Thursday, May 9, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Review (5/5)

Directed by J.J. Abrams. Starring Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Alice Eve, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Nolan North.

THE PLOT: We open on a volcanic planet, sometime back in the future, and with the good ship Enterprise hovering nearby, the impulsive, impertinent Captain James Kirk (Pine) and Lieutenant Commander Bones McCoy (Urban) flee the angry natives through a Dr. Seuss landscape as the highly logical Commander Spock (Quinto) tries to cap a volcano that is all set to wipe out this indigenous race. A last-minute rescue - wherein these simple natives witness the Enterprise in full flight - means a swift demotion for Kirk, and a reassignment for Spock. Luckily, there's a mad doctor on the loose, and he seems set on wiping out the entire Starfleet. With the blessing of Admiral Marcus (Weller), the boys are reunited with their crew, as they go after rogue super-agent John Harrison (Cumberbatch), hiding out deep in Kling-On country...

THE VERDICT: Say what you like about the big, fat corporate branding being force-fed to us by the major studios, when it comes to big, fat entertaining franchise movies, dang, it seems to be working. Last week's Iron Man 3 was a giddy blast, and now, along comes the second of the rebooted Star Trek outings - and it might just be one of the year's finest films. J.J. Abrams once again sets his phaser to stun. And he does. Magnificently.

There's hardly time to breathe with In Darkness before you're hit with another thrill-ride, well-crafted quip or that all-important emotional punch - think Skyfall with holograms on. The alien-goes-to-Eton look of Benedict Cumberbatch makes for one delicious villain, whilst Pine, Quinto and the gang settle ever deeper into the roles they seem destined to play. Even the stock-character comedy accents of Yelchin (as Russian Tactical Officer Chekhov) and Pegg (as Scottish engineer Scotty) can't quite derail the sci-fi fantasy fun here. MajQa'. 

Review by Paul Byrne

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