“Star Trek Into Darkness,” directed by J.J. Abrams has been engineered rather than directed,
calibrated to deliver sensation on cue and stocked with just enough new character twists to keep fans rapt.
At its core an intergalactic manhunt tale about a traitor to the cause, the production gives the impression of a massive machine cranked up for two hours of full output; it efficiently delivers what it’s built to do, but without style or personality. The widely admired 2009 series relaunch pulled in $385 million worldwide box office and this one should follow very closely.
Continuity is assured by the full team reboarding the U.S.S. Enterprise for this flight, from the attractive and capable cast headed by Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana to writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Right off the bat, feelings that surface between the adamantly unemotional Spock (Quinto) and the overly admiring Uhura (Saldana) add something to an otherwise rampantly hectic opening action sequence set on a volcanic planet.
The returning actors all fit their roles with absolute comfort, while new addition Benedict Cumberbatch who plays the new villain Harrison asserts fully self-justified treachery.
But after impressing well enough in his previous big-screen directorial outings, Abrams works in a narrower, less imaginative mode here; there’s little sense of style, no grace notes or flights of imagination. One feels the dedication of a young musician at a recital determined not to make any mistakes, but there’s no hint of creative interpretation, personal feelings or the spreading of artistic wings. Those anticipating Abrams’ take on “Star Wars” as he embarks upon that franchise will no doubt have plenty of opinions about its future based on this professionally capable but creatively humdrum outing.
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