Thursday, 9 May 2013
REVIEW: STAR TREK-INTO DARKNESS
133 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Alice Eve, Anton Yelchin & Bruce Greenwood. Director: J. J. Abrams.
Space...this directors first fronteir. When J. J. Abrams boldly started his voyage and rebooted 'Star Trek' back in what seems like yesteryear in 2009 it was already way cooler to be a geek in today's science fiction to fact world. Still with his next generation of 'trekkies' aboard he added more big bang to that theory with his new enterprise that was both fun and fascinating. Setting the faces of conventional fans and just regular movie goers alike to stun he boldly took this franchise to new places in just one movie. With the best reboots of a recycled age he gave us an instant classic that would make Gene Roddenberry proud. George Lucas was watching and it's no wonder he handed the reigns of the force to J.J. It's his world now and he's out of this universe. The new batch of seeked out 'Star Wars' films under Disney comes next, but first is the most anticipated sequel in years and what will arguably be the best blockbuster of this Sci-Fi 365. 'Star Trek-Into Darkness' looks to further narrow the divide between original and new Star Trek fans alike as J.J. looks to bring together the Star 'Wars' and 'Trek' ones in his career.
From the inspired introductions to the terrific thread of the new story the first film was light and loved. Now as brilliant as it was you can't just duplicate your success again. J.J. knew he had to go in a different route and that's why he plunged this film 'Into Darkness' at warp speed. The dark themes fuelled by a villain full of hatred may not be as fun and favourable as the first, but in the dark age of Hollywood ('The Dark Knight Rises' 'Dark Of The Moon', 'Thor: The Dark World'...the defence rests) this serious series still adds relief. There's laughter amongst the languish too what more can you expect from the most charismatic and charming cast since that guy with the hammer fell out of the sky and joined the man of iron and the one of green? Bar a missing apperance by Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame as the ghost of Kirk's (and perhaps some Shatner) dad (which gave the first film it's energetic punch of emotion right out the gate) this sequel has it all, but if we where to reveal then we really would spoil one of the greatest films of this year which has everything you could love about this franchise and more twists and turns then Chinese burns. J.J. has done it again...and we aren't just talking about the overuse of lens flares.
The cast who made these iconic characters their own are back and as brilliant as ever showing just how much they are the people they are playing. Back in the captain's chair Chris Pine is as cocksure, charismatic and charming as ever. So much he could even make Robert Downey Jnr seem shy. The first film made him a star (see 'Unstoppable', 'This Means War' and his next formidable franchise turn as Jack Ryan following in Harrison Ford's footsteps) and now this leading man raises his game along with this films stakes. By his side Zachary Quinto is a hero once again as Spock. With Leonard Nimoy's blessing, this new Spock really is crafting the complexities of this character logically and brilliantly. By his side Zoe Saldana is great as Nyota Uhura. The 'Avatar' star for sure has another string to her Sci-Fi bow. Speaking of which Karl Urban may have starred in the dreadful 'Dredd' reboot, but here he continues to earn his bones as Leonard McCoy. With Simon Pegg's comic relief power as Scotty and John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin Chekov on the con convincingly the crew is complete. Bruce Greenwood's inspired Pike couldn't be more prouder in handing over the chair.
Alice Eve makes a nice addition as Dr. Carol Marcus but the additon to this franchise that really makes it favourite is Benedict Cumberbatch's villian. Being escorted by red-shirts (boy does it look like those guys are going to get it) and standing behind a glass prison with his manipulation of our heroes uncaged it looks like the Brit is doing his best Loki impression. Still Tom Hiddleston's 'War Horse' co-star makes this baddie his own and just like Loki could arguably be last years best bad guy, Benedict raises the bar for this years coronation. The man that's about to breathe fire into 'The Hobbit's dragon slays this performance with a sensational sinister streak that engulfs everything in its path. The 'Prime Directive' here is for a great film whose emotional and dramatic scenes can even bust the blocks of the energetic effects of the special graphics brought to the table. From space to new San Francisco, the landscape of this film is awesome. The portraits of the characters however is what's truly amazing. Some of the magic from the first film may be missing but the trick here is in the dialogue and plot trade. As thrilling as it is action packed and exciting this is one energised sequel. J.J. has done it again mixing homage with his own Science-Fiction fantasy age. Now just wait until the real war of the stars happens. This is far from the final fronteir. TIM DAVID HARVEY.