Into Darkness

In 2009 Star Trek was rebooted. It is the in-word for taking a much loved series and starting again. That movie took risks changing what was a well-loved brand, universe and let’s face it huge fan base. However, it worked, despite a few niggles and maybe one set that was never quite right. It worked because it did too things; made money and made new fans. So we move on and wait. Unlike other studios, with Trek there is no spin-off here, no solo performances to fill the void. We have had to wait nearly as long as the original 5-year mission for the second installment.

Having said that, much has been said about this second rebooted Star trek movie and then again, nothing much at all. A trailer teaser gave away something. It featured a character, named John Harrison, a Starfleet officer with the ability to help another’s apparently serious ill daughter. It hinted at something, something that could be very dark in the Trek universe. The whole point of a movie is to tell a story. It is supposed to take the viewer from place A to B with goodness knows what in-between. The story should be make you want to watch and become engaged. This hint teased, you did not know where it was within this story. Again we then had to wait. Finally we get to see what all the rumors were about.

Into Darkness opens with a classic feel. The Enterprise, with a very young and ‘green’ Kirk in charge, Spock in danger of course and the age old prime directive about to be compromised. Now there are many fans who felt at the end of the first movie that Kirk had not earned right to sit in the big chair. But, then to tell that story in the first movie would have taken hours and effectively required a whole host of academy films. Fans might have gone for that, the rest of the public never. Film’s these days have to make big bucks to pay everyone off and create the environment for the next. Yes, in theory Kirk should not have been Captain at the end of movie one. If that had been that, it would have been fine, however it gets addressed a little in this movie.

The dynamics between the young crew have yet to be properly seen. Here is one of the biggest dilemmas for JJ Abrams. In the television series we are led to believe the crew are on it’s five-year mission. They know each other, they have spent time together and have history. By reworking the series, this has all gone. So we are left with building the characters from the start. That was very clear from the first film and it underpins this one, the dynamics of how the crew work and trust each other. In this movie Kirk and Spock are still coming to terms with each other as Captain, first officer and the beginning of one of those rare on-screen friendships. McCoy is the slightly awkward third person here, a sounding board to both. The rest of the ‘original’ crew continue to explore their roles. One which does not really fit yet is Uhura. That character should be more composed with the hint of action. I can only guess that Abrams needs to give this character something to do.

Add to the mix a ‘new’ villain, John Harrison, one who disguises his true motives making the audience wait. The action is fast paced, explosive to say the least and in places typical Star Trek. Humour was always thrown in when others feared to smile. Now for what might sound an odd reference – They do it with mirrors – is a line that comes from an Agatha Christie novel. Now that may appear strange but trust me it does say much about Into Darkness and it’s my only clue. 

I wont give away the plot as I don’t review movies that way. What I will say is that it worked for me and very well. Clever one might say. I did get all the hints and smiled when I was right. The cast did grow in this movie, yes there are a few annoying bits but then the movie was not filmed just for me. They never will and the old fans have two options. Get over it or watch something else.

For me JJ Abrams paced this movie just right. It had action, humour, compassion, classic Star Trek. Remember, he has to fit at least 4 major and 5 not so major characters together. Let alone a supporting cast, some of whom steal scenes. Each needs to give the audience there all in order to make the movie work.

This movie ends with a hope of more films to come. Does it end good or bad? Well, you have to go and see for yourself.

Rating 4.5/5

Tagline ‘Hint – Mirror, mirror, remember?’