J.J. Abrams and friends are going to introduce Star Trek Into Darkness to the world in a big way when they show a 9-minute prologue to audiences salivating to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This is par for the course for giant films, and so is showing off the work to movie website runners before everyone else. While we caught early footage of the first Abrams Trek and were lucky enough to sit next to Leonard Nimoy for the surprise Drafthouse premiere, we didn’t go early into the Darkness. Fortunately, we have eyeballs and internet browsers, so we collected a lot of the first responses.
Granted, these come with a shovel-full of salt (just like insane trailer/poster speculation), but the overall message from pundits and fans? All is well. Calm down. Into Darkness is set up for greatness. Gird your loins for a few minor, opening scene details but not for who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing.
From Jen Yamato at MovieLine:
”What’s revealed in the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t so much telling as it is intriguing, moreso for the Trek fans out there who’ll get every little familiar line of dialogue and nod to the O.G. Trek series, of which there are many. But fair warning, Trekkies: Judging from this tease and the footage Paramount has already released, Abrams knows that you’re reading into every little clue — and he’s playing you like a violin.
Here’s why: Star Trek Into Darkness opens in a prologue, in a beautifully shot, blue-tinged London, Stardate 2259.55. A couple (Noel Clarke and Nazneen Contractor) wake up and drive their hover car to visit their child in the hospital. We don’t know their names, or hear them speak, but we wonder; could their last name possibly, just possibly, be Singh?”
Yamato is clear that the Cumberbatchian villain, even though he’s introduced, is not identified. The mystery remains, and that’s a good thing. I still contend that it would be an amazing coup for the production to keep his identity a secret all the way through the opening of the movie. It would be an incredible thrill for audiences to learn his name when it’s uttered for the first time on screen. Something rare these days.
From Frosty at Collider:
”Trust me, if you loved Abrams’ first Star Trek, you’re going to be extremely happy watching this footage…”
From Melissa Molina at Latino-Review:
”While the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness doesn’t really explain much of Cumberbatch’s character, of whom we see for a second, we still want more. Between Giacchino’s score and what’s going on with the Enterprise crew, it gets your adrenaline pumping but still holds enough mystery to keep you intrigued on how the movie’s main events will unfold. Before the footage was shown Abrams said that there’s ‘…a lot of intensity, a little bit of gloom but a lot of fun.’ You definitely get that right off the bat and we can’t wait to check out more. ”
From Anthony Pascale at TrekMovie:
”…what I can say is that I was impressed with what I saw in two ways. Firstly this looked like nothing seen before in Trek. Most of the first nine minutes were shot with IMAX cameras and seeing that in IMAX 3D truly is extraordinary. The quality of the visual imagery was on par with The Dark Knight Rises. Also some of the shots shown used 3D to great effect. It wasn’t in your face, but it really brought you in to the strange new world presented in this opening segment. The second way this preview is like nothing scene [sic] in Trek before was the scale of the thing. Even more than the 2009 Star Trek, it is just a treat to see the universe that we love so much realized in such a grand (and expensive) way.
And the sounds are equally as impressive as the visuals. Once again the same gang of best in class sound designers (including Academy Award winner Ben Burtt) are on the case. Also the preview features all new music by Michael Giacchino (another Oscar-winner). The music at times was original for Into Darkness, but then there were also flourishes which called back to some of the musical cues and themes from 2009′s Star Trek, including when we see an exciting (and surprising) reveal of the USS Enterprise.”
From Drew McWeeny at HitFix:
”Earlier this evening, I took the biggest Star Trek fan I know to see the nine-minute prologue that will be screened in IMAX venues in front of the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and based on his reaction, I’d say JJAbrams and crew have absolutely nothing to worry about when the film hits theaters in May of 2013…
…The stuff with Kirk and McCoy is very funny, and a nice reminder of just how strong the chemistry is with this cast. Same with the stuff between Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock. The moment they bring in the main theme by Michael Giacchino is perfect, lovely and thrilling at the same time. I really love the look of these films, and the alien world is beautifully realized, as is the London of the future. I like that we pick up with the crew in the middle of an adventure and we see how they’ve come together now with the time that has passed since the end of the first film. Abrams and his screenwriting team, Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, all seem to get the dynamic that makes Kirk, Spock, and McCoy such great archetypes…”
So we don’t know who Cumberbatch is playing, but we can reveal that McWeeny’s Trek-obsessed guest for the screening was his 7-year-old son Toshi.
From Eric Eisenberg at Cinema Blend:
”The footage also did an impressive job showing off the power of IMAX and 3D. While I never got the sense of vertigo that I felt while watching Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol last year, the amount that the giant format adds to the scope is unquestionable. Furthermore, Abrams certainly seems to be taking advantage of the extra dimension as well. More than just bits of sparks and ash coming out at the camera, the director isn’t above playing with the ‘it’s coming right at you!’ experience of 3D…”
From Devin Faraci at Badass Digest:
“The one clever moment in the footage came next; one of Pitt’s daughters has a talking doll that counts. It begins counting as we watch the victim of the ‘zombie’ begin the process of ‘re-animating.’ It takes 12 seconds to go from bitten to utter spastic with yellow pupils.
Everything else was dead generic, though. It could have been any ‘panic in the streets’ movie, and the bloodlessness (which, again, could be related to the unfinished FX, although I suspect it’s because they’re shooting for a ridiculous PG-13) made it all the more uninteresting. The footage felt like the opening cinematic of some kind of a cheap zombie game full of crummy Quicktime Events. Nothing I saw told me why I wanted to bother seeing 90 to 100 more minutes of the same thing.”
It turns out he went to see the first 8 minutes of World War Z instead.
From Mr. Beaks at Aint It Cool:
“Obsessive speculation aside, these opening nine minutes are a tremendously effective tease for what will hopefully be one of 2013′s most entertaining movies.”
Simple enough. The message here seems to be that the first act of Into Darkness is a winner. Hopefully the second and third act will follow suit.
We’ll see when all of it comes out in May 2013.
Introducing a sneak peek at the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness in a special IMAX 3-D presentation for press Sunday night, director J.J. Abrams warned of the "doom and gloom" throughout his May 2013 sequel. "There’s a lot of intensity in this, and a little bit of gloom," he admitted, "but it’s also fun."
In true Abrams fashion, that's about all he said before he exited the theater, taking the truth about who the heck Benedict Cumberbatch is playing in Star Trek 2 with him. (The first nine minutes will debut in theaters on December 14, attached to select IMAX screenings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Read on for details, speculation, guesstimates, and wild theorizing about what's in store in Star Trek 2 based on the tease.)
What's revealed in the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness isn't so much telling as it is intriguing, moreso for the Trek fans out there who'll get every little familiar line of dialogue and nod to the O.G. Trek series, of which there are many. But fair warning, Trekkies: Judging from this tease and the footage Paramount has already released, Abrams knows that you're reading into every little clue — and he's playing you like a violin.
Here's why: Star Trek Into Darkness opens in a prologue, in a beautifully shot, blue-tinged London, Stardate 2259.55. A couple (Noel Clarke and Nazneen Contractor) wake up and drive their hover car to visit their child in the hospital. We don't know their names, or hear them speak, but we wonder; could their last name possibly, just possibly, be Singh?
Maybe, maybe not. Their sick child is a daughter (strike that, it's not a young Khan — or is it??*), bedridden by an unspecified illness. The father is approached by a stranger whose voice we hear first: "I can save her." It's Benedict Cumberbatch, and he's the villain, which we know because the camera closes in until his face fills the IMAX screen as Michael Giacchino's score swells with tense, ominous notes.
Cut to the crew of the Enterprise, who we find in the middle of their latest mission on the Class-M planet Nibiru, where Bones and Kirk are racing through vivid red-tinged forests being chased by members of a chalk-faced, spear-chucking indigenous race. From a cruiser flying in the skies above, Spock drops into an erupting volcano to save the planet as Uhura looks on.
Regrouping with the rest of the crew on the Enterprise — which is parked discreetly underwater in the middle of an ocean — Kirk wrestles with a familiar-sounding quandary: Save Spock by taking the Enterprise out of hiding, therefore violating the Prime Directive by exposing the inhabitants of Nibiru to technology they're not ready for, or sacrifice Spock because, as one character indeed utters, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
Kirk asks what Spock would do if their situations were reversed. "He'd let you die," Bones replies, and the opening sequence closes with a cliffhanger.
More previously seen trailer-y shots close out the nine-minute sneak, with Cumberbatch growling lines like "You think you're safe? You are not" and "Is there anything you would not do for your family?" Alas, it doesn't offer any further details of the hands-on-glass shot that had Trek-watchers a'flutter watching the recently-released Japanese trailer.
At this point I've heard about a thousand differing theories as to whom exactly Cumberbatch's villain will turn out to be. My first thought during the nine-minute prologue was Khan, because YOU GUYS THEY QUOTE WRATH OF KHAN, but there's something about that idea that seems just too easy. I'm leaning toward an amalgam of Gary Mitchell and Khan, an idea so crazy it might just work in this new Abrams era of playing in the Trek sandbox without having to stay within previously established canon. Why not make the 'Batch some sort of Mitchell-Khan hybrid? Try this on for size: Benemitchell Khanderbatch. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
It's worth noting that, while Star Trek Into Darkness was post-converted to 3-D, the 3-D footage went over well. There are a good many close-ups and scenes featuring brilliantly vivid, swirling pieces of debris and lava and even, at one point, a barrage of spears raining down around Kirk and McCoy as they run through the jungle in a sequence that so calls to mind Raiders of the Lost Ark that it's probably safe to call it homage.
*This is completely wild, "What if?" speculation, but how cool would it be if Abrams' Trek films did introduce Khan — only as a woman? Discuss.
What will you learn from the first 9 minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness?
This Friday, we'll all be seeing the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness before IMAX screenings of The Hobbit. But a select group of Los Angeles journalists have already seen the footage, and the first descriptions are already out. So what will we learn from the opening minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness?
We won't learn who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing. They're really going to draw this mystery out. By all accounts, the movie begins with a scene where a couple (played by Doctor Who's Noel Clarke and Nazneen Contractor) are in a hospital, where their baby daughter is sick. We see a montage of moments from the family's life together — and then Benedict Cumberbatch appears and tells the frantic parents that he has the ability to save their dying child. They ask who he is, and he doesn't answer. Instead, the camera just zooms in on his menacing face. And apparently we do see Cumberbatch wearing a Starfleet uniform during this.
It's not as powerful as the opening minutes of J.J. Abrams' first Star Trek, or as exciting as the opening to The Dark Knight. At least, that's what I'm gleaning from the reports. Here's what Screenrant has to say:
As to the impact of the IMAX prologue/preview… did it knock the crowd in attendance off its collective seat? I'd have to say no. However… it did leave us all wanting more and was ultimately successful as a result. The opening minutes of the first Star Trek film are incredibly difficult to top, and the Into Darkness prologue did not have the impact of the similar preview of The Dark Knight three years ago.
Kirk and friends face a dangerous situation and a Prime Directive challenge. After the scene of Cumberbatch telling the parents he can save their daughter, we find out what Kirk and his crew are up to. They're on the primitive planet Nibiru (the one with the red vegetation we witnessed in the trailer) where Kirk and McCoy are being chased by "members of a chalk-faced, spear-chucking indigenous race," as Movieline puts it. Meanwhile, Spock drops out of a shuttlecraft into an active volcano that threatens to erupt and destroy the planet (also as witnessed in the trailer.) Uhura watches in concern as Spock risks his life to save everybody.
Of course, the volcano erupts. Meanwhile, Kirk and McCoy return to the Enterprise, which is hidden at the bottom of an ocean. Scotty is concerned about the danger to the ship, and its ability to keep functioning. Chekov keeps offering "whiz kid suggestions" to the Captain. At last, Kirk has to make a choice — save Spock, or preserve the Prime Directive by keeping the Enterprise hidden. Kirk asks what Spock would do if the situations were reversed, and McCoy says that's easy — "He'd let you die."
John harrison MY FOOT
Star Trek Into Darkness – review
JJ Abrams's follow-up to his 2009 Star Trek film is an astute, if more world-weary, take on the sci-fi legend
Director JJ Abrams has followed up his sensational 2009 Star Trek reboot with a sparkling 3D sequel.
The core of the earlier film is present and correct: Chris Pine as the unfeasibly handsome junior Kirk; Zachary Quinto as the fringed logician Spock; Zoe Saldana – her status subtly enhanced after her leading role in James Cameron's Avatar – as the lissom Lt Uhuru; Karl Urban as grandstanding medical officer Bones; and Britain's own Simon Pegg as engine-room supremo Scotty, gamely approximating a Scottish accent about half the time.
Abrams also maintains the glistening visuals of his earlier film; Into Darkness is slathered in so much lens flare it looks like a Kylie Minogue video. And the flashes of crackling, knowing comedy have been retained, punctuating the shuddering fight scenes and chase sequences that are the very currency of the action blockbuster.
The film picks up shortly after its predecessor left off: Kirk is firmly installed in the Enterprise chair, Spock his first officer, and a mission is in progress. Abrams orchestrates an opening scene that mixes all the above mentioned ingredients in a 100 proof cocktail, designed to get the audience instantly drunk.
Still burdened by the destruction of Vulcan, Spock is attempting to prevent a planet's incineration by a giant volcano; Kirk flouts the Starfleet prime directive by allowing the primitive inhabitants to clap eyes on the USS Enterprise as it rises from the seabed to deliver Spock from the point of death.
This conflict between military regulation and personal loyalty is allowed to run through the story: it becomes a wedge driven in the overt Kirk-Spock bromance that was such an entertaining feature of the first film. After Spock sends in an official report that exposes Kirk's fibbing, the rupture is worthy of a tycoon's divorce: Kirk, furious, is deprived of his command, while Spock is transferred elsewhere. But they can't stay mad at each other for long, and fortunately a murderous cataclysm erupts that has the happy effect of reuniting them. Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, essays the latest in a long line of British supervillains as he arrives, seemingly out of nowhere, to lay waste to a Starfleet base in future London, and follows it up with his own sequel, devastating a military conference in San Francisco. Within seconds, it would seem, Kirk and Spock are reinstalled on the Enterprise bridge, vowing to take Cumberbatch down.
At this point it's necessary to draw a veil over the plot's subsequent revelations, though plenty of rumours have been swirling as to how this Star Trek film – the 12th, incredibly – locks together with a much earlier entry in the sequence. Suffice to say that it's not actually all that interesting: one supervillain, these days, is very much like another, whatever their superficial attributes are.
The real grit is provided, as ever, by the emotional politics, always Star Trek's strength. Abrams threw everyone a curveball by getting Spock and Uhuru together in the first film; here, their relationship is knottier, thickened, while Kirk aims his bee-sting pout in the direction of newbie Alice Eve, as a not entirely convincing science officer. Perhaps Kirk's lack of success with the ladies will become a major theme of a third Star Trek reboot; despite his puppyish eagerness, and occasional bout of bedroom action with an alien chick or two, women never seem as keen on him as he is on them.)
There's consequently a palpable air of world-weariness about this Star Trek; it's as if Abrams and his writers concluded they couldn't replicate the cockiness and bounce of the first film, and opted instead to allow their characters to grow up a little.
Everyone is a little more battered, a little less dewy-eyed. People are unlikely to charge out of the cinema with quite the same level of glee as they did in 2009; but this is certainly an astute, exhilarating concoction.
UK 2 May 2013 (London) (premiere)
Australia 9 May 2013
Austria 9 May 2013
Germany 9 May 2013
Ireland 9 May 2013
New Zealand 9 May 2013
Switzerland 9 May 2013 (German speaking region)
UK 9 May 2013
Bulgaria 10 May 2013
Mexico 10 May 2013
Norway 10 May 2013
Sweden 10 May 2013
Taiwan 10 May 2013
Egypt 15 May 2013
Bosnia and Herzegovina 16 May 2013
Chile 16 May 2013
Croatia 16 May 2013
Hong Kong 16 May 2013
Hungary 16 May 2013
Kuwait 16 May 2013
Lebanon 16 May 2013
Malaysia 16 May 2013
Peru 16 May 2013
Philippines 16 May 2013
Russia 16 May 2013
Serbia 16 May 2013
Singapore 16 May 2013
Slovenia 16 May 2013
Thailand 16 May 2013
Ukraine 16 May 2013
United Arab Emirates 16 May 2013
Canada 17 May 2013
Colombia 17 May 2013
Cyprus 17 May 2013
Estonia 17 May 2013
Iceland 17 May 2013
India 17 May 2013
Indonesia 17 May 2013
Latvia 17 May 2013
Lithuania 17 May 2013
Mexico 17 May 2013
Panama 17 May 2013
Romania 17 May 2013
USA 17 May 2013
Vietnam 17 May 2013
Cambodia 23 May 2013
Republic of Macedonia 23 May 2013
South Korea 30 May 2013
Poland 31 May 2013
Belgium 5 June 2013
Finland 5 June 2013
Denmark 6 June 2013
Netherlands 6 June 2013
Portugal 6 June 2013
Switzerland 7 June 2013 (Italian speaking region)
Turkey 7 June 2013
France 12 June 2013
Czech Republic 13 June 2013
Israel 13 June 2013
Italy 13 June 2013
Brazil 14 June 2013
South Africa 14 June 2013
Switzerland 19 June 2013 (French speaking region)
Spain 5 July 2013
Greece 11 July 2013
Venezuela 19 July 2013
Argentina 22 August 2013
Japan 23 August 2013
Time Out says
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is a brisk, no-nonsense sci-fi action sequel built around a conflict between the crew of the Starship Enterprise with a slick, slippery new villain, John Harrison (although there’s more to him than meets the eye), who’s played with relish and poise by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Director JJ Abrams – recently anointed the new keeper of the ‘Star Wars’ flame – revived the ‘Star Trek’ franchise back in 2009 by taking it back in time (in Trekkie terms, that is; it’s still the future for us), pumping it with wit and style and giving life to younger versions of Captain Kirk, Spock, Scottie and the rest of that space geek’s dream team. Here, the main focus is internal strife, rather than structural revolution, as Kirk and Spock get catty with each other and Harrison emerges as a disgruntled insider bent on initiating spectacles of domestic terrorism. The result is a stop-gap tale that’s modest, fun and briefly amusing rather than one that breaks new ground or offers hugely memorable set pieces.
The most striking scenes come without doubt at the start as Kirk (Chris Pine) struggles to rescue Spock (Zachary Quinto) from a volcano on a distant planet. We witness a primitive race – carefully colour-coded all white, yellow and red – as they first lay eyes on a spaceship. It’s a powerful moment, and nothing later matches up to it, even if two episodes of city-bashing (first London, then San Francisco) offer their fair share of wide-eyed 3D viewing.
The revived ‘Star Trek’ films are shaping up to be the opposite of Christopher Nolan’s Batman tales in that they’re light on bleakness and attitude. There are enough gags (Simon Pegg is fun again as Scottie) and wit (the tension between Kirk and Spock is winning) between darker bouts of space fighting and ship-saving to keep the mood airy and unpretentious.
Only when we’re treated to a gratuitous, over-the-shoulder underwear shot of Alice Eve as the Enterprise’s new recruit does this breeziness tip into recklessness. It’s here that we sense the filmmakers’ worry that the whole thing might be a bit too boyish and sexless. That said, the script manages to introduce some thoughtfulness into proceedings via Spock’s morose musings on death and feelings (or lack of them).
It’s compulsory for blockbuster villains to be British of course, and Cumberbatch runs with an imperial theatrical haughtiness rather than trying to bury it. His bad guy is distinctly human, if a little two-dimensional, and he succeeds in showing real ice running through his veins and bringing some weight to a cast that generally offers more geniality than gravitas.
Starfleet is under attack from cold, calculating terrorist John Harrison (Cumberbatch). James T. Kirk (Pine) leads a Federation mission to apprehend the criminal — with vengeance on his mind.
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The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Few understand the meaning behind this Star Trek (or more accurately, Charles Dickens) sentiment better than J. J. Abrams. Rebooting Gene Roddenberry’s seminal ’60s TV show following years of variable movies, Abrams’ first voyage on the USS Enterprise rescued the franchise from its increasingly niche fan base, the kind of people who endlessly debate Sisko versus Janeway (answer: Picard), and made it cool for everyone. Star Trek 2.0 (or XI) eschewed the speechifying, arthritic cast and bad hair of the previous flicks, upped the energy, vibrancy and spectacle, but still managed to respect Roddenberry’s dramatis personae, if not his spirit. Into Darkness follows exactly the same principles. Only more so.
Tearing a page out of the Raiders Of The Lost Ark Blockbuster Playbook, we start at the shattering climax of a Trek adventure we’ll never fully see. Looking down on a planet rich in garish scarlet fauna, a shaky camera picks out Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) legging it for their lives, away from an angry pack of white-faced, yellow-hooded natives but towards a sheer drop that spells certain death. If that’s not enough, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is being parachuted into a volcano to calcify the lava and save an entire planet. It’s a ludicrously enjoyable piece of action cinema with a gloriously cheeky ending. We’ll be lucky to see a more exciting, breathless set-piece all summer.
Yet rather than pausing for breath, Star Trek Into Darkness punches it and immediately turns into a manhunt movie. A bomb goes off in a Starfleet archive in London — 23rd century England will boast a skyline of Gherkin buildings apparently — and the race is on to track down the terrorist, well-coutured renegade John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). Abrams’ first Trek movie was criticised for not following the Roddenberry tenet of holding up a mirror to real-world issues. Into Darkness couldn’t be more prescient. Just weeks after the events in Boston, this keys into a hunt for a bomber, with Kirk given orders to forgo a fair trial (“I’m gonna run this bastard down”) and terminate Harrison with Star Trek’s version of extreme prejudice — undetectable photon torpedoes. There will soon be students getting 2:2s for dissertations with titles like “7 of 9/11: Bin Laden, Star Trek And America Into Darkness”.
Cumberbatch’s Harrison may be dressed for a GQ cover but he is, in essence, a one-man army — watch him waste a garrison of helmeted marauders or take a vicious beating from Kirk with barely a flinch, or brutally batter some Federation flunkies. Yet, as you might expect from an actor who can comfortably portray Sherlock Holmes and Stephen Hawking, Harrison is as cerebral as he is muscular. His overall master plan may share some of the bonkers logic of Silva’s cockamamie Skyfall schemes, but Cumberbatch’s detached quality staves off hokeyness. It is a testament to the power of his performance that, although his early appearances are greeted with the most over-the-top Evil Musical Motifs imaginable, he manages to make Harrison ambiguous and chilling throughout.
If the first film was about the coming together of the Enterprise crew, then Harrison’s threat means they have to divide to conquer. The strong ensemble — rejoice in the growing Kirk-Spock bromance, or Bones’ bad aphorisms, or a collector’s moment of Sulu steeliness without his sword — have etched likable sketches of the nascent TV icons, but you’d like time to hang with them a bit more. Similarly, you pine for a sustained Hannibal Lecter-Clarice Starling duel of wits between Kirk and Harrison, but it never quite happens. Abrams has real skill at dropping character beats in the heat of battle — Kirk and Spock get slivers of interesting arcs; the former is learning to become a captain, the latter is learning to be a friend — yet the film doesn’t give the emotions space to resonate and take hold.
As with the first movie, there are some callbacks to Trek history, both TV and film; some are smart and subtle, others feel blatant and misjudged, and might send the hardcore seeking kolinahr. Yet more than the first outing, this engages with Trek’s long-held thematic ideals, be it the importance of the Prime Directive (don’t interfere with alien cultures) or the dynamics between instinct versus logic, pacifism versus savagery. Still, Abrams never lets respect for Trekkiness poop the party. Keep your ears peeled for a fabulous joke at the behest of an iconic sound effect.
Happily, this sense of play is all over Into Darkness. It’s sexy, both literally (Kirk in a three-way with alien chicks with tails) and figuratively: cinematographer Dan Mindel gives everything a sleek sci-fi yet somehow still warm look. Abrams directs with lots of flare (forget 3D glasses, take Ray-Bans), but, more importantly, flair. His style is somewhere between the machine-tooled work of Cameron and the manic intensity of Bay, efficient but still loose and seemingly improvised.
Working with screenwriters Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, Abrams can flip between different tones in a heartbeat — a comedic lovers’ tiff in the midst of battle turns into an affecting meditation on fear — and will leave no stone unturned in trying to entertain: tense bomb disposal, intense inter-race negotiations, big ship-little ship cat and mousery, Simon Pegg comic relief, a chase at warp speed, disaster movie mayhem and Alice Eve in black skimpies just skims the surface of it. Not all of it works — compared to the opener, the last-reel action is enjoyable rather than jaw-dropping — but there is the sense of a true showman at work. Like Lucas, Abrams doesn’t care about science-fiction, cold fusion thingamys and transwarp doodahs. He just wants you to have as much as fun as humanly possible.
Of course, Abrams will next tackle Star Wars, and it is tempting to overanalyse Into Darkness for clues to Episode VII. Abrams clearly prefers proper sets to green-screens, doesn’t shy from men in suits and old-school in-camera trickery, fosters lovely grace-notes to stellar ILM work — look out for the new trails of space dust that follow warp speed — and gives good running down corridors. If he just takes his time and lets his patent skill with characters breathe, he’ll make The Empire Strikes Back. At one point, Kirk has to perform a space jump, fast becoming the series’ signature action lick. Midway through the perilous leap, his targeting computer fails. It’s all you can do not to shout, “Use the Force, Jim.” Given the evidence here, 2015 can’t come soon enough.
If this is Abrams’ final frontier, he has left Star Trek in a good place, both in the fictional universe and as a franchise. In some sense, the title is misleading. Into Darkness is a blast, fun, funny, spectacular and exhilarating. The rule of great even-numbered Trek movies continues
Two men hot-footing across an alien landscape as if they’ve got Usain Bolt at their heels. Someone yelling “If the volcano erupts, the planet dies!” A desperate plunge off a cliff. Last-second deliverance and then away into the night… Star Trek Into Darkness opens with thrusters on maximum – and then it puts its foot down.
With the origin-story, world-building, slightly tortuous parallel-universe-establishing stuff out of the way, J.J. Abrams embraces the chance to slip the leash in part two of his mission to make Trek viable, vibrant, cool again. Part one, a $385m hit in 2009, blew great clouds of dust off the decades-old franchise.
Still, it wasn’t perfect: despite efforts to widen appeal beyond the sci-fi hardcore, the dialogue often gave into gobbledegook. Then there was the underdeveloped villain, the hurried climax and an odd compulsion to leave Kirk dangling from ledges.
Into Darkness papers over many of the cracks. There’s a whole lot less trans-warp theorising for one thing. A more intriguing baddie than Eric Bana’s raving revenge-seeker for another. True, our new nemesis, John Harrison (a menacing, mystery-cloaked Benedict Cumberbatch) also has payback on his devilish mind, but it’s… complicated.
There are surprises dotted all over the spacescape, so we’ll keep the synopsis vague. Harrison, a former Starfleet high-ranker, does a Very Bad Thing. Kirk (Chris Pine) and the Enterprise crew go gunning for him.
They travel to hostile places, encounter faces new, old and new-old and do an awful lot of running, fighting and bickering. There’s less of the dangling this time out, but cliffhangers abound. The script feels structured around them; we hop from emergency to crisis to catastrophe and back again (and again).
Mostly, this is fantastic fun: a two-hours-plus blockbuster that doesn’t bog down in exposition or sag in the middle. There are reversals and rug-pulls galore, most of them executed with whiplash skill. Trouble is, at a certain point peril-fatigue starts to creep in, putting the story (like the overtaxed Enterprise) at the risk of burning out.
What’s more, this wild, plot-driven ride has a tendency to leave character moments on the back seat. Often, minor figures first time out remain minor figures, some of them left out in the rain until the narrative calls for them to make a reappearance.
Meanwhile, one emotional thunderbolt is undercut by an arguably too-cute wink to the franchise faithful.
Rewardingly, though, this isn’t Star Trek Into Vastness, a sequel that aims bigger but ends up bloated. True, there’s the sense of an expanded universe, and how it might determine the direction of future installments.
On the other hand, most of the drama is confined to the Enterprise, and all the better for it (if it’s expanse you’re after, judicious use of 3D brings added depth to those sleek corridors).
As for darkness, it’s there literally (firefights in the gloomiest corners of the galaxy) and figuratively, Abrams dragging his heroes over sticky ethical terrain (debates over whether to put villains on trial or on the chopping block; a scene where a good guy pummels a bad guy after they’ve surrendered).
But this is no hopeless dystopian vision; not when there’s Simon Pegg (back in a bigger, funnier role as engineer Scotty, complete with a cabbage-headed sidekick) dropping exasperated one-liners, or Karl Urban (medical man Bones) chipping in with colourful metaphors (“You don’t rob a bank when the getaway car has a flat tyre!”).
Shame that a romance teased in the first film only makes minimal progress here, but then it’s always been the Kirk-Spock, captain-first officer, love-hate thing that’s at the fore in Trek.
The prickly, tickly dynamic is alive and well here, a central thread running from get-go to wrap-up. If the cool, commanding Zachary Quinto already had a sure sense of Spock in the first film, it’s Pine who comes into his own here, essaying a more likeable, vulnerable, humble take on Kirk. Although he’s still a bit leery with the ladies.
But man of the match is, of course, Abrams. His aim with Into Darkness was to mint a standalone adventure, one that welcomed total Trek neophytes at the door. Mission accomplished – there’s buried treasure here for long-term fans, but this is a franchise flick that demands fanboy foreknowledge far less than it does slack jaws and high stamina.
Spock vs Spock.
Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... Aren't you?
people who watch it already spoil when i said all along.
HE IS KHAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last edited by singveld; 09-05-2013 at 12:14 AM.
But he doesn't look at all like Ricardo Montalbán.
Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... Aren't you?
hard to find a really good indian actor, indian actor only good for dancing around tree.
it is not explain in the film, but it is a reboot, they do anything they like.
Film Review | Star Trek Into Darkness
His name is Khan, he says. And with that one admission, Star Trek Into Darkness yokes itself to the post 9/11 terrorism-themed movies that have rolled off the Hollywood assembly line in the years since terrorist attacks shook America and the world.
For good measure, there is the by-now mandatory sequence of terror dropping out of the sky on a port-side American city, the computer-aided reduction of skyscrapers to rubble and the sight of screaming individuals running hither and tither.
Until the climactic showdown between good and evil, Star Trek Into Darkness is as ambiguous as a franchise entry can be. (The 132-minute movie opens in India on 10 May, a week ahead of its US release.) Khan, played by alt pin-up Benedict Cumberbatch from the acclaimed British television series Sherlock, has a British accent and a face as smooth as a baby’s bottom. He first kills and destroys, then saves lives and gives a speech about the injustice suffered by his race, and then kills again. He could be a wronged antagonist, like the replicant from Blade Runner, but his inevitable unmasking as an evil nutcase is a huge letdown in an otherwise satisfying sequel to one of the most successful reboots of a hallowed franchise.
By the time JJ Abrams took control of Star Trek in 2009, the television series and the chunk of increasingly cheesy spin-off movies were a distant memory for most viewers. Abrams brought the right mix of reverence towards and distance from the original. The director of the popular television series Lost didn’t let the need to deliver a spectacle of destruction and redemption come in the way of shading the characters who would be pushing the buttons and yanking the levers. The battle was won by the astute casting, and all of the actors are back in the sequel—Chris Pine as the maverick Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock, Zoe Saldana as communications officer Uhura, Karl Urban as the perennially sceptical doctor Bones, Simon Pegg as engineering genius Scotty and John Cho and Anton Yelchin as crew members Sulu and Chekov respectively. The multi-cultural cast adds Alice Eve as a weapons expert whose father has a bone to pick with Khan.
A still from the film
Khan’s antics are little more than an excuse for screenplay writers Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to test Kirk’s leadership skills. The verbal jousting between various characters continues from the first part, with some neat exchanges between Spock and Kirk and Bones and just about everybody. Abrams ramps up the action this time around, providing one did-you-see-that moment after another, no doubt keeping the movie’s 3D version in mind. The bottomless of space can provide tremendous scope for three-dimensional imagery, but the first part worked just fine without it, so there’s no conceivable need to pay extra just because the studio wants you to.
Apart from its nicely written characters and smart, conversational dialogue, the movie’s strength is Scott Chambliss’s chic, sleek, production design. Into Darkness is suffused with the kind of gadgetry that will probably inspire inventions by Google and Apple—seatbelts that taper onto the body like vines, floating hospital beds. The evocative sets and relentless action combine to provide a heady adventure for the most part, but the prolonged crash-bang climax and the attempt to provide emotional heft (Spock weeps!) indicate that nobody wants to take too many chances this time round. The closing sequences hint at a Pirates of the Caribbean-style adventure into strange worlds, which hopefully won’t be populated by the likes of Khan, and won’t involve such statements as “If I’m not in charge, an entire way of life will be decimated.”
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