Star Trek Into Darkness opens with a great action scene as Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) are on the run from an indiginous tribe in a land that hasn’t even discovered electricity, while Spock (Zachary Quinto) is lowered into an active volcano to set off a device that’ll render the volcano inert. Unfortunately, his guiding rope snaps and he’s stuck down there. It’s no secret to say that somehow he gets out because otherwise he wouldn’t be in the rest of the film and all fans will have seen him in other clips in the trailer.
At the same time, the Enterprise ends up revealing itself to the tribe which, when this is discovered by Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood), it angers him and he ends up taking control of the Enterprise himself and demoting Kirk to First Officer, with Spock being placed elsewhere. However, before you can blink, rogue Starfleet officer John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) rears his ugly head and kicks off with all guns blazing, the end result being that all is back as it should be at the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Harrison also helps Thomas Harewood (Noel Clarke), a worker at the secret London installation Section 31, by providing a phial that contains the solution to his baby’s illness. But at what price?
And given that it’s a Star Trek film, the Klingons just have to make an obligatory appearance.
I felt Star Trek Into Darkness was pretty much fine for the first hour, but then started to descend into crash/bang/wallop and disappear up its own backside.
Benedict Cumberbatch made for a great bad guy, up until the point where he had a secret to divulge, at which point the feel of the movie rather derailed and never quite got back on track. It did so only a little once he got back into the full flow of the character – the change in pace happening for reasons you’ll see when you watch it – but then it became clear they couldn’t really think of a decent ending and so tacked on something that felt like it was written on the back of a cigarette packet in the pub, one Friday afternoon.
It was also rumoured, beforehand, that we’d get the return of a major baddie who we’d come across before (I won’t name them here, but even a quick glance at the cast list on IMDB will tell you this), and when it does happen it feels like a damp squib compared to how I originally remember the character. Perhaps that’s because it’s a bad guy from the best Star Trek film that was ever made, in my view, and so to revisit them in the reboot just makes me wish they could’ve come up with someone new if they didn’t know how to handle the character.
With regards to the rest of the cast, I don’t think newcomer Alice Eve can act her way out of a paper bag, nor do I think that Pine makes for an effective Kirk. I thought precisely the same with the previous film. He just doesn’t gel as the character, in my view. William Shatner had charisma, whereas Pine is… well, as wooden as pine. Conversely, Quinto and Urban make spot-on Spock and Bones, although the latter doesn’t get as much to do. And while I like Simon Pegg in his British comedy roles (eg. Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), he comes across as a fish out of water in his American outings. I just don’t get why he’s such a draw for the Hollywood studios. Here, he has a cod-Scottish accent, whereas for part of the first film, it was like he didn’t even bother to try!
The only other cast member of note is Peter Weller as Admiral Marcus, an actor who’s always worth a watch.
Now, I’m a big fan of 3D films, but I chose to see this on in 2D because that’s how it was filmed.
The 3D was applied entirely in post-production and I heard that with this film there wasn’t much in the way of 3D to get excited about. I’m also a fan of IMAX presentations, but only 28 minutes out of the 132-minute running time was shot in IMAX, and even then it’s questionable as to whether it would be shown with those scenes as they were intended – in the IMAX theatrical ratio of 1.44:1. I understand that there’s only three such prints being made available in the UK and that those are for 15/70 projection systems – which my local Odeon (Manchester) has recently ditched in favour of a digital system, which can only open up the ratio to 16:9. I understand they still have the original system to hand so can still project that way if necessary, but for this film they have confirmed they are showing it in digital projection. Hence, I’m not going to pay top whack for a compromised image.
Star Trek: Into Darkness – more like “Star Trek going into darkness and noise and nonsense” – has a meaty budget at $185m, although it’s clear that the hype generated for it will claw that back in time to cover all the marketing costs involved once Blu-ray, DVD & PPV sales are taken into account – and note that a film generally has to take three times the budget to do that. The previous film’s budget, $140m, was mostly doubly recouped by the time it left U.S. cinemas alone.
Running time: 132 minutes
Released: May 9th 2013
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Director: JJ Abrams
Producers: JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci
Screenplay: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof
Music: Michael Giacchino
Kirk: Chris Pine
Spock: Zachary Quinto
Uhura: Zoe Saldana
Bones: Karl Urban
Scotty: Simon Pegg
Sulu: John Cho
John Harrison: Benedict Cumberbatch
Chekov: Anton Yelchin
Admiral Pike: Bruce Greenwood
Admiral Marcus: Peter Weller
Carol: Alice Eve
Thomas Harewood: Noel Clarke
Rima Harewood: Nazneen Contractor
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.