‘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.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Man dies in East Harlem shooting at Rangel…

A 21-year-old died after a shooting at the Rangel Houses in East Harlem early Monday, police said.

National

'Supermoon' visible around earth for first of three…

A "supermoon" rose above cities from Los Angeles to London on Saturday night, the first of three times this year the full moon will orbit…

Local

6 injured when camera catches fire at 30…

Six people suffered minor burns when a camera caught fire on the observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Local

Trump Plaza in Atlantic City to close, adding…

Trump Plaza booked less than half its rooms in the first quarter of 2014, and had the lowest gaming revenue of any of the city's casinos in May, according to…

Going Out

NYC's Best Bar: Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club?

Having actually played shuffleboard on the beach on Royal Palm Boulevard in South Florida, we expertly approve this hipster hangout.

Going Out

Cocktail of the Week: The Royal Palms Shuffle

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, in Gowanus, Brooklyn, created this drink to feature Brugal Extra Dry.

Going Out

NYC's Best Bar: Hill & Dale?

Every bar should be the best at something: What's Hill & Dale's angle?

Music

Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' was sexual, but not…

  Robin Thicke has a certified dud on his hands with "Paula," the follow-up album to his multiplatinum "Blurred Lines" and its eponymous title track that…

MLB

Yankees All-Star break report card

The first half of the season rarely went as planned for the Yankees, right down to a massively disappointing injury diagnosis to Masahiro Tanaka in…

NBA

Nets lose Paul Pierce to two-year deal with…

Paul Pierce is taking a gamble on joining a franchise on the rise.

NBA

GIF: LeBron James returns to Cleveland so deal…

To anyone out there who is upset about his decision, this .GIF is for you. Enjoy.

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

Food

Taco Bell goes totally off-script with new breakfast…

Taco Bell is betting that you, or someone you love enough to take there, wants healthier options. At least first thing in the morning. For…

Wellbeing

Sex or drugs, it's all the same to…

Pornography triggers brain activity in sex addicts similar to the effect drugs have on the brains of drug addicts, researchers said on Friday — but…

Lifestyle

Pets: Dogs die in hot cars! Be careful…

Leaving animals in a car even with the windows cracked, even in the shade, can cause heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Home

Bring on the flea market

The editors at Wayfair show us what to do with cute flea market finds.