5 things we love about Star Trek Into Darkness
1) Sparkling performances
It’s difficult to pick out a stand alone performance (apart from, perhaps, Benedict Cumberbatch’s – see below) as they are all so good. What’s great is that their characters have certain similarities with the original Star Trek characters but without slavishly copying them. I love the almost brotherly relationship between Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) which is really central to the film’s success. But Scotty, Bones, Uhura and Chekov are all good too.
2) Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan
As baddies go, you really don’t get much better than Benedict Cumberbatch. Obviously he’s British (aren’t they always?) but he’s also extraordinarily menacing. Think Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs but without the mask. There’s even a sequence on board the USS Enterprise where he’s held in captivity that seems almost an homage to Silence of the Lambs.
3) Spock and Uhura bickering like an old married couple
I’m glad the film doesn’t take itself too seriously and the sequence where Spock and Uhura are travelling to capture Khan from Klingon homeland Kronos and she is having a go at him for being so cold hearted is priceless.
4) Fantastic looking opening sequence
I think it’s compulsory that sci-fi movies have a blow-your-socks off opening sequence before the credits and this one doesn’t disappoint. As well as volcanoes blowing their tops, as Spock abseils into molten lava, the indigenous ancient tribe with their bright white faces, black eyes and yellow robes look amazing. When they see a spaceship emerging out of the sea they really can’t believe their eyes.
5) Alice Eve
The daughter of Eddie Shoestring actor Trevor Eve, Alice Eve, is really very beautiful indeed. At first her role as the Enterprise’s Science Officer or some such made up title seems like more of an excuse to provide a bit more eye candy to the largely male line up, especially when we see her early on stripped to her underwear to inspect a torpedo (fnarr, fnarr). But thankfully there is a little more substance to her role as Admiral Marcus’ daughter. Not much more though.
And 5 things we aren’t so sure about…
1) The old guys
I don’t wish to be rude about old people, but why is it that the old fellas in the film remind of me of intergalactic cowboys. If they weren’t smartly dressed Federation chiefs Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) and Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) would probably be riding around on horseback like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. Maybe that’s the point – that these guys are free frontier spirits exploring space, but it’s all a bit of a cliché.
2) Occasional dodgy lines
Now most of the dialogue is OK (not Shakespeare admittedly). However, when the old guys (see above) are lecturing Kirk on being such a headstrong upstart it does all get a bit hammy. I half expect one of them to say ‘you can’t handle the truth’ like Jack Nicholson to Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.
Is it just me or does 3D seem completely pointless? I’ve only ever seen one film that looks better in 3D than without (Avatar which also stars Uhuru actress Zoe Saldana) and this one isn’t an exception. Sure space debris coming towards your face is kind of exciting at first (the sequence where Kirk and Khan fly through space to invade another ship is good) but mostly the 3D is all just a little pointless.
4) Suspension of Disbelief
OK I know we are not supposed to believe that spaceships that can travel through space and time are real, but some of the action sequences are a little far fetched. Sure Khan is supposed to be stronger than the average guy, and Spock is uncharacteristically mad with him for various reasons, but the fight sequences on top of two planes are ridiculous in the extreme.
5) Simon Pegg’s Scottish accent
Now I do think Simon Pegg is outstanding as Scotty. There is a wit and a warmth about him, especially when drowning his sorrows in a bar after resigning his role (albeit temporarily) on the USS Enterprise. And there’s even a sequence where he sprints across the deck of a spaceship quicker than Usain Bolt (surely a body double?) What isn’t there to like? But his Scottish accent sucks. Come to think of it though so did James Doohan’s so who really cares.
Verdict: Really Star Trek has something for everyone. If you like special effects, brilliant city scapes and high octane action then this is definitely the film for you. But at the heart of Star Trek Into Darkness is also a story about family and relationships. Central is the relationship between Kirk and Spock and their mutual admiration and respect for one another, despite being very different personalities.
Star Trek Into Darkness is out in UK cinemas today, May 9th. Thanks to Dolby Laboratories for the advance screening.