At the Movies - Star Trek Into Darkness - review

Chris Pine as James T. Kirk (right), Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan (centre) and Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock.

Chris Pine as James T. Kirk (right), Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan (centre) and Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock.

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It’s taken almost ten years but J.J. Abrams has finally won me over.

I thought Abrams’ first season of hit American television series ‘Lost’ to be some of the best television I’d seen in years but the proceeding seasons were laden with contrivance and nonsense. Safe to say ‘Star Trek - Into Darkness’ does not suffer the same fate.

Abrams is to Hollywood what Jose Mourinho is to the world of football; many movie fans see him as the ‘Special One’.

Abrams is as talented a director as he is producer and writer but his latest offering to the cinema gods is perhaps is most awesome yet.

Let’s face it, when it comes to watching movies in 3D it’s as decisive a topic as say a united Ireland. Be that as it may, I have to say whilst I watched the midnight showing of ‘Star Trek - Into Darkness’ in the Brunswick Moviebowl in the early hours of Thursday morning my jaw dropped open on more than one occasion.

‘Star Trek - Into Darkness’ picks up where Abrams’ 2009 film ‘Star Trek’ left off - on board the USS Enterprise.

Captain James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine - ‘Smoking Aces’ and ‘Unstoppable’) takes the USS Enterprise and its crew on a fact finding mission to the primitive Planet Nibiru, Kirk’s orders are simple; gather information subtly and do not let the indigenous tribe see you. As Commander Christopher Pike says later. The Nibiru are so primitive that ‘they haven’t invented the wheel yet’.

In typical Kirk fashion, the mission does not go according to plan and after failing to follow orders Kirk is stripped of the Enterprise’s command and is demoted to first officer.

At the same time, a rogue Star Fleet agent, John Harrison, (Benedict Cumberbatch - ‘Tinker, Tailor. Soldier, Spy’ and ‘War Horse’), wreaks havoc in modern day London and then sets out to assassinate the Star Fleet command.

Harrison escapes to the Klingon home world of Qo’noS and Kirk takes command of the Enterprise once again and is ordered to track Harrison down and kill him.

Obviously, there’s much more to the aforementioned plot than meets the eye but that would be spoiling things but it’s a cracker of a story.

If you thought the chemistry between Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock was good in the 2009 movie then it’s even better in ‘Star Trek - Into Darkness’.

Pine and Quinto bounce off one another like a galactic Ant and Dec. The laughs and tears are believable and like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy the audience Kirk and Spock from the 70s and 80s, you sense the friendship between the two men is real and heartfelt.

Cumberbatch plays the part of the movie villain with impeccable brutality and ruthlessness.

British born Cumberbatch is without question one of the most versatile and talented actors around and it’s hard to believe he’s gone from playing a homosexual MI6 agent in ‘Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy’ to taking on the role of a super villain in ‘Star Trek - Darkness’.

Happily, Simon Pegg (‘Spaced’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’) gets more screen time as the Enterprise’s favourite Scot - Lieutenant Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott.

Whilst Pegg’s Scottish accent leaves a lot to be desired he is brilliantly funny, loyal and amusing.

Actors aside, the best performance of the film is Abrams.

Abrams’ penchant for action and drama is without question, literally breath-taking.

There’s a scene about half way through the film where Kirk leads a raiding party on to the homeland of the Klingons. The battle is tremendous and it’s obvious Abrams has opted for real stunts as opposed to Computer Generated Imagery (C.G.I.).

There are parts of the film that would be impossible to do without C.G.I. and they are the ones that left me with my mouth wide open.

Abrams blend of real life stunts and C.G.I. is fabulous.

In one scene the USS Enterprise falls through the clouds only for it to rise through the clouds again, seconds later - it’s just phenomenal movie making.

‘Star Trek - Into Darkness’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl; for full listings visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com

VERDICT: 4/5 - Abrams has been given the task of re-launching the ‘Star Wars’ franchise and if his treatment of ‘Star Trek’ is anything to go on then it’s safe to say George Lucas’ creation is in safe hands. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is an extremely enjoying science fiction/action movie. The writing is on the money and the casting is flawless. Pine’s Kirk, Quinto’s Spock and Cumberbatch’s Harrison are all superb but Abrams is the star of the show.