Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

****1/2

Reviewed by: Stuart Crawford

There's been a lot of speculation in recent months over whether Star Trek Into Darkness will see the return of a huge fan favourite to the franchise. It gives me great pleasure to announce that yes, the tribble is back. Sure, it only makes a cameo appearance, but it's a scene-stealer.

The tribble is not Benedict Cumberbatch.


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Did everyone enjoy 2009's Star Trek reboot? I certainly did: it was an inherently enjoyable romp with more than enough charm to cover its many flaws. I'm still surprised when I find the occasional person who's indifferent or actively opposed. This time around: less charm, but fewer flaws.

Into Darkness ably addresses the two main criticisms leveled at its predecessor: the plot was nonsense and the villain was rubbish. The baddie's been beefed up, the plot's been pared down, but the emotional core which really sold the first film — the magnificent character interaction — remains unscathed. Everyone gets their own chance to shine, though the Kirk-Spock dynamic takes up most of the screentime.

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There's plenty of screentime. Into Darkness weighs in at over two hours, and it doesn't mess about. We're into a ridiculous action set-piece from the get-go, in a scene that effortlessly captures the personality of the original series. Fan-pleasing references are littered throughout, from minor character names to major plot points to the aforementioned tribble, with some interesting role reversals and another cameo from Leonard Nimoy. It's impossible to say much more without spoiling the plot, but rest assured the film bounces along for the full two hours, holding attention principally through the strength of the key performances.

Cumberbatch carries on the grand tradition of British Hollywood villains, with flashes of both Hans Gruber and Dr Hannibal Lecktor evident in his portrayal of a charming sociopath. Lesser actors would struggle to keep up; it's a testament to Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto that they manage to hold their own. Another unexpected treat is Peter Weller, a criminally underrated actor who'll hopefully pick up some more high-profile roles off the back of this one.

As with the 2009 offering, the visuals are stunning, the cinematography dynamic and engaging, the vfx superb. At times it feels rather like watching someone else playing a videogame, but these scenes are few and thankfully brief. We may be going where we've already gone before, but we're plenty bold about it.

Reviewed on: 09 May 2013
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With Starfleet in chaos and other ships destroyed, the crew of the USS Enterprise must venture alone to a dangerous world where one man could hold the fate of the galaxy in his hands.
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Director: J J Abrams

Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Leonard Nimoy

Year: 2013

Runtime: 132 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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