The first thing I thought upon leaving the cinema after Star Trek Into Darkness was that Star Wars is in very safe hands. In fact I’m of the opinion that anything JJ Abrams touches is in safe hands; he just gets it. Most probably due to the fact that from the tender age of 14 he was working for Steven Spielberg, he possesses a natural ability to understand story and characters, knowing that these two elements come first.
It is this basic cinematic knowledge that makes his visual flair all the more thrilling. You know going into an Abrams movie that the important bits will be handled so well, that you don’t have to worry about the huge action set pieces being meaningless or thrown in just to get a few extra bums in seats. They are always in service of the story and are always grandiose in spectacle.
Star Trek Into Darkness is no exception to the already incredible Abrams canon. It looks stunning. This is Star Trek for the next generation (yuk yuk) and is oozing with style. Yes there is plenty of lens flare but I think by now we can get over that and just accept that it is part of Abrams visual style. The world designs are absolutely sensational. The future London on display in particular stands out for its blending of classic and sci-fi architecture.
So what of the story? Well as per the title this is a grittier Star Trek than the last. A rogue Starfleet agent is plotting to destroy everything through a combination of inside job terrorism and genetically modified super powered unstoppable-ness!!! This agent is John Harrison, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in a turn that chews up every scene in which he is featured. You will marvel at the extreme enunciation he gives every word (in true british villain style) and the genuine intimidation of his cold, piercing eyes.
“Your commanders have committed a crime I cannot forgive. None of you are safe. Have I got your attention now?”
This is also a darker film for our heroes. Chris Pine’s Kirk finds himself shipless and struggling, Zachary Quinto’s Spock struggles with emotion in the face of logic and the entire crew suffers under the weight of a seemingly endless barrage of attacks. Yes there are casualties and fatalities; given the film’s title I doubt you could expect anything less.
I think it’s safe to say I really enjoyed the film. The pacing is frenetic, making the 132 minute running time feel little more the 90, the action is glorious to behold and deftly choreographed and the story plays to all our current fears of international terrorism whilst rooting these fears in the emotional journey of the Starship Enterprise Crew.
There are some niggles with certain moments of peril not feeling all that perilous, but in a film where every moment presents some new level of danger, these few slips can be forgiven.
Oh and Robocop is the head of the Starfleet….