Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES -

Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, Zoe Sal­dana, Alice Eve, Si­mon Pegg, Karl Ur­ban. Di­rec­tor: J. J. Abrams ( AF­TER many years al­ter­nat­ing be­tween in­ac­tiv­ity, inanity and in­sider- only fare,

was the re­cip­i­ent of a win­ning re­boot in the back­side from gifted fi lm­maker J. J. Abrams.

The con­sen­sus opin­ion was that 2009’ s ori­gin- story- driven af­fair was con­tin­u­ally bet­ter than it had to be. This time around, the be­lated se­quel

set­tles for a slight but no­tice­able down­scale of im­pact. It does what it has to. Noth­ing more, noth­ing less.

An ex­cit­ing open­ing act sees the fi lm hit the ground run­ning at a crack­ing pace, as a mis­sion to a prim­i­tive planet al­most ends in disas­ter when Spock ( Zachary Quinto) gets too close to an erupt­ing vol­cano.

When Kirk ( Chris Pine) goes against Starfl eet Com­mand pro­to­col to save his friend, he is sum­mar­ily re­lieved of his post­ing to the

But when Starfl eet HQ comes un­der ter­ror­ist at­tack from one of its own – the mys­te­ri­ously sin­is­ter John Har­ri­son ( Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch) – Kirk is soon back in the cap­tain’s chair to bring the en­emy to jus­tice.

The fa­mil­iar likes of Uhura ( Zoe Sal­dana), Bones ( Karl Ur­ban), Sulu ( John Cho), Chekov ( An­ton Yelchin) and Scotty ( Si­mon Pegg, still fi ght­ing a hi­lar­i­ously los­ing bat­tle with that half- cocked High­lands ac­cent) all have limited, yet cru­cial roles to play in the tu­mult to fol­low.

As for re­cent re­cruits, only the new science offi cer Dr Carol Mar­cus ( Alice Eve) reg­is­ters pos­i­tively on this front.

Once the sto­ry­line is clearly laid out and the many char­ac­ters are strung along it, Abrams spends the mid- sec­tion of the pic­ture pro­pel­ling the au­di­ence from one top- notch ac­tion piece to the next.

On a cin­e­matic thrill- ride ba­sis, the pro­duc­tion de­sign and spe­cial ef­fects are fi rst- class – as ex­pected it is this as­pect of

that func­tions best. How­ever, the jury may be out for some time to come on the promi­nence and worth of John Har­ri­son as the vil­lain – what he is up to and who he might be can­not be dis­cussed here be­cause of po­ten­tial spoil­ers.

Nev­er­the­less, his prime mo­ti­va­tion to wreak havoc is never clear enough to be fully un­der­stood, which is a shame as Cum­ber­batch’s in­tense por­trayal of this shad­owy fi gure war­ranted bet­ter, more co­her­ent ma­te­rial.

What the fi lm con­tin­ues to get right is the bro- man­tic chem­istry be­tween Kirk and Spock. Pine and Quinto butt heads and bounce off each other in fi ne style, enough to have you hop­ing Abrams will com­mit to a third out­ing at the helm.

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