J.J. Abrams first foray into the world of Star Trek was a huge success. Even though Abrams freely admits he could never get into the original series, he totally nailed it with his take on STAR TREK. So, that begs the question, could he pull it off again? The answer is again an unqualified YES! Without the burden of origin stories we jump right into the action already knowing who everyone is, and what their roles are. But this isn’t just a simple adventure. The title is accurate, with this version Abrams and writers Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof truly take STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Chris Pine’s Kirk wrestles with his own ambition and “cowboy” attitude of fire phasers and ask questions later. But he also evolves, as he’s ordered to take action against a terrorist that one would think would be a no brainer, but has him thinking twice thanks to his First Officer and conscience Mr. Spock. Let me take a moment to applaud Zachary Quinto, who plays the half Vulcan/half Human just the way Leonard Nimoy created it, but makes it his own at the same time. I can’t get too deep into the plot because there are huge spoilers with any in depth description of Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain. Suffice it to say there are moments where you question whether he is truly villainous (only to be reassured, yeah.. he’s the bad guy). Cumberbatch is outstanding as the terrorist who carries out 9/11 style plots. His presence, his voice both inspire menace. The rest of the crew is just perfect. Simon Pegg (Scotty), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), John Cho (Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Checkov) and especially Karl Urban’s urbane “Bones” McCoy are all wonderful. There are points in the third act where it gets a little precious and slightly eye-rolly with its nods to previous Star Treks, but they are by no means deal killers. It just proves that the creators of this universe get it and get the mythology and history. I saw it in IMAX 3D. It costs more, but it is well worth it. The visuals are stunning and combined with Michael Giacchino’s outstanding score (it is one of my favorites of all time) at times chills were definitely traveling down my spine. Abrams certainly knows how to use all the tricks in his enormous bag to their best effect. That brings me to two concerns. One, will Abrams be able to pull off Star Wars? I’m guessing yes, without a doubt. Two, will he find time to make the next movie in the Star Trek pantheon? Here’s hoping he does, or schools his replacement on what is right and what is wrong. Once again it is a pleasure to go where others have gone before, because in this case the destination is worth the adventure getting there. — Alan Yudman
I think I enjoyed this one more than the first. Star Trek felt like it was trying to reboot the franchise without angering the fans (alternate timelines anyone?) and came across as wishy washy. This sequel feels more confident in the characters, the situations, and the storytelling in general. Trek flies high when it goes into darkness, which is quite often. The big bad is really good ( no spoilers here) and the action is intense. Unlike the last one, Star shines with a straightforward story and boldly goes in a direction where others have gone before and has fun getting there.