Cover story: Stars align for another Trek .......................
Director JJ Abrams boldly delivers again on Star Trek Into Darkness, writes Toni Mason
JJ Abrams brought legions of non- Star Trek fans into cinemas with his 2009 reinvention of the Gene Roddenberry-originated TV series.
Star Trek Into Darkness proves he’s no one-hit wonder with its heartstopping action and eyepopping visual effects topped off by a genuinely moving storyline.
Opening on an obviously alien planet with Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine) and Dr Leonard ‘‘Bones’’ McCoy (Kiwi actor Karl Urban) unsuccessfully attempting to avoid detection by its unsophisticated natives, the full-tilt action begins right away and only pauses occasionally through the film to allow you to regain your breath.
There’s a new villain – rogue Starfleet insider John Harrison, magnificently portrayed by the superb Benedict Cumberbatch ( Sherlock), who uses his manipulative skills to strike against the heart of his organisation.
There’s some added girl power on the Enterprise as Starfleet officer Dr Carol Marcus adds her scientific skills to those of Spock, once again played to pointy-eared perfection by Zachary Quinto.
There are more than enough references from the various incarnations of the Trek world to please hardened fans – although fortunately only one Tribble shows its fluffy, um, whatever it is Tribbles have.
But what is sure to please most movie-goers is the way Abrams and his writers – Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof – have created an immediately recognisable world, despite the fact it’s peopled by aliens and driven by technology far beyond present-day understanding. Heroes in this world have their flaws and may not be what they seem; villains have motivations we can understand and with which we can empathise.
With a tightly-crafted storyline, its expected but still impressive special effects, plus some intense scenes of physical combat that will have you wincing, Star Trek Into Darkness is a great example of what big-budget moviemaking should be about.
Fans will only be hoping the association of Abrams and the new incarnation of Star Wars will prove to be as exciting and refreshing as his two trips ‘‘where no man has gone before’’ have been so far.
More importantly, those who only dipped their toes into Star Trek after his first effort will be bringing along their friends and relatives to immerse themselves in Abrams’ re-imagined universe, where we hope he’ll be staying for years to come.
Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) in
Star Trek Into Darkness.