‘Star Trek Into Darkness' (Blu-ray)
Among its many reasons for standing out, J.J. Abrams' “Star Trek Into Darkness” is that rare 2013 science-fiction film in which humanity has its act together in the future — no apocalypse is forecast. But the nearly utopian society that Gene Roddenberry created did allow for individual humans — and Vulcans — to be imperfect. Without personal failings there would be little conflict, and Capt. James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) would be a hollow hero if he weren't battling his own hubris.
Like the 2009 film that relaunched the franchise based on the original 1966-69 series, “Into Darkness” is mostly faithful to Roddenberry's vision and respects the “Star Trek” history while throwing more action into the mix. After attacks on Federation facilities in London and San Francisco, Kirk and the U.S.S. Enterprise crew are sent in pursuit of the perpetrator, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch).
“Into Darkness” reinforces the stellar job Abrams did in recasting these classic characters — Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg instantly mind-meld into their respective performances as Spock, Bones and Scotty. “Star Trek Into Darkness” takes on the difficult task of adapting a character and basic plot from “Star Trek” lore and making it work with the aesthetics of the new films. Abrams and screenwriters Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci might be going where others have gone before, but they are going there boldly.
The “extras” include seven featurettes that focus on individual scenes, such as the opening “red planet” sequence and Spock's climactic fight with Cumberbatch's character, but in order to get every possible extra available for HD viewing, consumers must buy the discs being marketed exclusively through Target and Best Buy, and the commentary track from Abrams is only available through the iTunes download. That download is available for those who buy the mass-market version of this Blu-ray (the one being reviewed here), but spreading around the extras to different retailers looks like a cynical exploitation of the completist nature of Trekkies.
— George Lang