‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ more like ‘Into Dumbness’


Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are not very colorful in "Star Trek Into Darkness" (PHOTO CREDIT: Paramount Pictures)
Chris Pine (Captain Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) are not very colorful in “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
Credit: Paramount Pictures

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch
Rated: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

The summer of 2009’s most unexpected delight, director J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” revived the moribund franchise, exploiting a canny time-travel loophole so a fresh-faced cast could take on familiar roles unburdened by a half-century’s worth of sci-fi mythology. The film’s great pleasure was watching these flinty Starfleet cadets gradually assume their rightful positions on the bridge of the Enterprise, finally blasting off for adventures unknown. It was terrific pop entertainment.

“Star Trek Into Darkness” is as glum and mechanical as its predecessor was buoyant. After spending an entire movie getting the band together, Abrams — along with returning screenwriters Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci — promptly bust them up and drag the action back down to Earth, ditching the space exploration for a joyless, been-there-done-that revenge plot. Demoted to First Officer for violating the Prime Directive, Chris Pine’s blustery James T. Kirk finds himself investigating an act of domestic terrorism by Benedict Cumberbatch’s rogue officer John Harrison — but he might go by another, more familiar name. An assassination sequence heavily indebted to — of all things — “The Godfather III” follows. A close friend is among the dead: This time, it’s personal.

An itchy admiral, played by Peter Weller, turns the Enterprise into a warship, much to the displeasure of peacenik Chief Engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), who resigns from his post in protest. Kirk and crew are dispatched on an illegal mission of vengeance, accompanied by Alice Eve’s mysterious Carol Marcus, whose name might raise an eyebrow for “Wrath of Khan” fans.

In fact, there’s a lot that deliberately stokes memories of “Trek”’s 1982 high-water mark first sequel, including a mid-movie reveal that’s probably the worst-kept secret in the history of franchise marketing.

“Darkness” eventually replays an entire sequence from the beloved “Wrath of Kahn” film, except with a couple of key roles swapped. (Here it’s worth mentioning that with those original “Trek” movies, the even-numbered films delivered while the odd-numbered installments were notoriously lousy. Nifty of Abrams to keep the reversal theme going by inverting that particular axiom.)

Shot on film and then post-converted to digital 3-D, “Star Trek Into Darkness” is the muddiest-looking movie you’ll find in theaters right now. (Perhaps the title refers to the cinematography?) The vibrant colors of the crew uniforms and Abrams’ beloved fluorescent lens flares appear to have been submerged in murk.

The charming supporting cast is sidelined, and Michael Giacchino’s rousing score can only feign excitement for so long. This sorry sequel feels rote and hopelessly derivative, timidly going where we all have already gone before.


'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…


British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…


DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.


Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…


Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…


TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version


MLB video highlights: Red Sox top Yankees, 5-1

John Lackey shines, Pineda ejected in Red Sox win


Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance


Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.


Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.


What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.


Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.


Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."