PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

May 17, 2013

“Star Trek” sequel flies high

Sean McBride
The Port Arthur News

— The “Star Trek” franchise continues to boldly go forward with another solid movie that will thrill both general audiences and Trekkers alike. This is a gorgeously shot adventure with a great villain, edge-of-your-seat action sequences, several nice winks to the fan base and in a bit of a surprise, some rather emotional moments to give the film a genuine sense of humanity.

The film may be good, but things start off poorly for Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, as the team is disbanded and Cpt. Kirk (Chris Pine) is relieved of his command following a pre-credit action sequence on the surface of the planet Niburu. It’s a short-lived setback as the crew is quickly reformed after a terrorist (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks Star Fleet headquarters and then flees to a planet in Klingon territory.

The Enterprise is dispatched to track down the terrorist and kill him for his crimes—an order that seems a bit odd given the high-minded idealism of the “Star Trek” universe. In fact, much of the story seems grittier than fans might expect, although the title should have warned us that director J.J. Abrams was planning to take the story in darker directions.

Those darker moments are led by Cumberbatch, who plays a genetically engineered villain who seems nearly unstoppable. His character is physically and mentally superior, and given the Cumberbatch’s deep British baritone, he also acts circles around the rest of the cast.

Despite that great bad guy, it’s the crew of the Enterprise that finally starts to gel this time out. The relationship between Kirk and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is fleshed out in an unexpected manner that will thrill the fan base. The rest of the crew is given more to do this time around, with each actor being given a pivotal moment to shine. This is the movie where the crew becomes a family.

Credit Abrams for having crafted another fine movie. He handles the action scenes with ease, but makes sure that we get plenty of time to bond with the characters rather than simply giving us a non-stop onslaught of special effects. The final result is a film that’s an entertaining popcorn flick as well as a moving character drama. As long as Abrams is involved, I have high hopes that the “Star Trek” franchise will fly high for years to come.

Now let’s see what he can do with the new “Star Wars” films…

 

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.