2022 Academy Awards: Best Picture Reviews – Part One

The 95th Academy Awards are coming soon. Once again, I saw all ten Best Picture nominees. For the first time in three years, I didn’t need a streaming service to see any one of them. Elvis was the only one I saw outside of a theatre; on an airplane divided by two flights. The other nine I was lucky to see in theatres. There is your mix of enjoyable and unenjoyable. A mix of common popcorn fare and serious topics.

This year’s batch have some notable details. For the second straight year, a film directed by Steven Spielberg is nominated. For the second straight year, a remake of a Best Picture winner is nominated. Two of the nominated films are sequels to legendary sci-fi or action films. Two of the nominated films have four acting nominations each. On the contrary, half the films have no acting nominations. Also interesting that comedies, which normally get the sort end of the stick at Oscar time, are this year’s toast as two of the heavy favorites are comedic films.

The purpose of my reviews are to give a summary of the Best Picture nominees. I will be saving my predictions for a separate prediction blog. In the meantime, here is the first of my reviews of the Best Picture nominees of the 2022 Academy Awards:

All Quiet On The Western Front – Just like the 1930 film, this is an angry film. This film makes it look like World War I was a vanity effort. Like all the war was where it was all about the egos of those in power. While the young men fought and many died, these leaders with the power only cared about themselves and the power they wanted to hold onto. Even those who worked in the military seemed to take the losses of life very lightly. Seemingly not caring that a generation of young men were being lost. The last 20 minutes of the film would especially enrage many. Armistice had been declared for November 11, 1918. Germany was the losing side, but the German leader wanted one last battle. Another bunch of young men dead, just shortly before the war finally ended. Will definitely have you leaving the theatre asking what was it all for?

I’m planning on doing a comparison of this film to the 1930 original for after the Oscars. So in looking at this film, I won’t compare it to the original. I won’t even call it a remake because even the original was adapted from a novel. It’s possible this film is a re-adaptation. I will say the film is an excellent work. The film does a good job in telling the story from the point of view from the young soldiers and the meetings with the leaders. It shows the two different worlds between the two very well. The battle scenes are also intense to look at. Of course, war is ugly. There’s no compromise in the story here. Most surprising is how they slowed down the last 24 hours of World War I over a period of just over twenty minutes. That paves the way for the final dramatic scenes that would make the viewer angry at the end.

Top credits go to director/writer Edward Berger. He brings back the horrors of World War I in grand style and delivers a film that has a big message to send even now as Ukraine is going through a war of its own. The acting from newcomer Felix Kammerer was also excellent, even if his part didn’t have that much depth. Albrecht Schuch was also very good at Kalczinsky. The film also had excellent technical elements like the music of Volker Bertelmann, the cinematography of James Friend and some of the best production design and visual effects of the year. The visual effects really did a good job for the battle scenes.

Avatar: The Way Of Water – Usually when a sequel comes out, the freshness of the original seems lost and the rehash seems to be too similar to the original. Nevertheless the story does aim to have some notable differences from the first. One of which is Jake’s new family on Pandora, including his relationship with his oldest son. The other is facing rivalries both from Earth and his world. The best thing about this film is that the first Avatar took the audience to a new world. This film is also successful in taking people to a new world. Although it feels there may be something missing in this film, it’s still very spectacular and gives the audience the escape they’re looking for. The new twists in the story will also give people the drama they’re looking for and the action scenes they all enjoy.

James Cameron does it again. Not only does he bring back the world of Pandora successfully, but he does it so in breaking box-office records! To think James Cameron films have knocked each other out in setting the record for the highest-grossing ever! First Titanic, then the first Avatar, and now this! However it’s not simply box-office numbers. Cameron succeeds in creating a world where people can escape and be enchanted by. Pandora dazzled people back in 2009 and 2010 and it does it again here. Cameron also wrote an excellent story with four other writers and compiled the official script with two of the writers. They had to make it a believable story, especially since this film is thirteen years since the first. It does a story that works for the film. There was very good acting from returning actors Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana. Also excellent was newcomer Jamie Flatters in playing Jake’s oldest son. The film’s best qualities, nevertheless, are its visual effects. It’s these effects that give people the escape to Pandora they’re looking for and keep their attention on the drama as it unfolds. Simon Franglen also does a good job in composing a good score for the film.

The Banshees Of Inisherin – This is a film not everyone can understand at first. Even after one sees the film, they can only guess what the film is about. Some say it’s about human weaknesses, or about men and their inability to relate, or even about Irish pride as seen through the eyes of McDonagh. I’ve often felt the story is as much about the island town of Inisherin as it is about the central story. Inisherin is a town away from the mainland and lucky to be out of the range of fighting during the Irish civil war. However Inisherin comes across as a town where nothing really happens or nothing really improves. Anybody who wants to get anywhere have to be like Siobhan and leave the island. Sometimes it seems like the dead friendship of Padraic and Colm is symbolic of how dead the town of Inisherin is. In addition Inisherin being a small town, it’s often a case where word easily gets around about what’s happening. The feud between the two soon becomes the talk of the town.

This film is unique as it attempts to make a comedy out of something intense and dramatic. It’s a story of a drama that is slow, but the slowness is its quality. A story about a man deciding to end a friendship because his friend is ‘dull’ and spend the rest of his years composing music seems odd and pointless. Nevertheless the film allows for the intensity to build over time. It also has its ugly surprises, but the surprises become important to the drama. The different characters also add to the story. They help provide for the environment of the story almost as if the film is based on a classic Irish fable. In addition, the scenery adds to the story. The film is as much about the scenery and the landscapes as it is about the town and its drama. Its addition to the film help builds the story.

Top credit should go to director Martin McDonagh. McDonagh infrequently shells out works. It seems like almost once every four to five years. In fact his last film before Banshees, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, was five years ago! This is quite possibly his best work. It’s a story that gives you the unexpected and Martin did an excellent job with it. Also when you see the ending, you easily forget that this film is a comedy. Once again, a case of a film that mixes comedy with tragedy, and it does a memorable job here.

Additionally, the story came alive from the excellent acting. Colin Farrell did a great job making Padraic to be kind and loyal and always trying, but pushed to his limits near the end. Brendan Gleeson was also great as the stubborn Colm. He captured his hardness very well. Kerry Condon was also great as Siobhan, the sister who tries to find a way out. Also great was Barry Keoghan, the troubled son of the policeman Padraic and Siobhan try to help out. The supporting characters like the Garda, the banshee and the priest also added to the story. There were also additional technical feats with this film like the cinematography of Ben Davis and the score from Carter Burwell.

Elvis – It’s not easy doing a musical biography and making it into something different. On top of it, you can be sure there have been countless made-for-TV movies made about Elvis. So how can you make an Elvis movie for the big screen of 2023? One ingredient that makes it different is the story being told from the point of view of Colonel Tom Parker. Those of us who know a lot about Elvis may have overlooked his relationship with the Colonel, especially the rocky moments. Another is to add some creative flares. Those that remember Moulin Rouge will remember how that film has creative flares. Luhrmann applies similar creative flairs from Moulin Rouge here. Another ingredient is to have the best songs of a musician’s career as well as their career’s most significant moments. You can’t pack everything about Elvis into 159 minutes of story. This film does showcase the most famous moments of his career.

Another excellent work from Baz Luhrmann. Just when you thought you couldn’t bring Elvis back to the big screen, Luhrmann does it, and in a stylish winning way. He pulls the right moves to deliver an Elvis film people of today will want to see at the theatres. Of course it’s the performance of Austin Butler that has to be the biggest quality. A thirtysomething of today able to epitomize Elvis? The answer is Yes! Butler does an excellent job in playing The King in with a performance with dimension and doesn’t go cartoonish, as one can risk doing performing Elvis. Tom Hanks is also quite good as the colonel. It’s hard to picture him with a Dutch accent, and there were a few times when I questioned if it was off or not, but he did a good job with his role. The technical details also make the film excel. The cinematography, production design, makeup and costuming are all some of the best of this past year.

Everything Everywhere All At Once – Now there have been some absurdist films that have been nominated for Best Picture or other major categories. What makes this film-of-the-absurd is that this takes place in a multitude of worlds. Thanks to technology, Evelyn is able to make many trips of the mind to many different universes and assume many different personas: past, present and future. Even the persona of a rock somewhere in the desert is possible! Usually most people look at stories like these and ask “What the hell?” This is one absurd story that many people found enjoyable. The kung fu fighting scenes also helped a lot too. And to think this all started as Evelyn’s taxes were to be done and she was to get some bad news!

To think it’s the magic of the directing/writing team of the Daniels (Kwan and Scheinert) that delivered this gem. The two have not had a lot of directing experience. Until this film, they’ve only directed some short films together and their only feature was Swiss Army Man from back in 2016! Here they have the perfect breakthrough film for them, and boy is it unforgettable. It’s a fun, thrilling story that comes off as weird and bizarre at first, but starts making more sense as time goes on.

Also excellent is the combined acting. Michelle Yeoh shines as Evelyn. When I first saw her in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I had a feeling she would go far. She had a lot of grace with her. Although this role is way more multidimensional, she still does excellently here and delivers one of the best performances of the year. Ke Huy Quan is also excellent as the meek Waymond. Quan is also this year’s former child actor comeback story. He is best remembered as Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom and Data from The Goonies. Here he gets the adult actor breakthrough he was waiting for, and what a scene-stealing performance! Additional scene stealers are an unrecognizable Jamie Lee Curtis as the IRS agent and Stephanie Hsu as the daughter whose nihilism threatens the multiverse. All the aforementioned actors had a lot to do with their main role and their various roles in the many worlds of the multiverse. That’s a lot of work! Additional technical credits go to Shirley Kurata for the costuming and the band Son Lux for the score that fits the film well.

And there’s the first of it. This is the first half of my review of this year’s Best Picture nominees. Second half coming in a day or two.

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Movie Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

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The Guardians are back, even with a Baby Groot, in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.

We first met the Guardians Of The Galaxy back in 2014. The Guardians are back in Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2. But do they have what it takes to deliver this time?

Back when the first Guardians Of The Galaxy came to the big screen, most people have not heard of them. This was a chance for Marvel to introduce them to the world. It was a unique mix of quirky characters, both virtual and live, loads of action, and a mix of both music and humor that made it a hit with families and superhero movie fans alike. The movie became the third-highest grossing movie of 2014 and turned the Guardians into household names. In fact “I am Groot,” became the top movie line of that year.

This time around is about bringing about the sequel.  Most of you already know my feeling of Hollywood sequels in my review of Furious 7. However sequels can either propel a movie franchise further or sink it. Sequels are hit and miss. I’ve seen so many sequels where they simply rehash the formula of the first movie plot-for-plot, moment-for-moment. That’s why I’m mostly turned off sequels. That’s also often all one needs to do to end a franchise. Nevertheless there are a good number of sequels or second-movies that do differ a lot from the original. That’s often the better idea but even that’s a gamble. One example is the second and third film of The Matrix. It was too different from the original film that blew audiences away in 1999 and they disappointed fans.

This sequel for Guardians takes the chance of being very different from the first film. One can already notice the differences here: animosity between the members, the stormy family relations of Peter and his father and Gamora and her sister, the people of the various galaxies going against each other and all galaxies being threatened by Ego. I appreciate them creating a scenario different from the original. Nevertheless there were some things from the original that they had to bring back into the sequel like the humorous tones in various scenes, the unique and sometimes crazy personalities of each of the Guardians, and of course the use of 70’s songs in the many scenes. It was all a case of making the right choices of what to include from the first and what to change up. I feel they made a lot of the right choices here.

Another difference I noticed in Volume 2 is that there are a lot more ‘salty’ and ‘spicy’ things in the film. For example, I noticed there was more swearing included and a lot more lewd talk. There were even scenes hinting towards sex or even showing suggestive situations like a stripper bar in another galaxy. Sometimes I think ever since Deadpool shook things up in the world of superhero movies, directors are less afraid of including risque stuff even if they know children will be watching. However unlike Deadpool, the film knows it’s supposed to be a superhero movie and the theme of heroes and the values they stand for and fight for is definitely not forsaken. Whether it’s okay for parents to take their children to see it or not is completely the parents’ call. I’d say it’s best for 11 and older.

James Gunn again delivers as a director and a writer in this sequel. He takes some of the first, some new ideas, and some racy choices and turns it into a movie that works. Chris Pratt delivers again as Peter and Kurt Russell does a very good job in playing a deceptive villain. Zoe Saldana again proves why she’s the top actress in sci-fi movies with her performance as Gamora. Dave Bautista was hilarious as Drax as was Bradley Cooper as Rocket. Michael Rooker was also good as Nebula. Baby Groot had a lot of funny moments but there are times I felt in retrospect that he went too much on the ‘cutesy’ side. Michael Rooker was also good as Yondu. The two newcomers–Karen Gillan as Nebula and Pom Klementieff–were good in their roles even if Mantis did come across as too weird or ditzy. Judianna Makofsky did a very good job in designing the costumes to fit the story, Tyler Bates delivers a fitting score to the film, and the visual effects team with hundreds of credits again delivered effects to make the action and drama that more exciting.

It seems appropriate that Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 kicks off the 2017 Summer Movie Season. It’s a sequel that delivers the right stuff most of the time. It’s able to deliver some new magic without compromising the magic of the original and keeps one thrilled one moment, laughing another moment, and entertained throughout.

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

STAR TREK BEYOND
Star Trek Beyond is the third installment of the revamped Star Trek series.

I was originally planning on saving my review for Star Trek Beyond for a summer movie summary on science fiction movies outside of superhero movies. That was not to be the case as most of the top sci-fi movies were superhero movies. Nevertheless Star Trek Beyond is a movie worth reviewing by itself.

For the third of four movies of the revamped Star Trek series, the writers and director Justin Lin had to deal with making a 2-hour movie that is a continuation of the series while leading to an ending setting up for the fourth and final movie, which currently has no set year of release right now. The trick is trying to make the right choices of what to include, whether it be pieces from the original television series of the 60’s or of movies of the past, and create the right third-movie.

One thing about this installment is that the focus is more about exploring new worlds which is what Star Trek is all about. However it’s also about friction as smaller ships ambush and wreck the USS Enterprise. Even the threat of an intergalactic race in another galaxy under a tyrannous villain adds to the drama this time. This is a case of a fresh story for the Star Trek franchise while trying to maintain the same spirit of the whole Star Trek series.

I mentioned back in my review of superhero movies that despite the action scenes, morals and values are essential for a superhero movie. Morals and values are also essential for a movie like Star Trek as well. The Starship voyage continues in its quest to discover new intergalactic worlds and develop ties between the life forms. The value of doing what’s right is present in this Star Trek movie as Kirk is about to go on a rescue mission that might endanger his life. He responds by saying; “I would rather die saving lives than live knowing that I took them.”

The movie sometimes seems like it wants to be a sweet farewell to Leonard Nimoy. It’s evident in the story as Spock receives news that Lieutenant Spock has died. Reminders pop up in the story line as Spock plans to leave the Starship to carry on the Lieutenant’s duties and even a sentimental scene near the end. I don’t think it did any wrong moves in doing so. Memorializing an actor, especially if they had such a memorable role in their lifetime, is never an easy thing. There are some times in retrospect I felt there were some wrong moves in memorializing Paul Walker in Furious 7 like the farewell image of his character played by his look-alike brother. However I feel they did it right here, including the toast ‘to absent friends.’ Even at the end the movie is dedicated ‘In Loving Memory’ of Nimoy.

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The film makers of the fourth and final revamped Star Trek film decided to drop the character of Chekov in respect to the late  Anton Yelchin.

Unexpected was the death of Anton Yelchin who played Chekov in the three revamped Star Trek films. He was a gifted actor capable of doing an excellent job in each role he played. In Star Trek, he delivered a Chekov that was half the age of the original Chekov but made it work on screen. He even added some charming humor to the movie series with lines like “Nine-Five-Wictor-Wictor-Two” or “I can do zat! I can do zat!” Unfortunately he was killed an a car accident one month before the film’s premiere. He was 27. The film didn’t make any major last-minute changes in editing or storyline upon news of his death but he is memorialized after Nimoy’s dedication with ‘For Anton.’

New to directing the Star Trek series is Justin Lin. He’s best known as the director of four Fast And The Furious movies. With his first attempt at directing Star Trek, he does a very good job in maintaining the spirit of the Star Trek franchise along with delivering the right storyline and right action to the movie. For the record, J. J. Abrams is producer this time. The script written by Simon Pegg who plays Scotty and Doug Jung who’s past work is mostly writing for television is consistent with the story and the spirit of Star Trek despite it being short on the expected action. All the returning actors still maintain their respective characters well. One thing noticeable is Chekov has more of a presence and he doesn’t deliver so many humorous lines this time. Another new addition is Idris Elba doing an excellent convincing role as the villain Krall. Visual effects were still good even if they weren’t the most spectacular. Also the addition of the Beastie Boys song ‘Sabotage’ got me thinking again to how Guardians Of The Galaxy and The Martian has made it a must to include musical moments in such movies.

The big surprise is the lack of box office success that came with this film. The film currently has a North American gross of over $157 million and a total worldwide gross of over $333 million. Since it cost $180 million to make, it’s labeled a ‘flop,’ especially knowing the first two revamped Star Trek movies starting back in 2009 both made over $200 million. People are wondering why? The film has an approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes of over 80% and there was expected to be big fare since this year is the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise starting all the way back with the TV series. Some are saying Yelchin’s sudden death may have a lot to do with it, like it ‘spoiled the fun.’ It’s wrong to make such an accusation. Nobody saw his death coming. Not even Anton himself, if you’ve bothered to read the news about it. Some are saying the story lacks excitement. Possibly but it still has a lot of ingredients win crowds and Star Trek fans alike. Hard to say exactly. My assumption is that simply this is the third movie, not the first and not the last. Plus it faced competition from a wide variety of other movies this summer. I feel that the final movie can achieve more at the box office because it will be the final movie of a revamped film series that worked rather than flopped.

Star Trek Beyond may not be as action-packed as most of the other summer fare out right now or even past Star Trek films but it is a movie that delivers on the Star Trek franchise and stays true to its spirit. It even paves way to the fourth and final Star Trek movie to come.

Movie Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy

Meet the Guardians Of The Galaxy: a superhero quintet that went from misfits to household names this summer.
Meet the Guardians Of The Galaxy: a superhero quintet that became household names this summer.

Oh boy. Now my time to catch up on movie reviews. This is the first of two reviews of summer blockbusters I saw. I will admit I’ve been a bit laxed in watching big movies this year. One of which I did feel I had to see was Guardians of The Galaxy. I’m glad I did.

I won’t go into giving a brief description of the story since it’s safe to assume most people have already seen it. This is one of those superhero movies that tries to balance out the comedic parts with the dramatic parts and the action parts. It does a very good job of it. It succeeds in giving the movie intriguing characters like Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket and Groot. However like every first movie or introduction movie of a superhero or superhero ensemble, it has to have a very good story of how the superheroes came to be or in this case, came to be an ensemble. It does a good job of creating an introduction movie of such. It may not be as heavily dramatic as your typical superhero movie. It’s a mix of drama and comedy that many will find entertaining. I will admit there are a couple of cornball scenes in there but the movie does a mostly good job.

I will admit that when I first saw the trailer for this months ago, I thought this would be a cheesy movie. I think what got me thinking it would be cheesy was seeing a raccoon as part of this superhero ensemble. It wasn’t until I learned the Guardians Of The Galaxy movie is based off of a Marvel Comics series that I thought that this might be something good. I will admit I’m like a lot of people that probably never knew of the Guardians Of The Galaxy until I saw this movie. Anyone else? Yeah, I’m sure there are a bunch of you guilty of it too. Guardians Of The Galaxy has probably been one of Marvel Comics’ least known comic heroes or hero ensembles. Actually the Guardians we know of are not the original Guardians. The first Guardians came out in 1969 and consisted of a different set of Guardians including one named Captain Marvel. Then came the 2008 ensemble of Guardians that consisted of some of the original characters but added in others like Groot, Rocket, Star Lord and Gamora but the total number of Guardians is in the dozens.

This also makes for an additional point for the challenge it had. Marvel and the producers had to work with creating a hit movie about a superhero ensemble that most of the general public are not very familiar with. It’s definitely more challenging as doing such a movie with a more celebrated superhero like Superman or Captain America. The example of John Carter demonstrates the challenge; Disney hoped to introduce the world to John in a big way but it didn’t work. Here it’s Marvel’s challenge to introduce the Guardians to the world and no doubt it would be a huge cost risk: $170 million to be exact. It paid off as it was the #1 movie for a total of five weekends. Its total box office is $313.7 million in North America and $632 million worldwide which is a modest number for a movie of that much success. Nevertheless I’ll save it for when I give my upcoming movie year forecast. The movie’s success also has paved the way for an upcoming sequel in 2017. The question is will they stick to the original five Guardians or will they add some additional Guardians in?

The first person who deserves acclaim for the success is director James Gunn. He hasn’t had too huge of a resume as far as directors go. Actually he has a major blemish as he is one of the many directors with the atrocity Movie 43. However this is his breakthrough and should make a good name for him in the future. Possibly even a director of the sequel. Additional kudos to Nicole Perlman who co-wrote the script with Gunn. The collaboration paid off in giving a story full of action and humor and being what a script for a superhero movie should be.

Chris Pratt was entertaining as Peter Quill. He does a good job of balancing the role of a superhero with adding comedy plus he doesn’t make dealing with his late mother too seriously dramatic. Zoe Saldana seems to be the actress made for sci-fi. First Avatar, then Star Trek and now this. Nevertheless I can’t think of a better choice as she nails it again here. Dave Bautista also did a good job. And it’s good to see since I don’t normally think wrestlers make good movie stars as seen by past wrestlers. Bradley Cooper added great character to the voice of Rocket and Vin Diesel was good as Groot. Actually some of his better acting as of late. Other highlights include the visual effects of the movie which are probably some of the best of the year. Another plus is the inclusion of 70’s music. At first you’d think it was cornball. However it becomes more evident why it’s incorporated as it’s this music that connects Peter to his mother. It also adds to the humor too.

Guardians Of The Galaxy is not just another good movie from the Marvel Comics team but a commercial achievement too in making household names of their lesser-known comic book characters. Good job.

Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Captain Kirk and Spock bring the villain Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Star Trek Into Darkness.
Captain Kirk and Spock bring Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) to justice in Star Trek Into Darkness.

The Star Trek franchise has really come a long way since its days as a television series, hasn’t it? Movies, a new series in the 90’s, a loyal following of Trekkies and even a 2009 remake of the original. Now Star Trek returns to the big screen with a remake of the sequel entitled Star Trek Into Darkness. Does it still entertain current audiences?

The movie opens with Captain Kirk defamed and demoted from his Captain position after Spock’s life is jeopardized while prevent a volcano from erupting on the planet Nibiru that would have wiped out all civilization and would have exposed all of Nibiru’s lives to the Enterprise. Admiral Pike has been reinstated but believes Kirk deserves a second chance and successfully lobbies for Kirk to be his first Officer.

The movie moves forward to London two centuries from now. A bomb has just exploded and the perpetrator is believed to be Starfleet agent John Harrison. The meeting about how to deal with Harrison is disturbed by Harrison’s jumpship. Kirk destroys the jumpship but Harrison is able to escape to the Klingon planet of Kronos. Meanwhile Pike was killed in the attack which promotes Kirk back to captain of the Enterprise. Kirk is left in charge of dealing with the Enterprise and Harrison whether to have Harrison killed by the torpedoes on board the Enterprise or brought to justice.

Their first attempt at capturing Harrison is by arriving on the Klingon planet even though they know Klingons are set to attack them. Harrison kills the Klingons but appears to surrender when aware of the torpedoes against him. It’s when Khan is held inside the Enterprise that is true identity is learned, Khan: a genetically engineered superhuman designed as a weapon 300 years ago for a war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. On top of that, the torpedoes each have one of Khan’s crew cryogenically frozen inside. In the meantime Admiral Marcus, engineer of Khan and captain of the USS Vengeance which Khan designed, demands Khan’s release. The Enterprise refuses and that leads to a war leaving the Enterprise severely damaged.

Soon after many giveaways happen to the intentions of both Khan and Marcus which almost leads to the destruction of the Enterprise had it not been for Scotty’s fast thinking on the Vengeance. A confrontation between Kirk, Spock, Marcus’ daughter Carol and Khan leads to Khan succeeding and gaining control of the Vengeance. Khan will only allow the crew of the Enterprise free if given the torpedoes. They agree but just when it’s thought that Khan has the advantage, a surprise occurs. This leads to a battle between Khan and leaders of the Enterprise with a not-so-typical ending to the movie.

This is a continuation from what started in 2009 when the first Star Trek was remade. If you remember then, they attempted to remake the very first Star Trek movie with a modern faced cast and with modern special effects. The end result was one popcorn movie remake that worked well not just with audiences but critics alike. it even became the first Star Trek movie to win an Oscar: winning Best Makeup. Here in 2013 comes a new challenge of remaking The Wrath Of Khan with the new modern cast and the new special effects.

I’ll admit that I have not seen the original Wrath Of Khan so I cannot compare it to Into Darkness. What I can do is compare it with the 2009 remake of the original. The original was good as it was able to remake and even modernize the original well with good writing, good acting and excellent effects.  Into Darkness was also very good in its own way with the acting and the directing and especially the effects. There were times where the original actors (William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy) make appearances in the movie with is not uncommon for Hollywood to do in terms of movie remakes and movie versions of TV shows. However Shatner was given a good role that was atypical. As for the story, it was your typical Hollywood formulas in the story but what it lacks in original it, it makes up for in entertainment. It succeeds in being a thrill ride for those who see it with battles and even an ending that it not your typical predictable Hollywood ending.

The acting from the actors was also good. One thing I liked about the 2009 remake is that none of the actors were trying to fill the shoes of the actors past. Chris Pine knew he wasn’t to be a copy of William Shatner. Zachary Quinto knew he wasn’t to fill the shoes of Leonard Nimoy. John Cho knew that he’s not in George Takei’s shadow. Anton Yelchin knew not to compare himself to Walter Koenig. And Zoe Saldana was not trying to be Nichelle Nichols either.  Each had their part to do and doing it made it work. The actors again continue to do it in Into Darkness. Mind you the role of Spock was given a new challenge by having him convey emotion despite being a Vulcan. Even Benedict Cumberbatch did a very good job in playing Kahn, even if Khan came across as an unoriginal Hollywood villain.

J.J. Abrams can add this movie to his cloud as one of the top sci-fi directors in Hollywood. He started well with Mission Impossible III, progressed with the first Star Trek in 2009 and did it again in Super 8. Although Into Darkness doesn’t compare to the first Star Trek, it does not hurt his reputation at all and even adds to his consistency. The highlights of the movie of course were the visual effects as should be expected with any sci fi movie. People don’t go to a sci fi movie for the script. They go to escape to another world. And Star Trek Into Darkness succeeds into taking us into our world two centuries from now and into the many worlds in the Star Trek universe. It was a very good trip into escapism that most will enjoy.

Star Trek Into Darkness is a sequel remake that puts its most emphasis in the escapism and the excitement of the action. It succeeds again in giving the audience a trip to another world while staying true to the Star Trek theme. The big question is if there’s to be a remake of The Search For Spock in the future, how soon will it come out and what will the end result be?