the REVIEW: STAR TREK | INTO THE DARKNESS

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We were told that black was more slimming.

To write about this in the most briefest terms would read something like this:

Quality entertainment, with minimal effort.

Explaining what I meant would take a little longer because A) I tend to ramble and B) This film deserves a bit more effort and you deserve a bit more info.

Firstly – I am not a trekkie. I don’t even know what I was talking about up there in the synopsis but i know this. I LOVE science fiction. I do. I really really do but if I’m honest, my preference is to enjoy it on a big screen, usually with a large popcorn and a large coke. I like it loud, with loads of flashing lights, lots of fighting, poignant messages about humankind and beautiful sets. I believe that there are few things that can translate very well across any medium, romance isn’t one of them, comedy is. Science Fiction is perhaps the best. Radio plays, movies, books and TV, science fiction when done right is a fantastic no-holds barred, artistic escapism of the highest order. We’re plagued by questions of things beyond life as we know it; we’re haunted by an uncertain future and captivated by the unknown. This second instalment didn’t enhance my Sci-Fi buzz but I did enjoy it all the same.

Story: Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) ,  Spock (Zachary Quinto) and co return to Earth from a failed mission to find themselves in a battle to protect Earth and preserve the peace in another final frontier space war. This time they’re on the hunt for a particularly intelligent and extremely dangerous assailant, John Harrison, who seems hell-bent on killing each and every  human on Earth starting with those associated with the Starfleet Command. Their mission, to catch him whilst avoiding an all out war against Klingon.

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Well no one sent me the memo about the red top!

If you haven’t already seen the film, you may be thinking: What the hell is this John Harrison’s beef?  Well he’s a man with a very large chip on his perfectly sculpted shoulders and it is surprisingly early on in the film that we discover the cause. His relationship with Captain Kirk is nothing short of ego fuelled bravado. Kirk has never, up until now, been the uncool one in the room. Harrison’s swagger is unparalleled and his comebacks are better; he’s even sexy but he isn’t crippled by the insubordinate nature of James T. Kirk. He’s focused and dangerous and he’s “better…than everything”. 

In Star Trek: Into the Darkness Cumberbatch’s villain is a damned near anti-hero. I rooted for him throughout, was eager to see him on-screen constantly, and whenever the camera fixed on a close up of his steely glare, I never looked away. One of the newest character’s ended up being the sole interesting thing about this film. Which is both some of the point but also not exclusively intended. Sure the other characters provide comic relief and a solid foundation to carry the film through to the next movie but the danger just isn’t there. I cared for no one in particular but I wanted to see John Harrison do some real damage. Nothing is resolved fully, and the film ends up feeling more deflated, like a filler before a more explosive follow-up. 

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Damned invisible windows! they need to put a smudge on these things.

Pros include but are not limited to:

The soundtrack. You know I love my scores and this one composed by Michael Giacchino  makes the movie all the better, especially the already fantastic scenes featuring new addition, Cumberbatch as the evil genius John Harrison.

Spock and Harrison conversing and fighting. Two of the smartest actors playing the smartest characters on-screen? fun. Also includes one of the best chase scenes  (above) between the two smart but socially inept males.

What I do know of Spock and Captain Kirk (because lets face it, I was born into knowing about Star Trek like I was born into ‘knowing’ about MJ, neither was a choice, one was welcomed one) I feel has been successfully represented in this new hollywood franchise. Like the first film Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are simply brilliant as the verbally sparring duo who perhaps could have been early examples of the term ‘bromance’. The quick exchanges and even better timed reactions are still there. The played down seclusion of the goings-on on the USS Enterprise ship in favour of capturing a larger mainstream audience is still there. 

The all new and very imposing Klingon. These guys are lean mean fighting machines, and are just as intrinsic to the Star Trek franchise as Kirk, Spock and the immortal line “live long and prosper”

Chris Pine’s eyes and Chris Pines lips. Benedict Cumberbatch’s everything.

Relentless humour. It’s seriously funny, and if nothing else you will a warm fuzzy love for the USS Enterprise gang. 

Knowing that a deep space 5 year mission is on the cards is the only geek out moment I had; Star Trek is about to get serious guys.

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My head is actually balancing on this body, one move and it falls clean off. Honest.

Cons:

Cheap sexed up scene with Dr Carol Marcus played by the sweet Alice Eve (a decent actress who I don’t think has once delivered a role without taking her kit off) I mean – I get it, she’s hot, she’s blonde blah blah blah. By making her super smart (yay!) I feel like the movie makers felt it would justify them getting a shot without her clothes on.

The story isn’t going to blow your mind, and if you see it in 3D – don’t expect to fall out of your seat, it’s an unnecessary feature that just means you spend more money to wear stupid glasses (which in my mind is actually a fun way to spend an evening) without any of the thrill.

Karl Urban’s turn as Bones (Dr McCoy)  feels a little more forced and perhaps limited to being a so-so imitation of DeForest Kelley, and every character including  the aforementioned but with the exception of Benedict Cumberbatch is a little dull this time round, but I put that down to it all being familiar territory now.

Talking of underused. Even though I like the remodelling of the Klingon, I didn’t like how their whole story was explained away as quickly as it materialised. It’s a woeful introduction, but one I think will have more solid standing in the next film.

Leonard Nimoy – Okay, where’s the sense of adventure Quinto Spock, if you’re going to call up your ageing self from the future and find out all the deets? Boo!! somebody put Captain Nimoy Spock in a cryogenic tube.

{all images sourced from google images}
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