Star Trek: Into Darkness Review

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Space, final frontiers and continuing voyages of a starship christened Enterprise.

Boldly going where no-one has gone before, which apparently includes recycling plot devices from the very distant past.

The year is some very far in the future, and though the universe may be a parallel one for fans of the original star trek opus, some things remain the same.

There’s still green blooded aliens with pointy ears who are seemingly immune to human emotions, a cosmopolitan selection of amusingly accented crew from every corner of the world and then there’s James Tiberius Kirk who, even in this embryonically reimagined world of his, has managed to grab command of the Enterprise.

Still barely out of his short trousers, Kirk now finds himself responsible for the federation’s flagship, ah, ship as well as her considerable crew.

But, having been thrust into the Captain’s chair rather prematurely, is the impulsive boy known as James T ready for such responsibility?

Apparently not giving how often he seems to break his organisation’s prime directive.

So said federation strip him of his favourite ship and reinstall good old Captain Pike to the Enterprise’s hot seat.

Having finally used up all his dumb luck, the man formerly known as Captain Kirk heads to the nearest bar so he can drown his sorrows.

But who should be there to pick him up, none other than his surrogate father in arms, Pike.

He wants Kirk back on the enterprise as his first officer, and his presence may be needed now more than ever as the Federation comes under attack from a new, tyrannical foe

After his successful reboot of Gene Roddenberry’s original science fiction classic, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness has become one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year.

Star Trek: Into Darkness

But the question everyone wants to know is does it live up to the hype?

The short answer is yes.

Picking up from where Abrams’ first Star Trek left off, we find Captain Kirk, Spock and friends all aboard the Enterprise attempting a dashing feat of daring do in alien territory.

Naturally, there’s no real danger for the crew; this is the first scene and it ain’t a Wes Craven script, so no-one important’s getting capped in the first five minutes.

But it sets the tone for some breath-taking special effects and pretty good action scenes to come.

The cast is nigh on perfect for their parts, with each of the new incarnations of the famous crew continuing to make these roles their own.

Chris Pine embodies a picture perfect young James T Kirk, and I’m not just saying that because we’re born on the same day, Zachary Quinto has a quiet authority as a modern Spock who can fight as well as think his way out of most any situation, and the chemistry between him and the über gorgeous Zoe Saldana as Uhura adds a nice relationship spin on the more familiar Star Trek dynamics.

As for the rest, Simon Pegg continues to provide comic relief as Scotty, the same goes for Karl Urban’s soundbite version of Dr “Bones” McCoy, while Benedict Cumberbatch keeps calm and carries on flying the flag for British talent as the mysterious and menacing John Harrison.

That’s the good stuff, but Star Trek: Into Darkness isn’t all great.

The set up at the beginning of the film is convenient at best, with the heavy handed “this time it’s personal” theme crowbarred into Captain Kirk’s narrative arc particularly jarring.

The music is often way too far over the top, and there’s a scene in the final act that stretches Into Darkness’ credibility to breaking point, as a little bit of Star Trek history gets mashed up and repeated but feels both lazy and unnecessary.

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness is bigger and better than his first instalment and it’s guaranteed to delight fans new and old alike.

But I’d rather the writers were a little more bold in creating some bright new sci-fi moments to call their own, instead of resurrecting classic Star Trek scenes from the past.

Jonathan Campbell

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May 2013
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