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Star Trek Into Darkness

Review by Paul Bowler

Star Trek Into Darkness (poster)

After rebooting the floundering Star Trek franchise in 2009, JJ Abrams boldly inventive revamp was a box office smash. With its all new cast of young officers and just the right balance of action and adventure, Abrams crafted an entirely new version of Star Trek, while remaining true to the legacy of the original series and its iconic characters. For the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, director JJ Abrams returns along with the principle cast in a film bursting with eye popping special effects and spectacular actions sequences.

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When their mission to stop a volcano erupting on a distant planet causes Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine) to disobey regulations, Kirk ends up being stripped of his command. Forced to serve under his old mentor, Rear Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), it looks like there is no way back for Kirk this time. But when Starfleet is left reeling from a terrorist attacks on London and San Francisco, by John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), Kirk is reinstated by Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller).

Kirk is soon back on the Enterprise, along with first officer Spock (Zachary Quinto), communications officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana), navigator Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin), chief medical officer Dr Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), chief engineer Montgomer Scott (Simon Pegg), helmsman Sulu (John Cho), and newcomer Dr Carol Marcus (Alice Eve).

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Captain Kirk and his crew set out to track down the mysterious Harrison deep inside Klingon territory, with orders to deal with the threat. But when they discover who Harrison really is the crew of the Enterprise must face their greatest challenge yet, outgunned and facing impossible odds, they must succeed at any cost.

With its great ensemble cast and exciting plot, Star Trek Into Darkness is a resounding success on all levels. The friendship between the hot headed Captain Kirk and the logical half human Spock is really put to the test in Star Trek Into Darkness, as they face a crisis of confidence, with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto both giving terrific performances. Spock’s relationship with Uhura also brings an added dimension to the character, while Kirk sets his sights on new Science Officer Dr Carol Marcus.

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Karl Urban plays a crucial role as Dr Leonard “Bones” McCoy, John Cho’s helmsman Sulu gets right in the thick of the action, along with Anton Yelchn’s Chekov, and Simon Pegg is on brilliant form chief engineer Scotty.

Benedict Cuumberbatch is fantastic as John Harrison, exuding a palpable menace in every scene; he poses a far more credible threat to Kirk and the Enterprise than Eric Bana’s aggrieved Romulan from the first film. As Starfleet reels from the wrath of Harrison’s attacks, the stage is set for some epic confrontations between Kirk and his deadly adversary, and fans will savour every moment as Harrison’s back story gradually unfolds.

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The trio of writers on Star Trek Into Darkness are headed by Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who wrote the first film, and co author of Prometheus and the television series Lost, Damon Lindelof. The plot of this highly anticipated sequel is full of references to old Star Trek episodes and characters, and the nostalgic tone sits perfectly within the warp core of this rebooted franchise. Star Trek Into Darkness is directed with copious amounts of lens by flare by JJ Abrams that gleams across all the brilliantly orchestrated set-pieces: featuring exotic alien planets, a thrilling jump into an erupting volcano, phaser fights, a stunning jetpack ride, and with plenty of jaw dropping action for the USS Enterprise to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Star Trek Into Darkness takes this reinvigorated franchise to even greater heights. Filled with spellbinding action, great character moments, humour, and plenty of nods to the past for fans, Star Trek Into Darkness will leave you eagerly awaiting next voyage of the Starship Enterprise as her crew set out to boldly go once more.