Star Trek Into Darkness | Film Review

star-trek-into-darkness-poster-largeSince the broadcast of the original TV series in 1966, Star Trek has had so many sequels, reboots, re-inventions and spin offs that it becomes quite laborious to calculate. But never has the franchise received the widespread appeal given by its JJ Abrams (Director) reenactment, which began with his aptly titled Star Trek (2009) and now continues with Star Trek Into Darkness.

Starting more or less where Star Trek left off, Into Darkness follows the exploits of Captain Kirk and his First Officer Spock as they “go where no man has gone before, explore new worlds and new civilisations” whilst perpetually debating the value of reason against intuition, blow things up, almost get killed, introduce pre-modern beings to advance technology by accident and basically unleash mayhem.

If I reveal too much more of the plot I’ll risk ruining the movie – but in brief it goes like this: a building gets blown up in London, lots of people die, Noel Clark (Doctor Who, Kidulthood) appears, the perpetrator is quickly revealed, numerous Starfleet officers plan to catch the bad guy and then, quite literally, all hell breaks loose. And that’s pretty much the sum of it.

If I were comparing the two, I would say that Star Trek had the stronger story and more charismatic performances, while Into Darkness severely out trumps its predecessor in terms of style, music, visual-effects and thrills in general. One of the film’s numerous flaws is that it seems to care very little about its overall story and more about its plot. Despite the elaborate and elegantly shaped narrative, both the characters and the context of that narrative seem underplayed a little and Into Darkness risks being slightly too surface at times. This has been one of the great failings of so many Star Trek movies and I hope its something writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof rectify in the inevitable follow up movie.

Zachary Quinto as Spock and Benerdict Cumberbatch as arch villain John Harrison both perform considerably better then the rest of the cast; while Chris Pine as James T Kirk lacks the charm he seemed to posses in the earlier film and Zoe Saldana as Uhura does very little else but look pretty and stand by her Vulcan.

Despite all of the above, it cannot be denied that Into Darkness’ opening scene and several others are exhilarating to the point that they are frightening. The glossy, shimmering, three-dimensional texture of Daniel Mindel’s cinematography is worth seeing the film for alone and the ways in which Michael Giacchino’s spectacular score comments on the action is terrific.

The first time the USS Enterprise goes into warp-speed I could hardly believe what I was seeing; a stream of electric blue lights, which look like tears, bursting out of a screen against the blackness of space. Brilliant. For anybody that merely enjoys losing themselves in reverting sights and sounds, Into Darkness is clearly a work of art.