Star Trek Into Darkness 3D Review
1J.J. Abrams has to be one of the most infuriating people active in Hollywood at the moment. Whilst I acknowledge than many adored it for it's bravery in ignoring any unwritten rules of television, Lost was, for me, a completely demoralising experience - each to their own I guess. There's definitely a consistency to Abrams work, and though I don't think I'll ever hold him in any great regard when it comes to storytelling, one thing you can be sure of is that he knows how to do action.
Has he managed to boldly go beyond what's expected of him by tackling perhaps one of the most visceral and emotionally charged storylines in Star Trek's history?
Answer: He comes damn close, Jim.
Unfortunately though, the sequel to his colourful re-imagining of Star Trek – here rather unimaginatively titled “Star Trek: Into Darkness” which could mean literally anything - falls a little short of being much more than a punchy, well choreographed space actioner. Pretty quickly, we find that we're being overwhelmed with lens flare, dazzled by beautiful CG imagery, and playfully tossed around by the sharp and witty bro-mance script. You know what though? I'm ok with it. You get what you signed up for – a big budget blockbuster with plenty of action, pock-marked with plenty of explosions and character reaction. Of course, I say this having known little to nothing about the storyline he had planned for us. By now I'm sure many, if not all of you who have any interest in the Star Trek universe will know the general plot he chose to tackle – for those that don't, suffice it to say, it's pretty sacred material to mess around with. If he was going to do it at all, he knew he was declaring “Open Season” for criticism. Foolish? Selfish? Call it what you will – I think it was bold move. So, keeping things spoiler free, how did he do?
Well, I'm not that huge a trekkie if I'm honest, and for my part, I was happy enough to go along with things. It makes sense – protagonist versus antagonist, loyalties being challenged, emotionally charged sequences invite questions about truth and honour, all the while the movie is happily stumbling from one blisteringly huge out set piece to another. It's the veritable action packed roller coaster ride of a movie, but the storyline is not distracting, and his narrative definitely adds to the visual eye-candy that we're never more than a couple of minutes away from throughout.
He's assembled much the same cast as his first outing on the Starship Enterprise, and once again the stand out on screen chemistry between Chris Pine's cheeky James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto's overbearingly logical Spock sizzles brilliantly. Another foray into the Scottish accent for Simon Pegg sadly doesn't disappoint less this time around, but Och, it's no too bad eh? Binding the cast together in Into Darkness is the appropriately dark and brooding presence of Benedict Cumberbatch who plays a mysterious and frighteningly articulate villain, easily filling the size 12's that Eric Bana left under the bed for him.In fact, it's Cumberbatch's presence that lends the movie it's only real credible element of seriousness. It was obvious to me that, if he wanted to, he could out-act any of his fellow cast members with ease and grace, but rather commendably, he manages to find a balance between proper acting and overacting that sit's just right opposite his Hollywood trained counterparts. Without him, it's little more than Lethal Weapon in space only, with bigger explosions and way more lens flare. Abrams can be a terribly frustrating artist. He may not be a gifted story teller – I need no more proof than Super 8 to convince me of that - but as far as a groundbreaking visual aesthetic goes, you'd be hard pushed to find someone more fearless when it comes to venturing boldly into the unknown with computer graphics and good looking and visual aesthetic – it looks fantastic. With a satisfactory story, at least to my non-trekkie demeanour, and a snappy cast, Abrams has managed to deliver all the right ingredients for a successful sequel that, upon reflection, could have ended up being far, far worse. Worth a watch if you're in on a saturday night in front of the big screen.
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