I Watched… (#53)

11 May

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Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

The sequel to the highly praised Star Trek (2009) has warped in to cinemas, and with with J.J. Abrams still in the captain’s chair it promises to be a memorable ride aboard the USS Enterprise.

Opening with the main Enterprise crew – including Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) and first-officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) – already mid-mission on a strange planet throws you right back into the Star Trek universe, delivering a blistering start complete with a volcanic eruption and rushed reintroductions to the crew.
Meanwhile back on Earth there is a new threat in the form of John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a rogue Starfleet agent who causes chaos before fleeing to a distant planet in Klingon space. Cue the Enterprise being sent to capture this mysterious terrorist but all is not as it seems on the Enterprise and within Starfleet command itself.

After a rather loose and slightly disjointed first act, the film comes into its own once the story and characters grow and start to fill out the space (no pun intended). The lead performances are brilliant with Chris Pine growing into his role and Quinto nailing down Spock to a T. The much awaited performance by Cumberbatch certainly delivers, from Sherlock to villain executed with flying colours. Brutal, and as good with words as a phaser, Cumberbatch plays it icy cool to great effect. More screen time for the British villain would not have gone amiss though, and by the end a Cumberbatch-craving does kick in. The supporting crew, including Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty (Simon Pegg), provide diversity and laughs and keep the pace ticking along nicely. Action, drama and comedy are blended just right by the ‘sci-fi master’ J.J. Abrams and his favoured crew of writers.
Space has rarely looked so good thanks to most of the budget going into CGI; plenty of glorious shots of spaceships and warp-speed physics will keep most sci-fi fans happy, as will the numerous references to the Star Trek TV series.

Lighter than the title suggests, Star Trek Into Darkness – once it gets to full speed – is a worthy and very enjoyable sequel that will play well with fans as well as newcomers to the Star Trek universe. Thrilling, fun and clever, a prime example of ‘how to do a summer blockbuster’; Star Wars is certainly in safe hands.

8/10

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