Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Running time: 132 minutes
So there I was, sitting in my gloriously comfy Gold Class chair. My feet were propped up, I had a nice glass of scotch in my hands and I was watching Star Trek Into Darkness, when suddenly my girlfriend reached across to hold my hand. I looked over to her and she had this wonderful look of awe on her face and she leaned over to me and whispered: “this is so cool!”
That, right there, is the success of J.J. Abrams and his rebooted Star Trek series. J.J. Abrams has made Star Trek “cool”.
Now Showing this week is Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J.J. Abrams and sequel to his Star Trek reboot film from 2009. The spoiler-free version is that following a terrorist attack, the Federation is in disarray. The perpetrator of the attack, a man known as John Harrison, has fled to Klingon space where he knows the Federation will fear to follow. But the blow to the Federation has pushed Captain Kirk to a lust for vengeance and he has demanded to go after Harrison, and hopefully not start a war with the Klingons in the process….
There is a lot I can’t talk about in this review for the sake of spoilers, but I shall say what I can to try to convince you of just how good this film is. I mentioned earlier that Abrams has made Star Trek “cool”, and he has done that through strong characterisation. The cast of characters aboard the Enterprise all quite rich and interesting, leading to a great ensemble, albeit with some characters being left behind. But the highlight of the cast is of course the characters of Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). The “bro-mance” between Kirk and Spock is excellent, and is especially heightened in Into Darkness. The seeds sown in Star Trek have grown into some brilliant relationships. Spock is such a fascinating character, as his stone cold logic combined with his human emotions make for some brilliant perspectives on the many ethical dilemmas that occur in Into Darkness. And as for Kirk himself, while he may have learned some humility in Star Trek, his ego certainly hasn’t left him. He believes himself to be infallible, but all it takes is a man like John Harrison to prove him wrong…
Speaking of, Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as John Harrison is phenomenal, and he steals the show. Much mystery has surrounded the identity of Cumberbatch’s villain, and whilst I won’t reveal his true identity here rest assured that Trekkie fans will be pleased with the outcome. Harrison is as formidable as he is mysterious, with intentions and motivations that are both horrifying and touching. And coupled with a deep, commanding voice that will chill your blood, and Harrison is a villain for the ages. To put it simply, the guy has presence! I get the feeling his career is about the skyrocket.
Visually, Into Darkness is a marvel to behold. I know a lot of people complained about the bright, lens-flare look of Star Trek, but I rather enjoyed it. We have a science fiction epic that is colourful, vibrant and riddled with wonderful design choices, something that I welcome back into the fold after so many gritty, dark tales of late. But the visual effects of the film are mind-bogglingly amazing! The details in all the spaceships, cities and planets that are shown in the film are all wonderfully realised, along with the quality of the action sequences themselves being amazingly intense. Combining handi-cam work with special effects, it was some of the best spaceship battles since Joss Whedon’s Serenity!
To wrap up, Star Trek Into Darkness is most definitely worth your time. It took what made the previous reboot work, the strong characterisation, visual effects; and built upon them to create a film that I believe strives ahead of its predecessor. Sure, some characters were left out of the spotlight but with a thrilling narrative, and a villain to be reckoned with, Into Darkness is definitely a contender for the best blockbuster of the year (I personally liked it more than Iron Man 3). There are also some nice original series references in there for the Trekkies (one in particular sadly led me to laugh when I really shouldn’t have!) if you can spot them. Once again, I shall reiterate my point: go see Star Trek Into Darkness.
See you next time!