Star Trek Into Darkness - Blu-ray Review

'The brief glimpse of a boldly-going adventure film in the opening is tantalising and all the more frustrating when Abrams' film doesn't follow that idea further.'

Star Trek can be an emotional subject. Just ask Star Trek writer Roberto Orci.

Writer unhappy, fans unhappy; it begs the question: who exactly did Star Trek Into Darkness satisfy?

Certainly there is a feeling of, if not anger, then at least frustration, mild annoyance, when the sequel to director J. J. Abram's own reboot of the franchise reaches its end credits. The final half of the film is choc full of recycled beats and clichés; the Hollywood formula run rampant. One machination in particular, to do with Chris Pine's Kirk at the start of the film's finale, is unbelievable in its inclusion here. This is only the second film of the franchise. Are they really running out of ideas that quickly?

That it leaves with such a sour taste of idea-less writing is a shame, considering that the first third of Into Darkness is fantastic. Abrams and writers Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof set us up straight into a humour-filled, tongue-in-cheek, real-things-at-stake, ten minutes or so; so reminiscent of Star Trek series past, really in-tune with what made the multiple series great and the characters greater. The brief glimpse of a boldly-going adventure film in that opening is tantalising and all the more frustrating when Abrams' film doesn't follow that idea further.

Part of the problem is that that ten minutes then has to evolve into a two-hour plus film. If that opening, the first third in fact, was an episode which needed a five minute wrap-up, we'd probably be looking at the best Star Trek episode ever. An unpublicised problem with these new reboots is that this was never a property originally intended to go the distance. Yes, there is the vast catalogue of previous films, but how many are entirely successful? The entire structure of Star Trek is predicated on being on a new planet within the first five minutes of an episode, and off it by the end. A brief five-minute cameo by a group of ropey Klingons here is hardly a welcome substitute. Come in HBO, here's another that needs rescuing, though I suspect Paramount's bank balance says otherwise.

Of the rest of what's on offer here, the main cast of The Enterprise continue to do extremely well. Pine has the charm and charisma needed and its nice to see Karl Urban's Bones remain on his shoulder whilst Kirk's relationship with Spock (Zachary Quinto) continues to develop down the established route. The newcomers here fare less well. Alice Eve is essentially here to set her character up for a potential roll in the third instalment, though she does enter the plot eventually. Benedict Cumberbatch, as villain John Harrison, has only one setting involving expressive intonation and shouting. At no point was I menaced.

Their relative struggles evidence the film's problems as a whole. This is a franchise that needs change, innovation, something more than the cliché and the tired recycling. But when it even partially tries it, what does it end up with? A return to things past, that don't entirely work.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

No comments:

Post a Comment