If Abrams’ copious lens flares and Chris Pine’s distractingly dazzling yet somewhat unearthly blue eyes aren’t visually assaulting the audience, they are lavished with consistent beauty and finesse brought to the screen by advanced high resolution IMAX cameras employed by a creative artist more than capable of crafting an accessible and thrilling Sci-Fi chef d’oeuvre. Despite jumping starship to the Star Wars franchise, J.J Abrams has once again delivered a grandiose offering of cosmic magnitude; Star Trek (2009) might have proven difficult, if not impossible to follow but in the experienced hands of a directorially accomplished veteran and self-professed Sci-Fi nerd, there was little cause for concern.
As far as the plot is concerned, Star Trek Into Darkness hardly goes where no man has gone before, sticking rigidly to a formula that appeases the masses and safely guarantees easy consumability to a modern audience.
Star Trek Into Darkness, set shortly after the events of its 2009 predecessor, follows Captain Kirk and his crew as they explore strange new worlds and seek out new civilizations aboard the U.S.S Enterprise. Whilst observing the Class M planet Nibiru, Kirk’s poorly misplaced judgment results in the violation of the paramount prime directive and leaves the captain to face the wrath of Admiral Pike and demotion. However, Kirk soon realises he has bigger problems to face; the mysterious John Harrison has declared a one-man war against Starfleet and fled to Kronos, the Klingon home world. Fueled by the compulsion to settle a personal vendetta, Kirk and his crew give chase to the enigmatic criminal following him to the edge of Klingon space and realize, all too late, that they are up against a one-man weapon of mass destruction. Is this the deadliest adversary ever faced by Kirk and his crew?
As far as the plot is concerned, Star Trek Into Darkness hardly goes where no man has gone before, sticking rigidly to a formula that appeases the masses and safely guarantees easy consumability to a modern audience. The narrative is brimming with regurgitated storylines from greater films of the franchise but despite its lack of originality, it handles such storylines at times very well; the pace of the film travels at warp speed to make for an enthralling and riveting watch but for every unpredictable hook thrust upon the audience, an impending resolution to important deus ex machinas are foreseen just as swiftly. At other times, points in the plot – particularly points of emotional heaviness – seem to have no purpose other than mere exploitation, giving Star Trek Into Darkness a cheap aura and the distracting vibe of a half-hearted afterthought on the part of the writers. The laziness of the writing is constantly intensified by the never-ending stream of Star Trek: The Original Series references ceaselessly rammed down the throat of the audience; the film’s adamancy on becoming a recognizable Star Trek film is at great cost and detriment to its script that opts for one-liners and mindless narrative repetition over intelligent, thoughtful and character-driven storytelling.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s cerebral and highly intellectual portrayal of John Harrison is easily the most intriguing and enjoyable aspect of the film; his menacing astuteness and calm ferocity is as alluring as it is disturbing. He dominates every single second of screen time in an alarmingly seductive and gracious manner, through his voice, actions and persona. The strange, ominous calm that Cumberbatch embodies sends a chill down the spine of the unsuspecting viewer; his character is undoubtedly the highlight of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s cerebral and highly intellectual portrayal of John Harrison is easily the most intriguing and enjoyable aspect of the film; his menacing astuteness and calm ferocity is as alluring as it is disturbing.
Despite being hounded by critics for its apparent over-abundance of action sequences, they are at no point over-bearing; Abrams has choreographed the sequences well, accompanying them with colorful and vibrant imagery, impressive aerial shots and a variety of perceptions to amplify the theatrical rudiments present. The level of pedanticism that has gone into the choreography is crystal clear, particularly when Harrison’s precise and lethal fighting technique is contrasted to Kirk’s bar-fight brawl style. There are some truly gripping, edge-of-your-seat moments throughout the film complemented deliciously by the barrage of CGI effects that are at no point over done; they simply enliven the background of the film and work harmoniously with the script to deliver a visual epic that is not once overpowering. The grandiose set pieces contribute to much of the film’s success and are blended seamlessly together with the CGI, adding a genuinely authentic dramatic element to the film and creating an altogether immersive and engrossing visual experience. Michael Giacchino pays a befitting homage to the theme tune of the beloved original series whilst adding his own touches to an electrifying music score that simultaneously elicits wonderment and foreboding within the audience; his paramount contribution undoubtedly enhances the action on screen and, like the CGI, set pieces and choreography, is another impeccable ingredient to a perfect blend of cinematic technique.
Star Trek Into Darkness is far from perfect but it remains a worthy addition to a questionable line-up of Star Trek motion pictures. J.J Abrams has almost single-handedly rejuvenated and breathed life into a franchise that many had dismissed as dead and gone, following the diabolical spin off films spawned from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The consistency, iconic direction and nostalgic nuances lavished upon Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness by a master of the genre allow the franchise to be accessible for Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike. Despite the dubious script failing to go boldly going where no man has gone before, thanks to J.J Abrams, the franchise will indisputably live long and prosper with offerings like Star Trek Into Darkness.
[notification type=”star”]83/100 ~ GREAT. Star Trek Into Darkness is far from perfect but it remains a worthy addition to a questionable line-up of Star Trek motion pictures. J.J Abrams has almost single-handedly rejuvenated and breathed life into a franchise that many had dismissed as dead and gone, following the diabolical spin off films spawned from Star Trek: The Next Generation.[/notification]