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Review : Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

"In our darkest hour, when our leaders have fallen, a hero will rise."

Released (UK) 9th May 2013, Rated 12A. Runtime: 132 minutes (2 hours, 12 minutes).

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Fanart - Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison / Khan Noonien Singh, Chris Pine As Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock

Official Synopsis: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

Director: J.J. Abrams, Produced By: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, David Ellison, Written By: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof

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

The Red Corner - Lisa

Red Corner Review, by Lisa

Added May 9th, 2013

When considering the penchant of the Blue Corner to Wax lyrical about Star Trek and other geek programming, here we are with a chance to review an actual Star Trek film. We saw in 3D in our local and from a few of the audible ‘ohhhs’ and ‘ahhhs’ from the audience I suspected we were not alone on planet geek.

So maybe like me you saw the original series as a kid and didn’t think much more of it, well for some people those shows mattered. The mythos mattered. Getting things right in the trekkie verse matters to trekkie’s. I am not a trekkie so I can be honest about what I saw, what I heard and what I felt without the burden of ‘doing it justice’.

We find the Crew of the USS enterprise much as we left them in the first film. They seem to be following a directive to some ‘primitive’ plant in space. Kirk and Spock(reprised by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto) have somehow deviated from the direct order issued to observe unseen the indigenous populace and send back the information. Spock figures out how to save the people and the planet from imploding with an erupting volcano and Kirk decided they will be able to cope with seeing alien beings and spacecraft just this once. Kirk plays down the mission to Starfleet but Spock completes a full report detailing their activities. Oh that Spock he is a stickler for the rules, which film makers think we apparently we need reminding of… a lot. They get in trouble and Kirk is relieved of his command and demoted for disobeying orders. Captain Pike ( Bruce Greenwood) throws him a fatherly lifeline once more and offers him a place as first officer, Spock is to be reassigned also.

We also see a man, a Starfleet chap, at the bedside of a child. She is really sick and nothing more can be done. Low and behold Benedict Cumberbatch turns up and says ‘ I can save her’ and he duly does with a shot of his blood and a mysterious ring left for the dad. Could this blood then be used to bring someone back to life or help them later in the film…. Surely not? Not so obvious, but yes indeed it happens. So The dad then bravely pays his dues for saving the daughter’s life by sending a message to Starfleet command and then promptly blowing everyone up. This happens in London which seems to be getting blown up a lot in films these days.

This first section of the film for me felt laboured. I would have trimmed that section down considerably and found a much neater ( and cheaper way) to introduce the story line that ‘ the enterprise never leaves a man behind’ and that Kirk is a maverick who goes with his gut and not Starfleet regulation. As he later says ‘ I don’t know what I should do, I only know what I can do’ and that seems to sum up our Kirky. I think they could have left out the dad and girl storyline all together and just had the explosion go off not knowing how it happened, but that Harrison was behind it, say by watching the cctv. Harrison is an inside man after all, one of Starfleet’s own and a secret special ops type.

So senior Starfleet commanders ( and it seems their first officers) are summoned to a big meeting to decide what to do. The admiral ( Peter Weller aka Robocop)  wants him wiped off the face of the earth and calls for a manhunt to get Harrison. Kirk is suspicious and just as he questions why Harrison would do this, and that as a Starfleet inside he would know that regulation dictates a meeting of the command heads that Harrison would know that, not much time for talking left as Harrison turns up in a wee ship and tries to kill everyone.

Kirk fires back and manages to ground Harrisons vehicle, but not before many are killed and Spock has watched captain Pike die. Kirk is very upset by this and there is much weeping. Indeed there is a considerable amount of unexpected weeping in this film and not all of it was onscreen! Kirk then demands reinstatement and to be allowed to pursue Harrison. He has fled to a Klingon stronghold in the knowledge Starfleet will not dare pursue him there without threat of war from the Klingon nation.

The admiral considers and allows Kirk to take special Torpedoes with him. He suggests that they will be undetectable to the Klingons and that Kirk must be sure to wipe Harrison out of existence. Now this doesn’t seem very Starfleet with me. Surely it will turn out there is another agenda! Meanwhile Scotty, Resident engineering whizz of the enterprise is having difficulty with the torpedoes. He refuses to allow them on board the ship without first having an understanding of that they are, concerned they may affect the warp reactor thingy. A disagreement ensues between him and the revenge hungry young captain and Scottie resigns, along with his little friend.

Chekov is then promoted to chief engineer and though he is good, he aint no Scotty. So of course they break down on the edge of Klingon space. Lahura, Spock and Kirk go to the Klingon wasteland to get Harrison. They are not alone as they thought. Curiously Harrison helps them when the Klingons turn nasty as they are prone to do, and saves all their lives. When he learns that there are 70 torpedoes on the enterprise all pointed in his direction and ready to blow him to bits he surrenders. We are suspicious but Kirk is not and gives him a bit of an ass whooping. Angry at his mentors death and letting it pour on to the man who caused it. Only thing is it doesn’t seem to bother Harrison’s as he pretty much heals straight away. That will be that healing blood we saw at the start… another reminder that had me rolling my eyes.

Benedict Cumberbatch was really very good in his role as Khan. I have to admit that when he said what his name was I went… ohh… into myself. I know there is a star trek film called Wrath of Khan so I am guessing he comes back and is somewhat Wrathful. My only complaint was that it wasn’t the big show down of mega genius that I expected. It was more subtle and in some ways I liked this. At no time did we as an audience trust him, even when he seemed to be on the side of the goodies. He had his own agenda and stuck to it. Though I didn’t mind the fight scene between him and logic-loving Spock.

So it turns out Robocop, oops I mean the commander, lied! He just wanted to go ahead and  start a war with the Klingons and use khan to get a weaponry leg up and then get rid of all Khan’s pals as well. He manages to beam his daughter to his ship and then decides to attack the enterprise. Kirk is forced to use Khan as an ally, but we know that we should not trust him. So while Kirk and Khan go get the new ‘bad guy’ Spock takes command of the ship. When Khan unsurprisingly takes over the other ship and becomes the threat/bad guy Spock is forced to choose what he should do as Khan has Kirk. So He sends the torpedoes but takes the men out of them so as to preserve their lives while holding a bargaining chip and ensuring Khan can’t kill all the crew of the ship.

So then all is well aboard the enterprise. I enjoyed the film much more than I expected to. Even though there were parts of the film that were obvious… like Khans blood having the ability to regenerate/ bring Kirk back to life when he gives his life to save his crew. Even though I knew that a wee tear may still have slipped out. A most unexpected outcome. There was plenty to dislike though. I wasn’t a fan of the way they had Scotty removed from the crew though it did offer up a laugh. The most un necessary scene by far was the Blondie scientist in her bra and knickers. Sure she was good looking but it was simply for titillation and I felt the film didn’t need such low moments to sell it, so it felt even more misplaced.

For me Cumberbatch was the star of this film and he wasn’t an out and out megalomaniac psycho that the trailers had led me to believe so I was pleasantly surprised by that as the audience can understand why Khan is doing what he is doing. I enjoyed the fight scene between him and Spock as well. Overall much better than I was expecting when the niggles can be overlooked.

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