STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
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.