Tag Archives: JJ Abrams

Star Trek Into Darkness review

Star Trek Into Darkness

I saw Star Trek Into Darkness the other day (at bloody last) and loved it. If I get a day off, I might go and see it again.

First off, the plot. I won’t go into this too much in case you haven’t seen it. Basically, there is a terrorist afoot and he blows up a small chunk of London when he attacks a Starfleet installation. The terrorist is English (as our accent sounds the most evil and intelligent) and used to be a Starfleet agent. This pisses Kirk off and he asks to pursue the bad guy. That’s as much as I can say.

The movie opens on what feels like an incredibly exciting episode of Star Trek. Frankly, Star Trek Into Darkness could have just consisted of the crew going from one mini adventure to the next and I would have been happy. This sequence gives you a bit of characterisation and a bit of insight into how they now function as a crew. It mostly feels like a mini Trek intro movie like you get with a James Bond film. Exciting as hell but with a tenuous link to the main plot. Then the main movie kicks in and things get more epic.

The set action pieces are spectacular and the 3D is done well. Some people have complained that perhaps they go on a bit too long but I guess that is a matter of taste. And also a matter them being wrong. The action was awesome.

It is the characters and dialogue that really shine. Not only are the dynamics between the characters further established and believable, they are also intelligent and funny. The whole Kirk/Spock thing is the main focus but Sulu, Uhura, Bones and Scotty are great in their supporting roles. Especially the latter two, who get a bit more screen time in this one. Particular praise has to go to Cumberbatch though, who is just superb. He is menacing and intelligent and hard as nails. The acting is a real highpoint in this movie.

Cumberbatch looking menacing

The vast majority of Star Trek Into Darkness reviews, like this one, have been massively positive. Most of the criticism has to do with lens flare effects or minor plot holes (most of which are incorrect and deal with accents or skin colour or how spaceships in the future work or other pointless bollocks). Abrams has taken an established bad guy and let it play out completely differently (with some great mirroring to the original unmentioned film/episode). Some have complained that is misses out on the thoughtful exploratory scifi that played a bigger role in the TV series. They have a point I suppose, but all Trek movies are on a bigger scale with more effects. That’s the point of them. Otherwise it is just a long episode in the cinema, which some of the later Next Gen films felt like.

I think Star Trek Into Darkness is bloody superb. It is fun, exciting and should please Trekkies (like me) and non-Trekkies alike (my wife loved it – although she has a thing for intelligent, sophisticated Englishmen). I think this ‘enjoyment by most people’ was the point. And it succeeds. Highly recommended.

In case you are undecided, here’s a trailer:

 

 

 

Star Trek into Darkness, who is Cumberbatch playing?

Star Trek 2 Into Darkness

I guess it’s not surprising for someone who writes a science fiction site but I am a bit of a Trekkie. I don’t dress up and I can’t speak Klingon but I do like the show and have done since I was a kid and Kirk was snogging and punching everyone in sight. I have mentioned that I frequently work for the Syfy channel and we are currently showing The Next Gen in HD, which is pretty damn cool. It’s probably my favourite of the Trek TV shows. After the TV show Enterprise finished humanity entered a dull existence where there was no Star Trek being made for TV at all! The world has become a worse place as a direct result of this.

Thankfully though, there are at least some utterly brilliant films coming out thanks to JJ Abrams. Well, so far one utterly brilliant film but at least 1 minute’s worth of Star Trek 2 is great. As you will see in the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer below Hollywood has done something unusual and unique: cast an Englishman as the baddie. The big question on the net is who exactly is the memorably named (and brilliant) Benedict Cumberbatch playing? Two favourites have emerged.

Gary Mitchell

The first is a character called Gary Mitchell who appeared in the original series. He was a friend of Kirk’s who developed telekinetic powers (and general psychic stuff) and went a bit mental until James T had to slap him into place. Arguments for this include the fact that Mitchell was in Starfleet, he isn’t Indian (see below), and Abrams is more likely to follow stories from the TV show as opposed to the movies as it allows him more scope.

 

Khan Noonienh Singh

The second – Khan Noonienh Singh. Khan (according to backstory) controlled a quarter of the planet during some far off war in the 1990s. He is genetically engineered to be brilliant at everything. After the war he is put into suspended animation until brought back by Kirk and crew. He tries to take over the Enterprise until Kirk slaps him into place. THEN, in Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan, he comes back and tries to get his revenge on Kirk. In a mad twist of events, Kirk slaps him into place.

Watch the trailer and see what you think. To me, the action seems a lot more like Khan. But how will they do the backstory? Also Cumberbatch looks, well, like a pasty Londoner as opposed to an Indian. But, as some have pointed out, if you can be bothered to find the very slightly longer Japanese trailer there is an extra scene of Kirk and Spock holding hands up to opposing sides of a glass wall. Like the end of Wrath of Khan when Spock dies. Personally I find it unlikely that they will follow the original Star Trek 2 so closely. 

Keep in mind that in the last film Abrams blows up Vulcan, so maybe this story has nothing to do with any of the original tales. Maybe Cumberbatch is just an angry fellow.

See what you think. Here the trailer or possibly the teaser for Star Trek 2! Engage!