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Star Trek Into Darkness (3D) (AF)


Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Alice Eve

Director: J J Abrams

The USS Enterprise soars through space again.

That’s obviously terrific news for Trekkies/Trekkers who have rightly been desperate to see J J Abrams’ second big-screen reboot of the classic series at any price. And it’s great news, too, for regular moviegoers who enjoy a good science fiction adventure, powerfully told and one that, moreover, vividly demonstrate that Abrams and his scenarists Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof understand the essential appeal of Gene Roddenberry’s creation and, moreover, have cast it cleverly.

Abrams starts off running – as are Chris Pine’s Kirk and Karl Urban's Dr McCoy who are fleeing pasty-faced aliens on a bizarre world before the USS Enterprise rises from under the water and they are saved.

After Kirk loses the captaincy of the USS Enterprise and he and Zachary Quinto’s Mr Spock fall out (Vulcans are unable to lie and therefore cannot become Members of Parliament or publicists). But, naturally, they bond again in the face of super-villain Harrison, sleekly played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who informs Kirk, “You think your world is safe? It is an illusion. A comforting lie told to protect you. Enjoy these final moments of peace. For I have returned to have my vengeance”. And he keeps his word, first by exploding a massive bomb in 2259 London and then joining Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise to boldly go where no man has gone before, to save civilization as we know it, Jim…

Abrams understands perfectly Roddenberry’s format, which was to concentrate on characters, their relationships and their reactions to disaster, as his storytelling proves. The special effects used in the original television series were frequently ludicrous, as were the often-daft studio sets that ‘created’ alien worlds.

Here, while never overwhelming his characters with movie magic (Pine, Pinto, Cumberbatch and company are as perfect as required) Abrams deploys state of the art special effects to tremendous effect, gloriously bringing ‘Star Trek’ into the 21st century once again. Comedy – and the film is spiced with sharp wit – adds to the overall impact (although, I imagine, Simon Pegg’s ludicrous Scottish accent as engineer Mr Scott was not intended to be amusing which, embarrassingly for the actor, it unintentionally is).

In essence there are no dull moments, with Abrams starting fast and then making sure the show never loses momentum as one superb character-driven action sequence follows another.

Even better, a sequel is signalled.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
130 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 May 2013