‘Star Trek’ Lives Long And Prospers, Even Into Darkness

Director J.J. Abrams produces another winner as Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew face their toughest opponent yet.

J.J. Abrams has done it again. You may not be thrilled with his movies, but they’re never bad. His newest film, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” builds on the previous “Star Trek,” making it consumable for the masses while appeasing the hard core.

The Final Frontier

“Star Trek Into Darkness”

Director: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, John Cho, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Peter Weller, Anton Yelchin

Running time: 133 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Budget: $190 million

Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) returns as the brash leader of the U.S.S. Enterprise, cracking wise, taking risks and succeeding with shocking regularity. Kirk is kept in line by his first officer, Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), the always logical Vulcan who always plays by the rules.

The rest of the crew — Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) — jump on board the Enterprise’s newest endeavor and it’s all hands on deck against a ruthless villain that tests the crew in ways they can never imagine.

Benedict Cumberbatch of “Sherlock” fame plays the role of John Harrison, one of Starfleet’s own, and as it turns out, is the film’s main baddie. To no “Star Trek” fans’ surprise, Harrison isn’t the real name of the antagonist. Harrison is actually the most dangerous man in the “Star Trek” universe (hint: his name was in the title of a previous “Star Trek” movie).

Cumberbatch is dynamic in his role, and even if you know nothing about the villain’s identity, his ferociousness in “Into Darkness” speaks loudly.

Of course, since this is a summer blockbuster, plenty of explosions, intrigue and chases litter “Into Darkness.” Alliances are forged, double crosses are imminent and blond hottie Alice Eve is shown in her underwear. Yes, that last part is true.

The true nature of the film is the importance of family. Kirk and Spock test their limits (and friendship) for the greater good of the crew and the well being of everybody on Earth. The threat of Harrison and his nefarious plot is very real — terrorist attacks occur and Sept. 11 overtones are obvious.

Plenty of references to “Star Trek” episodes and films of the past are sprinkled in this sequel. Abrams’ film is funny, loud and action packed, suitable for all audiences. “Into Darkness” isn’t super geeky enough to satisfy staunch “Star Trek” nerds, but it will please the average viewer and common Trekkie.

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