Latest ‘Star Trek’ exceptional film

The year 2012 was one of the biggest in film history with the release of Marvel’s “The Avengers” and Christopher Nolan’s final film in “The Dark Knight” trilogy. One event, however, overshadowed those two big premieres easily. Disney bought Lucasfilms, meaning that Disney was now in control of the “Star Wars” empire.

The future looked bright for fans of the 30-year-old series and then three months ago another important announcement was made. “Star Wars Episode VII” would be directed by J.J. Abrams and released in 2015. The man who had rebooted the “Star Trek” franchise in 2009 and given science fiction films new life would have a chance to do the same with a franchise that had grown stagnant after poorly received prequels.

Abrams has proven himself time and again as a standout director and his latest film, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” looked to continue his nearly flawless film legacy. I am pleased to tell you that the man who now is responsible for two of the largest science fiction franchises ever has made yet another thrilling film.

Abrams reintroduces audiences to the Starship Enterprise and its crew without boring dialogue or tedious exposition. Instead he throws the audience into the action immediately. The first sequence is gorgeous as Kirk and Bones race through a colorful landscape being chased by natives of this land. The scene is reminiscent of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” but Abrams makes it his own with a sci-fi spin and witty banter between two friends.

The story immediately switches over to a darker plot point that can’t be seen coming. Abrams utilizes silent action and allows the visuals to tell the story rather than complicating anything with dialogue. The scene that follows is surprising and powerful, but I’d rather not spoil that for you.

What I love most about this film is that every single member of the Enterprise has something to do and has a moment to shine. The only people who don’t, unfortunately, are the women aboard the ship, which I think is a missed opportunity. Simon Pegg is hilarious as Scotty, Anton Yelchin brings to life the manic nature of Chekov, Chris Pine brings leadership to the captain’s chair, and Zachary Quinto surprises as a complicated Spock this time around. All those performances are great, but no doubt are overshadowed by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch.

I first saw Cumberbatch of the BBC series “Sherlock,” and have since been mesmerized by this man’s performances. Cumberbatch is the heart, soul and pain of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and speaks with incredible authority any moment the camera is on him. I refuse to spoil anything for audiences so I will simply tell you Cumberbatch’s John Harrison is every bit as diabolical and intelligent as any classic villain. This particular choice makes Abrams’ first villain, Eric Bana as Nero, look like child’s play.

The film is exceptional and I highly recommend it to all science fiction fans and those who want an easy introduction to the genre. Within the first 10 minutes you’ll do what I did, whisper to your friend, “2015 can’t come soon enough.”

Patrick White

Movie fan Patrick White doesn't spare anyone's feelings when deciding if the latest Hollywood offering is trash or treasure. Catch his reviews on the latest theater and DVD releases in Saturday's paper.

Copyright © 2015