I need to get something off my chest. I was never really a fan of the first Star Trek reboot film, which came out back in 2009. I remember the screening I went to was on the same night as a Matt & Kim gig on K Road and I spent the whole time regretting my choice to go to the movie instead. That said, I did appreciate the movie, I wasn’t bored at any point during it, and I think the way they split the movie off from the previous 10 (TEN!) Star Trek films was pretty masterful.
Fast forward almost four years exactly and I’m standing in line at the movies almost overcome with excitement about seeing Star Trek Into Darkness, the follow up to the 2009 reboot. After a couple epic trailers and TV spots I’d been well and truly sold, especially on Benedict Cumberbatch as the film’s villain.
What followed was what I can only describe as 132 minutes of movie magic. JJ Abrams has a record of producing stuff that goes big without seeming overbaked *cough* Transformers *cough*, and he doesn’t disappoint with this latest offering. The movie kicks off with an action-packed opening scene featuring a forest chase by tribal aliens, a vertigo-inducing cliff-dive perfect for the 3D format of the film and Spock in a volcano. If “Spock in a volcano” doesn’t sound like an amazing movie opening to you then stop reading right now.
Kirk, in order to pluck Spock from the volcano and save his life, decides to defy Starfleet’s Prime Directive and reveal the USS Enterprise to the native aliens. When the crew return to Earth and Spock files a report detailing Kirk’s rule-breaking Kirk is stripped of the captain’s seat and Spock is sent elsewhere within Starfleet, causing major beef in the film’s central bromance. Finally Benedict Badass-Cumberbitch gets some screen time and boy is he vicious. The film’s antagonist makes his existence known by blowing up a Starfleet facility in London, which causes a chain of events leading to Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew reuniting to track down and destroy Cumberbatch’s villain, who may be one of the coldest, most calculating villains on the big screen in some time.
The movie doesn’t feel like it ever slows down yet somehow seems to pack some emotional punch with cracks appearing in the relationship between Spock and Uhura and the bromance between old pointy and Kirk. Big themes of trust, sacrifice and selfishness sit comfortably next to incredible interstellar set-pieces and action scenes, including a particularly incredible space-flight scene which absolutely must be seen in 3D. There are a few big reveals in the film and a few scenes which should cause long-term Star Trek fans to melt into a puddle of geekiness on the ground.
Into Darkness is a non-stop interplanetary action fest in the best possible way and bodes well for JJ Abrams’ next project: restarting a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars Episode VII. Wonderful filmmaking, an engaging story, a vicious villain and a shit-hot cast round out what will be an absolute blast of a night at the movies.
Star Trek Into Darkness opens in New Zealand on May 9 (ages before the US, suckers).
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
Directed by: JJ Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban