Oooooooooooooooo Mama!!!! I love JJ Abrams!! He has revised and revitalized the Star Trek franchise. His first film, Star Trek, was terrific. The one opening today, Star Trek In Darkness is even better.
I'm a longtime Trekker, one of the original group who fell in love with the series. And no, I'm not a "Trekkie". That word is not well accepted by those of us who consider ourselves serious fans of science fiction. "Trekkie" is related to groupie. Of course, I did attend a few Star Trek conventions, back in the day - had a uniform - was a card-carrying member of Starfleet, the officially sanctioned fan organization. I attained the rank of Lt. Commander in the organization, after completing Star Fleet Academy (an extensive written course) and was an Alien Culture Specialist. Uh huh, no groupie there...I can confirm that I never ran screaming after the actors (typical groupie behavior) - I was way too cool for that...(just keep telling yourself that, Sharon.)
But, as usual, I digress. In Darkness is a great example of a good story that has a hook to grab the audience's attention from the very beginning. It starts with an action scene - a big, ultimately explosive action scene, and rarely lets up during the course of the picture. Buy a BIG popcorn, if you're so inclined.
To say it's fast paced is an understatement. It races along, carrying the audience with it. There is more repartee between the characters, along with inside jokes which those original Trekkers out there tend to love. I laughed myself silly at times. But I also cried a little bit.
There are more scenes shot in San Francisco and some in London, both towns almost unrecognizable with fantastic architecture and transportation. Some of the action takes place on Kronos - the Klingon home world. We get our first look at the Klingons in this Star Trek universe - fascinating creatures. I can remember hearing George Takei (the original Sulu) talk about Klingon evolution in the series where they started out as "a bunch of dirty guys." That's true. In the original series, they were actors with black hair, beards, and comically dark make-up with darker smudges added. They evolved into a formidable warrior people, as personified by Worf in ST:TNG. Abrams' Klingons are even more interesting. I hope we see them in the future of the franchise.
Also, we meet a couple of famous characters from the original series and the early films. One of them is Carol Marcus, with whom Kirk, in THAT universe, had a son, David. This universe shows them meeting for the first time. The attraction is there. Of course, Kirk is also shown waking up with a couple of cat women - who have operational tails....enough about that. In any universe, James T. Kirk has a rep as a womanizer.
We also meet a younger version of one of the most memorable, most evil villains in all of Star Trek. And that's all I'll say about that. It was a bit of a shock to see him and realize who he was. But this is a different universe in which different stories are written. And as in the original version, there are dire consequences to the meeting this time.
The film ends on a high note, paying homage to the original series. Then the picture dissolves to the credits with the original Star Trek theme playing as you skip out of the theater.
There are some incredible action sequences, depicting huge battles, treachery, and destruction.
This is a great movie and should go over very well with the summer audiences.
My only criticism is about the dress uniforms for Starfleet. I never liked the gray and white uniforms in Star Trek - The Motion Picture. I thought they were the ugliest uniforms in the history of the franchise. And I'm not alone in that. They have added solid gray dress uniforms for the officers, complete with a stylized hat that looks like something my dad wore in the Army Air Corps in WWII.
Why's it gotta be gray? I hate that color. Yes, it's considered very chic these days. But to me gray is just gray. I spend a fortune every month to get rid of that color in my hair!!
Oh well, the work uniforms are a much better version of the original uniforms from the tv series. Look for the famous mini dresses to return in this one.
Seriously, this is a movie for anybody who likes action and science fiction. You don't have to be a Trekker to love it...but it helps to be in on all the jokes.
My favorite line - Dr. McCoy says something like "listen, I once delivered the babies for a female Gorn. Octuplets, and those little buggers bite like the very devil..." that's paraphrasing but you get the gist. That's for my friend Kellie who has clamored to hear my Gorn imitation.
This is an entertaining film. Go see it. You'll like it! I'm already planning to pre-order the DVD.
Thank you, JJ, very much!!!
Live long and prosper...