Saturday, 11 May 2013

Film Review: Star Trek into Darkness

J.J. Abrams stepped up to the plate to reboot the Star Trek film franchise in 2009. A major undertaking given the popularity and cult following that Star Trek has.
His use of real locations, the anamorphic format, intelligent improvisation and the fact that the film was written to go down a different time line as opposed to a direct copy of the original's resulted in a fantastic product. One that I saw as a brilliant start to what should be a solid new series of films.
This year he has brought us the second instalment of his reboot, Star Trek into Darkness.
Into Darkness brings us the crew from the first film; including Simon Pegg as Scotty, Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock and John Cho as Sulu, and throws them into a conflict against the films main antagonist, John Harrison portrayed by the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch.
The film wastes no time jumping right into the action, shocking us with one of the darkest fears of all, the potential death of Spock at the hands of a rather angry volcano. A scene that is used to highlight the bonds the Enterprise Crew have formed and built on since the last film, including the awkward bromance between Kirk and Spock and Spock's relationship with Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana).
Spock's apparent lack of concern for his own potential demise sets the tone for character interactions with him for much of the coming conflict with the mysterious John Harrison (really glad they didn't go with 'John Smith').

The motive behind John Harrison's attack on London and subsequent escape from Star Fleet territory appear  to be undecipherable to the best minds Star Fleet has to offer. That is of course except for our hero Kirk. Demanding to be reinstated as captain of the Enterprise after loosing his command due to the volcano incident Kirk sets off into enemy territory to hunt down Harrison.

Into Darkness has all the same stunning visual and audio effects of the first film. Sets and locations that clearly had a lot of time and thought put into them really immerse you in the environment and draw you into the story.
Subtle, and some not so subtle references and tributes to the original Star Trek films bring the avid Trekkie, like myself, a great sense of nostalgia whilst also providing real emotional and entertaining sequences for us, and new fans as well (the introduction of a Tribble certainly got me smiling). Linking the new timeline to the pre-existing mythology to point out how it has altered is intricate and genius.

All in all this was a good film, proving yet again what a genius director J. J. Abrams is. I want to say that major credit also has to go to the writers, Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof for a creating a script that allows such wonderment to be made, but I feel like it would be a lie. Whilst the action scenes in the film are fantastic I have a major issue with the story telling. It's like they need to stop after each section and have a standing and talking section to explain it, basically spoon feeding it to us.
Performances from the cast were strong all round. Pegg's comic timing and clear love of what he is doing really shining through and Quinto once again portraying Spock's emotional conflicts and idealistic heroism brilliantly.
The real star of the show however was Cumberbatch. His portrayal of the menacing John Harrison brought a real power to every scene he was in. Harrison's overwhelming presence and the knowledge of his own immense power could not have been presented better.

Worth a watch on the big screen, I give Star Trek into Darkness 3.5 out of 5.

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