I was pleasantly surprised with J.J. Abrams remake of the Star Trek franchise a few years ago. The cast came together well and had some great chemistry and I think the story may have not been the best, but it was entertaining enough. Better yet the film looked great from its special effects to its cinematography. Its success guaranteed a sequel and a few short years later there would be one. Will the sequel bring about demand for another one or will it fall flat like so many overhyped sequels of yore?
The crew of the USS Enterprise has found themselves in yet another pickle. After Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) disregards orders to save Spock (Zachary Quinto), he is stripped of his ship and his crew, but not for long. John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), is a former Starfleet officer who has now taken upon himself to destroy Starfleet because he was betrayed. After Harrison kills much of Starfleets top officers, Kirk is back in the Captains chair and he is given a mission to destroy Harrison before he helps start a war with the race of Klingons. Instead, Kirk captures him and soons find out that Harrison is more than he seems and that war with the Klingons may not be the only thing he needs to worry about.
No surprise for most people who know about sequels and how they perform, but this one didn’t hold a candle to the first film, but that is not to say it is bad. The chemistry for the cast is still there and is built upon. The addition of Cumberbatch is what helped the movie where it could have easily been against the film had he not been cast as the bad guy. His role is, however, disappointing in that I was expecting more and got only a hint of how cool his character could have been. The last, and most tiresome aspect of the characters is their constant need to lecture the audience with the usual backwards liberal talking points about having tea with the enemy and asking him to, pretty please with sugar on top, it would be super coo if you didn’t murder people. As for the look and pacing of the film, well the pacing is fine and the look is finally getting tired for an Abrams film. While I initially enjoyed the use of lens flare, he decides to hide some of his character faces fully when they are talking and for more than a second or two. With those ingredients, how does the film’s story come out?
Story wise, it is pretty boilerplate. Bad guy wants revenge, good guys try to get bad guy, bad guy tricks them into getting what he wants, good guys figure that out, good guys fight bad guy and sacrifices are made. It looks like deeper relationships and more character development were at some point wanted in the film, but there really isn’t any. After several recent articles about quotes from the actors, it seems all too clear that there was a more important storyline and focus for the film. Here is a film that seems like its script was written during the time liberals were frothing at the mouths about the wars in the middle east, Guantanamo, the Patriot Act and all the things they seem to have let go of when the current President decided to let them continue. What lacks in imaginative action is made up for in naïve and, quite frankly, dim views on how to interact with evil. While we are getting lectured by Simon Pegg’s character about the morality of whether or not to bring a new weapon on board the Enterprise…there are already stock pilled weapons on the ship anyway. Ones that were used to try to stop the bad guy in the last stinking movie and every movie and or television show with the name Star Trek stamped on it! Not only that, but in this film, they go ahead and use the complained about new weapons to try and take out this new bad guy anyway! I am convinced that since the series finale of Lost, Damon Lindelof is the reason behind every single stupid part in a movie he is involved in. Not only the moronic hypocritical weapons issue I have just mentioned, but some others as well. There are several scenes he can be attributed to I am sure, one involving a work around to how to understand the bad guy that could have been written by a middle schooler. Hopefully his knack for ruining things is near an end.
Thankfully the peachiness does not fully pull people like me out of the movie, though it is annoying and not needed. It is still a decent sci fi movie with good acting; just don’t expect to be blown away like the first one.
2 stars out of 4