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Article by Teddy Durgin

Star Trek Into...Greatness!

My daughter is totally into Mad Libs these days. It's that silly word game where one player prompts another player for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a short story. Beneath each blank is a specified category such as "verb" or "place" or "body part." I feel like writing my review of "Star Trek Into Darkness" like a Mad Lib, because so much of what I loved about it involves major plot spoilers. Sentences would read like: "There's this amazing moment late in the film where ______ realizes that he must ______, only we know from the previous "Trek" timeline that it was ________ who had to ________. And it leads to one of the most ingenious and emotionally jarring juxtapositions since ______ . . . " Or, maybe I should write it like one of those CIA papers that have suddenly been declassified and released to the public with key words and phrases blacked-out to protect national security and agents' identities. Then, I would have sentences that would read: "I love the scene where ***** is interrogating *****, and he knows he's lying to him. And so he demands, "***** *** *** ******?!" And the prisoner answers, "My name is ********!" Awesome scene! But I must keep it general. The Federation faces its greatest threat yet in the form of a new villain who's hell-bent on interstellar conquest. The crew of the Starship Enterprise is assigned to neutralize the threat, and the ensuing conflict tests the friendship of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) to its limit. Yeah, I know. Isn't that what happens in EVERY "Star Trek" flick?! It is and it isn't. This is director J.J. Abrams' rebooted, re-imagined "Trek" universe. You'll recall in the last movie, a disruption in the space-time continuum essentially hit the reset button on the entire "Star Trek" timeline. So, I will say that if you didn't like the original adventures of Kirk and Spock being totally erased, you're REALLY not gonna like what Abrams and Co. come up with here with regards to ______ and also ******. I, for one, continue to appreciate the aggressive way all concerned treat the source material. The destruction of the planet Vulcan in the last film never happened in the Shatner/Kirk universe. As "Star Trek Into Darkness" opens, we learn that the tragedy has become the 23rd century's Sept. 11. In its wake, the Federation has moved from a group of brash, wide-eyed adventurers boldly going where no one has gone before to more of a military force bulking up for the next threat. Soon after a terrorist attack on a Federation archives facility, Kirk's Enterprise is ordered on a secret mission to track down the renegade (Benedict Cumberbatch) responsible and terminate him. Conflict ensues between Kirk and his crew who are uncomfortable with the highly suspect orders, not to mention the addition of 72 experimental photon torpedoes that could be triggered at any moment. Even more so than the first film, something is at stake nearly every second this movie flickers across the screen. There were at least a couple of instances where I wish the movie had just slowed down a bit and let its story and characters breathe. But Abrams doesn't seem to want to let anyone in the audience out of his grip for long. Tech credits are again top notch. Sound designer Ben Burtt is still having a blast, mixing in old-school elements of the original "Trek"-verse (everything from the chirping communicators to the Shhh! doors opening and closing) with new audio cues (the Enterprise going to warp is SO cool). ILM, meanwhile, delivers some fantastic special-effects imagery here. And Michael Giacchino's musical score plays like fine symphony. Don't call it a sequel. Call it an equal. And, man, I wish I could tell you more. Like, there's that one moment with Spock where his anger finally gets the better of him and he yells - Nope! Can't do it.

"Star Trek Into Darkness" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.


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