STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
Star Trek Into Darkness opens on a note of frenzied, almost satiric busyness. For reasons initially left unexplained, and in a set piece suggesting a futuristic Raiders of the Lost Ark, Captain Kirk and "Bones" McCoy are first seen racing through a jungle of crimson foliage on a foreign planet, attempting to escape the clutches of dozens of yowling savages with black eyeballs and papier-mÃƒÂ¢ché skin. The chase eventually leads the pair to the edge of a cliff where they leap into the water below, just as Mr. Spock - much to the concern of his unusually panicked fellow crew members - beams into the belly of an active, ready-to-burst volcano. Director J.J. Abrams' franchise extender isn't even five minutes old, and between the shouting, the manically staged mayhem, the whiplash editing, and composer Michael Giacchino's pummeling score, it already feels like a typically overstuffed blockbuster sequel, yet one without any of the wit that Abrams brought to 2009's terrifically witty Star Trek reboot. But then something wonderful happens.