I saw Star Trek Into Darkness last night. Out of respect for our American friends who won’t see the film for another week, I am not going to give a proper review with spoilers. I Will however give some of my initial thoughts.
Star Trek Into Darkness began much the way a James Bond film would, with the crew of the Enterprise neck-deep in an existing mission. This sequence was great because it showed us the characters in their normal environment doing what they do best. It was an action-packed sequence with lots of both emotion and visual spectacle. Not only was this a fun opening chapter to the story, it actually set in place a lot of the character arc that will play out for Kirk and Spock.
The early part of the movie deals with the fallout from Kirk’s extremely rapid promotion from cadet to captain in the previous film (something a lot of fans found hard to swallow). This was done very well, and gave us some great scenes between Admiral Pike and Kirk.
The scenes on Earth were very grounded, giving us a good sense of normal 23rd century life (a blanced mixture of the familiar and the fantastic). It isn’t long before we’re plunged into the middle of a terrorist story. Kirk is charged with an important mission, bring a fugitive to justice, and try to prevent rising tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire from errupting into war.
There were plenty of surprises along the way that I’m dying the talk about, but that will have to wait for another time. There was one scene that I’m really not sure about, but it does show that the writers are continuing to pay respect to the fact that we are now in an alternate timeline, and that there is still a prime time-line out there. This played a greater part in the story than I expected. I’m glad that the writers are seeing their time-line meddling as more than just an excuse to “reboot” the franchise, and then forget about it.
The characters in this film were still not quite the Enterprise crewmembers that we remember from the original series, but by the end of the film we get a feeling that these people have now ‘arrived’. Now it’s really Star Trek.
The guest actors gave very good performances, introducing us to some interesting characters. Peter Weller’s character turned out to be more important than I had anticipated. He was great. Alice Eve played somebody who will be familiar to any Star Trek fan. Her character could have been given more to do in the film, but I suspect she will continue to grow in importance in the next movie. As for Benedict Cumberbatch, I was expecting great things from him, having seen a little of his work as Holmes on Stephen Moffat‘s brilliant BBC series Sherlock. Cumberbatch didn’t disapoint. He protrayed a chilling and powerful vilain, more than worthy to oppose our heros.
Kirk (Chris Pine) confronts John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch)
As with Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness was actually two different movies. If you’re a general movie goer, you’ll see an exciting sci-fi action film with plenty of heart. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll see so much more.
There are a few things that I could nitpick (as a fanboy) which I’ll mention in a later post, but all in all, Star Trek Into Darkness was an awesome movie, even better than the 2009 film. Watching it the first time was a magical experience and I can’t wait to see it again.