Lens Flare For Life
Let’s not beat around the Enterprise bridge here, I bloody LOVE Star Trek, always have, always will. I don’t mean lense flare blinded faith in it, there is massive inconsistency in the success of the series various Starfleet Captain’s logs over the years. They most definitely shouldn’t have gone looking for Mr. Spock in the third chapter of the movie series (Star Trek: The Search For Spock, 1984), but having said that, they fact that they did sums up one of the core themes of the Trek ethos, true friendship. I don’t have a military supporting gene in my body, but I’d sign up immediately to serve with J.J. Abrams Starship crew, space warts ‘n all.
Though Starfleet isn’t strictly a military operation, it’s premise is actually a research/discovery vessel wandering the uncharted archipelagos of space, like a future set Darwin. A HMS Beagle in space, warp speeding itself and it’s eclectic crew into interspecies/interplanetary mischief.
It’s such giddy excitement of discovery of the unknown that opens the newest episode of J.J. Abram’s Star Trek Into Darkness’ dropping us Bond like straight into the volcanic depths of danger on a potentially soon to be obsolete planet. Energising us a frantic speeds between moments of tension, beauty and outright hilarity, with a wonderful homage to the Cargo cult tribes (look it up), Abrams has such faith in what he is doing, that he is starting his movie with what would be the climax of someone else’s.
Such faith is totally founded too, as there is so much more to come. Which makes me raise a massive 3D anti-spoiler fire curtain in front of your eyes blocking out the majority of what can/should be said about the movie. Like the best Pixar movies, Star Trek Into Darkness works on many levels. For non Trekkies it is a wonderful/entertaining beautiful looking roller-coaster ride of a movie. And for folk familiar with the Trek world, there’s all that, plus a huge amount of detailing, references/nuances/phrases sprinkled around like red shirted guards to bring lovingly knowing smiles to even a 100% Vulcan heart.
It is however safe enough to say that there are consequences to everything and everybody’s actions, both great and small, recent and historical. Which is a major theme to the movie. Regardless of the reasoning behind any decisions and attempts at validation, it doesn’t mean it can be justified, and many characters in the movie find this out in one way or another.
Such themes are quite topical in regards to various modern nations justification of truly horrific actions in an apparent defence of their lands. The ramifications of said actions are potentially/evidently infinite, and such topics/subtext have been historically referenced in science fiction throughout the decades. Heavy themes admirably dealt with in the likes of Ronald D. Moore’s TV remake of Battlestar Galactica’ reflecting such themes as terrorism and Guantanamo Bay, resetting them amongst the stars.
It’s characters such as John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch in incredible form) which constantly flips our loyalties, questions or reasoning and how we justify things. Benedict truly is amazing in the movie, effectively controlling us with a sinister glance.
But all the rest of the cast reprising their various roles are also outstanding. There’s no more need to give time to give background to everyone now, as they’ve been working together (however briefly) for some time. But still getting to know each others character traits (pros/cons), which is an utter joy to behold, especially the evolving relationship between Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). In support of such moments, the script is as bright and shiny as all the 3D colours filling every scene.
As beautiful looking as it all is, I’m moving ever more away from acceptance of 3D. I really don’t think it added anything to the movie, and actually got distracted by it in the quieter moments, but I’ll be going again to see it in 2D for confirmation.
There is galaxies amount of fun to be had with Trek Into Darkness, and my head was spinning with the possibilities of where the next adventures could be. If there was one slight dent on the hull of the pristine Enterprise, it would be a desire to see it properly enter uncharted waters, with less references to it’s heritage, and to truly go, where no one has gone before.