Right, first confession: I really can’t say that I am a long-standing Star Trek fan (or should that be Trekkie or Trekker?) Although I kinda do love watching odd episodes of the original series with its ’60s sci-fi aesthetic and belief in the positivity of space exploration.
Second confession: I was swayed to see this big budget, action-packed adventure fillum at the cinema because … it had the Cumberbatch* factor.
Following on from the 2009 Star Trek reboot, JJ Abrams has once more boldly gone into the other-worldly series created by Gene Roddenberry with all visual guns blazing. Star Trek Into Darkness is a blockbuster action movie that can even come at the audience in glorious 3D (alas, I scene it in 2D).
Leading the USS Enterprise in this film is Chris Pine as the young maverick, Captain James Kirk, with Zachary Quinto in the role of the logical Vulcan Spock, and Kiwi Karl Urban as the flight-phobic grumpy medical officer Bones. Rounding out the bromantic trio are Zoe Saldana as the feisty communications expert Lieutenant Uhura and Simon Pegg, with a bold Scottish accent, in the role of ‘Beam Me Up’, Scotty. Also on the bridge are John Cho as the steely Hikaru Sulu, and Anton Yelchi as young Chekhov, while new crew addition, Alice Eve, joins as science officer Dr Carol Marcus.
The film opens with a mission in progress, setting the scene for the high energy action to follow. Fleeing angry inhabitants on a planet striking for its use of three colours (white, yellow and red), Kirk and Bones run for their lives as Spock commences a mission to prevent the planet being incinerated by an erupting, giant volcano. In order to save Spock, Kirk goes against the Starfleet prime directive, and allows the planet’s primitive inhabitants to see the USS Enterprise blast its way out of the sea. Kirk omits the near death/people saw our spaceship details of the mission in his account to Starfleet while the logical, regulation-following Spock files an official report. The result: Kirk is demoted back to First Officer and Spock is reassigned.
However an act soon occurs that brings them back together, and Benedict Cumberbatch into the picture. Cumberbatch (John Harrison) engineers the blowing up of Starfleet’s London base before launching another attack on the Starfleet’s top command in San Francisco. The command, of course, hastily convened together to address the London bombing— all part of Harrison’s calculating scheme. After a fast, big bang thrills and spills shoot out, the Enterprise’s crew are back on the bridge, tasked with hunting Harrison down. Ultimately, as the chase with Harrison takes a different turn, Kirk has to make some life and death choices for himself, and his crew.
With stunning visual CGI effects and frenetic chase scenes, fight scenes and life-threatening challenges, Star Trek Into Darkness still has those cheesy comedic moments. Dialogue exchanges lighten the mood such as when Bones says to Kirk, “Damn it Jim, I’m a doctor, not a torpedo technician!”
As a big action flick, the movie ticks all the boxes. The bromance between Kirk and Spock could’ve done with a bit more spark as the movie dipped into the conflict between emotion and rationality. And while Uhura is at times part of the action using her Klingon comms skills, it might have been nice to have seen her and Dr Marcus playing more of a role in the high energy action. But, really, it is the super powerful villainous Harrison who completely captures your attention whenever he’s talking, fighting, or leaping across the screen.
Last confession: For a lazy, rainy afternoon film, with no attachments to the mythology of the past or thoughts to the Trekkie future, watching JJ Abrams’s crew of actors in Star Trek Into Darkness was actually kinda fun.
Layer of chocolate coating was quite modest. The almost (almost) too sweet caramel honey ice cream was balanced by chunks of chewy nougat.
*“It’s not even politeness, I won’t allow you to be my bitches. I think it sets feminism back so many notches. You are… Cumberpeople.”
Benedict Cumberbatch interviewed by Caitlin Moran for The Times.
This review is part of my log of fillums and choc top fillings, Scene It.
- Movie review: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ (utsandiego.com)
- Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) – Review (itsmuchmore.wordpress.com)
- Movie Review: Star Trek (2009) (johnreviewsmovies.wordpress.com)