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Star Trek: Into Darkness - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published May 9th 2013
Boldly going where they've been before
Director: J.J Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8, Mission Impossible 3)
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch

I am not a geek. I have never watched Buffy and I don't own any action hero figures. I don't even have a cap with a propeller on it. So my take on Star Trek Into Darkness is purely from a non-geek perspective.

star trek into darkness chris pine zachary pinto kirk spock
Spock and Kirk: The ultimate odd couple

Into Darkness is a breathless string of action sequences, with many set-pieces featuring large scale destruction and explosions. For me though, the film's main strength is the dynamic between the two main characters, Captain Kirk and Spock. Even though Spock has a girlfriend and Kirk is a relentless womaniser, the two of them could easily carry off a romantic comedy together, such is their on-screen chemistry. They are the ultimate odd couple and the script is at its best when they are playing off each other.

For a non-genre aficionado like me, the humour is a major asset. Spock in particular, having the advantage of being half-Vulcan, has an unintentional artillery of droll lines, and its hard to imagine a more suitable Spock than Zachary Quinto to deliver them. He's so perfect it's hard to think of him as anyone else but Spock when he's in other films.

star trek into darkness chris pine kirk khan benedict cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Pine

In addition to the two leads, a lot of the peripheral characters are used for comic effect, although it's a shame Anton Yelchin didn't get the chance to torture more vowel sounds with his exaggerated Russian accent.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who has a talent as outrageous as his name, makes an effective villain. He exudes menace without going over the top, and even manages to evince sympathy, despite his diabolical ways.

star trek into darkness chris pine kirk alice eve
Alice Eve and Chris Pine

Into Darkness maintains a fair amount of suspense, not an easy task considering the inevitably of the general outcome inherent in a franchise film. This can be put down to the fact that the characters are actually well developed, even for someone coming to the series for the first time.

For most though, the action and special effects will be the big draw. As seen at Imax, the scale of the production is impressive and the images are seamless. I'm not a fan of 3D, but for the CGI sequences at least, it definitely created a real depth of field and a more immersive experience.

Die-hard Trekkies the world over are having a nerdboner over Into Darkness. My reaction isn't quite so extreme, but for those of you less delirious about the oeuvre, it should still make for an entertaining ride.

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Why? Why? It's Star Trek!
Where: At cinemas everywhere
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