as great as it did, and in truth, I didn’t really think the sequel to live
up to my lofty expectations. Well, color me pleasantly surprised in both cases,
and know this; it may still be early in the summer movie season, and I know
Iron Man 3 was pretty amazing, but Star
Trek Into Darkness
may just turn out to be one of the most enjoyable films
of summer 2013.

Score: 6 of 7 – Star Trek Into Darkness is rated PG-13,
and it has some fairly brutal and intense moments of violence, and a couple
very brief moments of sensuality. Just stuff to keep in mind. As the title
suggests, it’s a bit darker than the first one (which seems to be a trend with
most sequels these days, doesn’t it?)