So hello again, new readers and old. If you are part of the fancy new Facebook page then welcome! Thanks for getting involved and I hope this blog doesn’t disappoint. In a nut shell every now and then I will stick up reviews of films that I have seen and will let you know my thoughts on them as well as any deals that I become privy to. Watch out for spoilers and as always let me know what you think of the film and of my review if you fancy it.
So on to the nitty gritty. Star Trek into the Darkness got watched this week and because I was feeling fruity it got watched at the IMAX, and what a good decision that was! But more on that later.
With Abrams now confirmed to be directing the new Star Wars films and with Star Trek fans ready to make a fetching throw rug out of anyone who does bad things to the Star Trek canon, it is fair to say that a lot of sci fi lovers (me included) will be watching this film very keenly. The pressure was certainly on for Abrams with this bad boy, in the same way it will be for Justin Bieber when he comes to release his next album, oh no wait Justin Bieber is awful and his next album will be as enjoyable as being kicked in the chebbs. Well anyway JJ Abrams obviously enjoys pressure as much as Peter Andre enjoys making mind numbingly dull and death defyingly turgid tv shows for ITV2 because this film certainly delivers, in a big way. Here’s what I think.
The new film picks up where the first one left off, Kirk is captain and all of the relevant characters are in their relevant positions on board the enterprise. Scottie (Simon Pegg) in engineering, Bones (Karl Urban) in medical, Spock is questioning all of Kirk’s decisions and Uhuru (Zoe Saldana) with her futuristic blue tooth on her ear pressing all kinds of buttons and talking all kinds of languages in communications. The great thing straight away is that I don’t think you need to be an expert in Star Trek lore or indeed that you even need to have seen the last film to enjoy this one. It is very much a stand alone work but of course if you know the past film and anything about Star Trek in general then there are some moments that will have you wriggling around with glee like a teenage boy who just discovered that in the original Franco Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet film Juliet’s nipple pops out in the scene where Romeo is leaving. Not that I know that of course, I just heard it somewhere…..(certainly made watching Shakespeare in English lessons at school a lot more interesting).
On this outing the baddie is set up as Cumberbatch (watch out for spoilers) who starts out as John Harrison a top star fleet agent, but turns out he is actually Khan, a cryo frozen super soldier from 300 years in the past. What were the odds of that happening. Getting straight to the point, Cumberbatch is awesome. Everything you need from a baddie, brooding, evil, super smart and super strong with a look that makes you think that he will just as soon as bite your nose off as shake you firmly by the hand (reminds me of a girl I once dated). He really drives the plot forward and with him being evil the stakes are always high throughout, if he is allowed to win then literally humanity will be blown out of existence through a war with the Kling ons. This is not dissimilar to the plot line in Demolition man, a Stallone classic, where a super villain is cryogenically frozen and woken up to wreak havoc on the world, luckily Stallone is a bad ass. A highlight for me is when Cumberbatch takes out a whole squadron of Kling ons single handed with Kirk looking on like a scared girl. The point is in no uncertain terms Khan has to be stopped, quickly and fundamentally.
With Cumberbatch being such a great villain putting in a fantastic performance, you need a strong hero to fight back, someone you can really invest in and love, someone who defies the bleak odds and inspires hope through a jovial lift of an eyebrow. In my opinion Chris Pine doesn’t fully live up to this. He does try a lot and he is obviously investing a lot in the character but for me it looks like a child trying to convince his parents that he is a big boy and he isn’t scared. The script is a touch clunky at times too which doesn’t help, but Kirk seems a lot like a rebellious teenager rather than a pioneering rebel with the tenacity to save the world. This really stands out during scenes with Spock (Zach Quinto) who again is superb. Yes Spock is always introvert and the Vulcan side of him really hinders his emotional capacity but the inner battle that he has going on is really compelling and you do feel for Spock throughout (the film culminates with an epic one on one scrap between Spock and Khan which had me drooling like a 6 year old in Hamleys). Kirk for me hasn’t grown enough from the first film and has too much of a journey to go on in this film which makes Chris Pine’s task very difficult indeed. He isn’t awful but it did lack something in my opinion.
The story, as with most Star Trek films, is complicated with twists and turns popping up all over the place but it is not overly complex and you never feel lost. The ending is predictable but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the interesting thing is the build up to it. Two performances that I need to highlight are 1) Karl Urban’s Bones who like in the first film is brilliant. Similar enough to the original character but new enough to be interesting. He is great and offsets the temper tantrums that Kirk has with his stony looks and ice cold demeanour. 2) Simon Pegg as Scottie, I think he really holds his own. His accent slips at times but it is generally very good and he is laugh out loud funny which is really needed.
Finally as I said earlier, I saw this film at the IMAX screening and if you get a chance to do the same I cannot recommend this highly enough. Yes it is more expensive but by golly it is worth it. The effects are breath taking and the soundscape is just superb, the sound batters at your chest and makes your seat vibrate with the intensity, it is like a roller-coaster and believe me that is not an exaggeration. A word to the wise, Orange Wednesday tickets do work at IMAX screenings but you have to pay more anyway and you need special glasses so you can nay bring your normal ones with you and use those because they won’t work.
Overall this film really was very good indeed. It is colourful, vibrant, funny, action packed, witty and heart felt and seeing it at the IMAX was like going through a washing machine, in a good way (always wanted to do that when I was a kid). The effects are mind blowing and the music and sound effects are immersive and goose bump raising. So go and see this film, enjoy it and see if Kirk for you is better than he was for me. And that’s a great film.
One last thing, using this as evidence the new Star Wars is going to be pant wettingly, jaw droppingly, Peter Andre punchingly good and as satisfying as drop kicking Justin bieber in front of his pals (if he has any) in short, I can’t wait for Star Wars now!
8.5/10. Boom, I went there.