|Star Trek : Into Darkness|
I recently published my thoughts on the first film of the JJ Abrams rebooted Star Trek franchise and is the sequel. Just like the awkward second album, sequels must build on the foundations of the first release. Here, Abrams has already introduced the ‘new’ crew of the Enterprise and set the tone for a highly charged, action based version of Star Trek. Prior to 2009, Star Trek was fairly medium paced with a social conscience, the new doesn’t wait for anyone, leaving audiences panting for breath at the end.
So, what of the second film? Into Darkness begins with Spock in the middle of an erupting volcano, trying to limit its destruction in order to study the indigenous race before it is made extinct. There follows an almost Indiana Jones sequence of Kirk and Bones running away from a tribe back to the Enterprise, which is cunningly hidden under the ocean so not to be seen by the tribe who are cavemen in comparison. Don’t forget about the Prime Directive of the Federation where Starfleet cannot interfere with the development of a species. Cutting a short story shorter, Spock gets stuck inside the volcano and Kirk has to either leave him to perish or risk blowing the Prime Directive and moving the hidden Enterprise in order to transport him out. We are treated to a beautiful sequence of the Enterprise lifting from the ocean. Make no mistake, Abrams loves the Enterprise and there are many gratuitous shots of the ship which is great for fans (like me).
In a nutshell, Kirk is reprimanded for breaking code and is demoted at least he can understand the principle of cause and effect. Throughout the film, cause and effect and sense of loyalty, family are on going themes.
Enter John Harrison who gets a bomb set off in London before blowing away most of the starship captains. Incidentally, the futuristic London has been really crafted with familiar old buildings augmented in with new ones – it’s been very well considered. Kirk pleas with Starfleet to go after Harrison and it’s a warp speed ride from there.
Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent as Harrison, in fact the whole cast is excellent. You’ll remember that previously I lamented the use of Simon Pegg as Scotty but he’s really good in this film. I have nothing against Pegg but I had thought it was a poor, ratings driven, decision not to appoint someone who is actually Scottish. He’s great though, with a purpose more than to amuse the audience.
Towards the end, there is an emotion mirror of The Wrath Of Khan which once you get over the eye rolling, it’s actually very well done and because of events of the previous film, it kind of makes sense. I really enjoyed Into Darkness, again, there’s an awful lot of action and little time to internalise it all, but it’s a fantastic rush.
In a way, this new Star Trek has taken on a different life from the original series. Whilst it inherits the former’s values, it doesn’t stop to explore them much, if it gets in the way of the action.
I thoroughly enjoy them but I feel pleased that I have the sound foundations of the original cast and films to fill in the gaps of morals, ethics and life in the 23rd century.