Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

Exhilarating science-fiction adventure sequel following the exploits of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), a cocky young captain and member of the Starfleet intergalactic peacekeeping organisation. After defying direct orders and endangering a mission to save the life of his First Officer, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Kirk is stripped of his captaincy and beloved ship, the USS Enterprise. But when a catastrophic terrorist attack orchestrated by the mysterious John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) destroys a Starfleet base in London, there is no choice but to reinstate him. James and his loyal crew are charged with pursuing Harrison across the galaxy and bringing him to justice. Discovering more about the man and his motives, the crew of the Enterprise are left stranded in space contemplating who their enemy really is, and the right course of action.

As all big-budget science fiction blockbusters should, it looks incredible – vastly detailed tactile sets and well realised visual effects create a believable future world that is both glossy and gritty. The depiction of London is particularly imaginative, melding classic architecture and immense glass and steel structures in a way that is already taking shape in today’s capital. Frenetic camera work and heavy use of Abraham’s trademark lens flare instil a constant sense of movement and energy that never allows the screen a moment's rest, making events seem closer and more personal, as if we are physically aboard the ship.

Rapidly paced, it tears through the 2 hour running time in a cavalcade of explosive action and witty dialogue – it may not live long (and prosper) in the memory but the journey is such audacious fun that a re-watch would never be unwelcome. Narratively it has a few problems and missteps that prevent it hanging together as well as it might – a shame, because the core conceit about terrorism is an interesting one that benefits from the accessibility of the genre – but it’s far too relentlessly entertaining for this to really matter.

Points lost for storytelling are more than made up by Into Darkness’s greater focus on character. The bickering relationship between the cold, logical Spock and cocksure Kirk lights up the screen through the electric chemistry between Quinto and Pine. Mainly played for laughs, their bond is so strong that several quieter moments they share are as touching and filled with pathos as they should be. Testament to the razor sharp script and their charismatic performances, the exposition is as enjoyable as the action – if not more so. The real standout performance is that of Cumberbatch who conjures up the time-honoured British thespian villain with devastating effect – eloquent, erudite and ruthless.

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is a superficial but thrilling piece of Hollywood sci-fi that is effortlessly funny and thoroughly rapturous. Pure escapism that transports you both into the future, and back to your childhood.

★★★★☆

[ 2013 — Dir: J.J. Abrams — 132 mins — 12A cert — IMDb ]

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