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To Boldly Go (Spolier Free)

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The Onion ran a great story around the time of JJ Abram’s 2009 film version of Star Trek. It was a video which featured “trekkies” portrayed by actors that were bashing the film for being “fun, watchable and there isn’t one scene where the Klingons words weren’t subtitled”. It went on to bemoan the casting of Chris Pine as hot headed captain James T. Kirk. It was inspired hilarity. I don’t know if it was based on fact but the film did get a lot of flak from “trekkies”. And it was this video that made me venture to the cinema to see it! I remember being sceptical about the release as I am not a Trek fan in any way shape or form. And it was all those things mentioned in the Onion video it was fun watchable and one hell of an adventure.

Roll forward four years and we are being treated to a sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness. This film focuses on the tenuous relationship between James T Kirk and his Vulcan first officer, Dr. Spock. The two personalities are perfectly matched as one is hot headed, impulsive and reckless and the other “can’t even break rules, never mind bones.” In the first movie, they were finding their feet but here Kirk is the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise and leads the ship and the crew on an exploration mission which results in Kirk being demoted and losing control of his ship. But a far greater threat lies in wait.

Enter Benedict Cumberbatch. He is a joy to watch in this movie as John Harrison, a captain hell bent on destruction and death. And he does a damn fine job of causing both. An attack on the Star Fleet Headquarters prompts an emergency meeting of the powers that be in which Kirk is assigned to be Captain Pike’s first officer on the U.S.S Enterprise. The scene plays out as a nice little homage to the helicopter attack in The Godfather Part III. Kirk is back on active duty and requests permission to track down and kill Harrison. This is where the film kicks up ten notches and is non-stop action.

That being said the performances in this film betray its loud and brash action scenes. There are a load of fatal casualties with some key characters being obliterated. And relationships play out against a backdrop of stun phasers, space battles and mid space flight. Pine is fantastic as Kirk and displays a huge emotional arc in trying to reach Spock on a human level. Speaking of Spock, Zachary Quinto is inspired here and for my money and despite Cumberbatch being a complete and utter bastard this film belongs to Spock.

His journey is the centre of the film and not to give away plot twists or indeed indicate a spoiler, Quinto delivers a first rate performance as the pointy eared logical one. And the fights between him and Uhura are played for laughs, having a familiar domestic ring to them despite one half of the couple being a Vulcan. The last half hour delivers in terms of action, character development and two surprisingly emotional scenes which might bring a tear to even the most hardened Trekkie’s eye. I’ll admit, it was handled beautifully and despite the risk of appearing cheesy actually made me a bit emotional and one scene ends with a familiar guttural roar from a central character.

There are loads of little nods to previous Trek films and the Trek folklore littered throughout the movie. These should please the “trekkies” among you and if you are not there is plenty here to enjoy. Overall, a joy of a film with just the right amount of space talk and huge, huge explosions. You might even cry a little. You can see why hard-core Trekkies will probably hate on it.

4.5 / 5

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Written by thepanch

May 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

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