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Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

By Arpad Lukacs • August 29th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Paramount Home Entertainment

Release date: September 2nd, 2013
Running time: 132 minutes

Director: J. J. Abrams
Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof

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

Star Trek Into Darkness

J. J. Abrams’ first venture into the Star Trek franchise in 2009 gave us a somewhat more militaristic view of Starfleet when compared to its portrayal in the TV series. It’s safe to assume that this was done for entertainment purposes, to make this space exploring organisation more exciting and action-ready for mainstream audiences. This time round though, the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness has the militarisation of Starfleet as part of its plot along with some topical connotations.

It’s not too surprising – just like the Cold War made its way into cinema in many twisted ways – that certain lines of dialogue in the film ring a few familiar bells. It has to be the cold and logical Spock (Zachary Quinto) who resists the targeted assassination of the film’s antagonist (Benedict Cumberbatch) against the hot-headed Kirk (Chris Pine), who just wants the guy dead after a devastating terrorist attack in London. The two argue about the morality of taking someone out without a trial, so we can think just a little bit before all hell breaks loose.

The attack on London brings our heroes back together after a spectacular opening where Kirk ends up disregarding the infamous Prime Directive of non-interventionism and then just says: “What’s the big deal?” While your average Trekkie can provide you with a long list of events where the Prime Directive was ignored throughout the history of the franchise without anyone taking notice, this is indeed a serious matter in the Star Trek universe. Kirk’s following demotion and Spock’s transfer is only reversed due to a crisis of potentially epic proportions, so that the two can get back on the USS Enterprise and go after a mysterious agent with a serious grudge against Starfleet.

Star Trek Into Darkness

The relationship between Spock and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) may have been a bit of a surprise in the first film, but feels really natural and fun in the sequel. They don’t hold back on the arguments and needless to say that Kirk’s dragged into one in the midst of a battle in a charming scene that highlights the great character dynamic throughout. Scotty (Simon Pegg) is back of course, he resigns his post on the Enterprise due to a weapon of mass destruction on board only to re-join the team from another location and make impacts on the plot unexpectedly in many hilarious ways. With an engaging and exciting story, Into Darkness has plenty to please a general audience, while also has moments for the fans – including a scene that mirrors another, but I should stop here and let you see it for yourself.

A brief but memorable appearance by the fierce Klingons is the only reminder that the film couldn’t possibly live up to all of the potential placed into the plot. The looming threat of an all-out war with the Klingon Empire will soon be forgotten as we begin to realise who this “Loki-esque” villain really is. This has no diminishing effect on the film, but it does show this is a massive franchise with a lot going on, and the story needed to be kept neat. Instead of war, we’re treated to an elaborate game of chess between two starships and a spectacular climax. Star Trek Into Darkness should delight the Star Wars fans who eagerly stand by for Episode VII, as this film means that J. J. Abrams got two out of two right. It seems the director really can take a long standing sci-fi franchise and modernise it in a way that both mainstream audiences and the devoted nit-picking fans are happy with the result.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Arpad Lukacs

Arpad Lukacs

Arpad is a Film Studies graduate and passionate photographer (he picked up the camera and started taking stills just as he began his studies of moving pictures). He admires directors that can tell a story first of all in images. More or less inevitably, Brian De Palma has become Aprad’s favourite filmmaker.

Then there’s Arpad’s interest in anime. He was just a boy when he saw Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on an old VHS and was hypnotised by the story of friendship, devotion and sacrifice. He still marvels at the uncompromising and courageous storytelling in Japanese anime, and wonders about the western audience with its ever growing appetite for “Japanemation”.

Have a look at Arpad's photography site, and you can follow him on Twitter @arpadlukacs.

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