Star Trek Into Darkness 3D Blu-ray Review
Like director J.J. Abrams, I never had more than a passing interest in Star Trek. When J.J. Abrams’ first STAR TREK hit theaters in 2009 I was impressed with the visuals, the style and the charisma of its young leading cast, but it didn’t remind me of anything I knew of Star Trek from watching the old movies with my dad or watching reruns of The Next Generation as a kid. His follow-up, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, is more of the same. The visuals are incredible, the story is fast paced and all of the actors involved provide enough charm and charisma to make it easy to look past the lackluster dialogue and the underdeveloped subplots. This new incarnation of Star Trek is all about shiny visuals, over the top special effects and exciting situations. I know some of the die-hard Trekkies aren’t crazy about it, but I thought it was a blast.
We pick up with the crew of the Enterprise as they’re attempting a dangerous and daring mission on a far off planet. Against orders, they save the planet, only to report back to earth and receive disciplinary action for their efforts. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is demoted and the ship goes back to Commander Pike (Bruce Greenwood). This is all very dramatic, but I’m not sure it was necessary. Almost as soon as you can complain, the Federation is attacked by Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Kirk gets his ship back. This sets off a cat and mouse game across the galaxy as Kirk is hell bent on bringing Harrison to justice and avenging the lives lost during his attack.
The crew eventually captures Harrison, who reveals himself to be Khan, that of THE WRATH OF KHAN from the Shatner days. Khan is a worthy adversary for the crew since he has super-human strength and intelligence thanks to genetic experiments hundreds of years earlier (Khan was awoken from a cryogenic cylinder). The relationship between Khan and Kirk is a highlight in the film, with most of the best moments coming from Kirk’s one-liners as he debates with himself and tries to measure up to Khan. Of course, all of this is made possible by the commanding performances from Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch, the latter of which is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors.
If you start to peel back the layers and look beneath the glossy surface, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS may disappoint. Most of the character development is focused on Kirk, who is still written as a cocky, knee-jerk leader that can’t seem to grow up. You’d think being made Captain at such a young age would accelerate his development but it has actually hurt it. I don’t believe the Captain Kirk we’re familiar with would lie on a debriefing report, but this one does. But he has an undying devotion to his crew, making some of his decisions confusing. I like Chris Pine’s Kirk, but I’m not sure he’s getting the proper treatment in terms of character development. Screenwriters are sticking with the Spock and Uhura romance, but their relationship is more of a punch-line in the sequel than anything. Neither character gets the attention they might deserve, but it’s hard to complain about that. Too much time on any of the supporting players would detract from the fast pace and fun action, which were two major positives in the film.
The style of J.J. Abrams, lens flares and all, fits the Star Trek universe very well and is one of the things that really works in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. This is a shiny, glossy summer blockbuster that doesn’t necessarily provide anything new or make you strain to figure out the plot, but it is a fun film that embodies what a summer blockbuster should be. Trekkies may not enjoy it for its general anti-Star Trek feel, but the rest of us should have a fun time with the new crew of the Enterprise.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS 3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
I’m rarely a fan of post-conversion 3D, mainly because it makes for a lackluster 3D experience. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS wasn’t originally shot in 3D so director J.J. Abrams didn’t film it with 3D in mind. That said, the 3D here works better than it does in most 3D post-conversion films. The space scenes had more depth and the action sequences (specifically the destruction of the Enterprise) had an added intensity. That said, I wouldn’t recommend shelling out more cash for the 3D version, especially given how great the 2D version looks…
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS looks breathtaking on Blu-ray. The colors and style of J.J. Abrams shine through beautifully, even if you might notice more lens flares than you’d like.
Audio: The audio is just as great as the video and this might actually make a good reference Blu-ray for when you’re showing off your home theater’s surround system.
Making of Featurettes (43:49): There are eight featurettes in total and I lumped them all together because they’re basically one long featurette. I assume they’re listed separately to make it seem like there’s more on this disc than there really is. The featurettes themselves are pretty superficial.
The controversy, of course, is that Paramount licensed out a lot of other features (including a commentary from J.J. Abrams and the cast that can be found on iTunes) to various sources. Some retail outlets got some features, some online providers got others. This is a disturbing trend for those that want as man special features as possible and I can only assume that it means a “special” edition is on the way at some point.