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“The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend” - or Of Course Benedict Cumberbatch is an Evil Superhuman

By Courtney Szigetvari, student, Center for Distance Learning

August 26, 2013

A Review of Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J.J. Abrams

Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Copy Sept. 10, 2013

If you are not a “Trekkie” (a fan of the Star Trek franchise) already, you will be after watching J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek Into Darkness. It is undeniably the greatest space opera to have graced theaters since the original Star Wars trilogy, and will make fans of Darth Vader and Chewbacca trust Abrams with directing Episode VII (due out in 2015). Star Trek Into Darkness stars upcoming actor Chris Pine, who transforms the part of Captain James Tiberius Kirk from an immature simpleton in the 2009 reboot to a level-headed hero. Also featured are Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock and Benedict Cumberbatch as the mysterious John Harrison (no spoilers here).

Cumberbatch steals the show, for not only is he a cult fan favorite (due to his role as everyone’s favorite lovable sociopath Sherlock Holmes in the BBC show Sherlock), but also plays Harrison in a way that is both nefarious and strange. To complete the legendary lineup of U.S.S Enterprise crewmembers, Zoe Saldana stars as Uhura, John Cho as Hikaru Sulu, and Simon Pegg as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott.

The movie opens with the Enterprise crew traveling around the planet of Nibiru (unfortunately named after the fictional Planet X) in order to fulfill a preservation mission. This scene especially showcases the duality between Mr. Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew, for his Vulcan half (his logical side) almost always negates the fact that he is part human. Throughout Into Darkness, Spock’s human self emerges little by little in its facilitation through his friendship with Captain Kirk. Sometimes we forget that the greatest love stories are not between two lovers, but amongst the best of friends. It is this relationship that creates the theme of Star Trek Into Darkness, for it forms the basis of what the original series stood for: the interactions between friends amidst the trials and tribulations of space travel.

The story continues with the introduction of John Harrison (Cumberbatch), a superhuman who has a dark secret that is concealed by his identity. The scenes that commence are certainly stunning as Harrison represents an appalling antagonist in the center of the action. The distinctive discrepancies between our hero (Captain Kirk) and his adversary (Harrison) add a thrilling profoundness to the movie. Kirk and Harrison eventually form an alliance over the presence of a common enemy, which makes for a grand display of the Captain’s inner turmoil. It has been quite some time since a fantastical account about the overcoming of evil has been released in theatrical format, and Abrams has given such a storyline great meaning. 

Star Trek Into Darkness is without question a must see. Its dark tones, intricate plotlines, and dazzling special effects discredit its label as a popcorn film. Due to the impact of this movie, I will be waiting in anticipation for Abrams’s next Trek movie (due out in 2016). Beam me up J.J.!

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Courtney Szigetvari