Movie - Star Trek Into Darkness
Year - 2013
Director - J. J. Abrams
Starring - Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Karl Urban (McCoy), Simon Pegg (Scott), John Cho (Sulu), Benedict Cumberlatch
I am an American, albeit a disillusioned one. My immigration and acculturation ended decades ago, when I learned the hard way about the values of honesty, integrity and loyalty that once made this country operate. And, putting it all into perspective, making it practical, was the original Star Trek series.
Only 78 episodes were made, but they institutionalized and popularized the American ideal as envisioned by Gene Roddenberry. His America was not one of social engineering, oligopoly and global warfare. Rather, it was rooted in the ideas that Americanism could take the lead in a global partnership, one in which values, not products, spread the cause of democracy. Such a cause, Roddenberry believed, would pave the way to space exploration and perhaps, a galaxy-wide partnership, the United Federation of Planets.
In a post 9/11 world of war and social engineering, such an America seems like a pipe dream. But, I could still observe it in the conversations of imaginative young men who continued to mimic their heroes as they walked out of the theater, lost in thought about the romance and adventure that were brought to their heart and mind in Star Trek Into Darkness.
The sequel to the reboot is an expansion to the previous film and a proper homage to the original series. The characters are now given room to come to their full potential, fulfilling the wish of die-hard trekkies that the original series, despite all its faults, could continue as The Flagship for what the Star Trek Universe is all about.
Just like the old series, the flaws are found as much in the characters as in the over the top sets. Kirk is still a chauvinistic womanizer, Spock a supercilious schizophrenic, McCoy a cynical homespun philosopher and Scotty a swaggering sailor. But, it is in their inevitable human foible that the once clear message of Americanism is brought to fore. Humanity can boldly progress and challenge itself without losing the basic sense of what it means to be simply human - American "joes" - applying homespun American pragmatism to address the complex issues of the Universe. Into Darkness offers tears, humor and thrills in a setting that is all too familiar to those of us who grew up on the series. It is action-packed adventure that is sure to make children hop with excitement and expat adults wonder at the future of technology.
And somewhere, a disillusioned American or two will offer a prayer of hope.
Mohan's Measure - * * * *