Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

star-trek-into-darkness

Wow. Just wow! Go and see this film if you were even slightly entertained by J.J. Abrams’ first installment of the Star Trek reboot.

Star Trek Into Darkness takes the characters we got to know from the first film and thrusts them straight into some pretty intense action. The start of the film sees Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) fleeing from a village on a red-foliaged planet being chased by the indigenous population while Sulu (John Cho), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are working to stop a volcano from erupting and destroying the planet.

This sets the tone for the rest of the film. From here there is barely a pause for breath for the remainder of the running time. You have not seen a film that rattles along as fast as this in quite some time, and it looks amazing! The colours are bright and primary the design of the worlds, starships, weapons and sets are brilliant and even the 3D wasn’t a problem for me. In fact this is probably the best use of 3D in a film that I’ve seen in a very long time. The best bits are whenever the Enterprise goes into warp where the engines stretch out into your eye sockets before disappearing leaving behind a trail of blue atoms. There’s also a good use of 3D at the beginning where the people chasing Kirk and Bones are throwing spears straight into the audience. And the signature Abrams lens flare, oh, the lens flare!

The only problem with all this action banging and crashing all around you for the entire film is that there are moments where the dialogue is lost. I feel that some of this film would be best watched with subtitles, or at least watched a few times over.

I really can’t say too much about the plot in case I give too much away (I have, however hidden a spoiler in the tags of this post, so if you don’t want to know DO NOT look down there!). Needless to say the direction is brilliant, the action scenes are slick and the comedy is more than funny enough. One of my favourite moments is where Scotty (Simon Pegg) see’s something that shocks him and he starts to exclaim “Oh shh…” cut to Kirk walking through one of the doors on the Enterprise which, when opening, continue the “shhh” sound. (An audio joke on a blog, what a good example to choose!)

In fact, I was afraid Scotty wouldn’t get as big a part as he deserves after a falling out with Kirk at the beginning of the film, but he actually becomes a more integral character towards the end of the film while also providing quite a bit of comic relief from the action going on elsewhere in the film. There is a great balance between comedy and drama in this film a lot going on simultaneously in the same scene. The drama is truly dramatic and the most dramatic actor in this film is Benedict Cumberbatch, he really plays the most malevolent, brooding, hateful character, but he also shows vulnerability and really makes you care about his history, which is the mark of a great actor.

From the moment you first hear his voice, in the opening scene with Noel Clarke, you know he’s up to no good and this turns out to be the case pretty soon. But, later in the film when Kirk confronts him, Cumberbatch gives a monologue where he spans the gamut of emotions which manipulates your emotions just as he does Kirk’s. The strange thing about his performance is that all of his acting is done with his mouth. The top two-thirds of his face doesn’t move, even when he sheds a tear (there’s a small wobble of the eyebrows and a blink, but that’s it). There is a scene where Spock is chasing him on foot through San Fransisco which is uncanny. As the camera alternates between the two Quinto has a very loose sprinting style, even his hair moves, (which could piss off the fan-boys!) whereas Cumberbatch’s body and head are completely rigid. Only his arms and legs are moving and the move like pistons on a steam locomotive,  but that visual really captured my attention and gives this insight into the character’s motivation; there is nothing else on his mind but escaping.

Zachary Quinto plays Spock brilliantly as well, he was born to play this role. He becomes a more rounded character this time round, his relationship with Uhura is a little rock and his Vulcan logic has to really grapple with his human emotions. His relationship with Kirk is intensified this time round with a couple of homoerotic moments thrown in for good measure. Plus he gets to deliver the most famous of all the lines of dialogue from Star Trek history that are peppered through this movie. And boy, does he deliver it!

Truly this is a ridiculously fun, frothy, action-packed Summer blockbuster that you need to go and see and will enjoy whether or not you are a Trek fan. Look out for some bits that hint towards Star Wars too, this film shows that J. J. Abrams is ready to take on that franchise too.

Oh, and as for crash scenes; I didn’t think Abrams could have spun out a vehicle crash longer than that train in Super 8, but there is a ‘crash’ in this that takes the biscuit…it literally lasts about 15-20 minutes. I would say ‘look out for it’, but you won’t be able not to see it!

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3 Responses to “Review: Star Trek Into Darkness”

  1. I want to see Benedict Comfy-Patch act from the jaw downwards!

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