Visual Effects - Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, and Burt Dalton
Star Trek: Into Darkness is the second in the series of throwback films where we get to see our beloved Star Trek (Original Series) characters as younger adults getting their start in their space careers. As always, there are ethical dilemmas, lots of fighting and explosions, and plenty of fun surprises that I wouldn't dare ruin with my review. The film begins with James T. Kirk in the unenviable position of having to choose between the prime directive of non-interference in extra-terrestrial societies and saving the life of his friend, Spock. You can probably guess which he chooses, and how that choice teaches him and his crew the importance and challenge of the good of the many vs. the good of the one. This is a theme that arises over and over in the Star Trek world - how to evaluate the life of a single person against the good of the community.
I'm a fan of the Star Trek films in general (I haven't seen nearly all of them, but have seen a fair few), and this J.J. Abrams conception of the Star Trek films brings me back to what I originally loved about the series. It's as much the lessons and insights behind the action that make the stories incredible, and this one was no exception. They certainly brought in as many twists and turns as they could think of into one pretty solid film.
The funny part is that for the first three-quarters of the movie, I kept wondering where the spectacular visual effects were that made this film worthy of an Oscar nomination. However, in the last quarter of the film, the answer arrived. If the word "spectacular" is derived from spectacle, then that word is only too fitting for what happens when the visual effects really start to kick in. Some would wonder why a nomination for effects when most of the movie relies more on storytelling than the visual effects medium. But the effects are done so convincingly and with such aplomb that the movie finishes leaving little doubt. And, I applaud the decision to save the best for last. If a movie relies solely on visual effects to engage the viewer, then the story can't be very good. And a space movie with no visual effects makes no sense. With Star Trek: Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams finds a great balance that makes the movie fun and totally worth it.
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Watch the Star Trek: Into Darkness Movie Trailer