Rashid Irani's review: Star trek into darkness

Actors Zoe Saldana, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto from "Star Trek Into Darkness" take the stage to present the award for Best Fight at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards in Culver City, California. Reuters

Star trek into darkness
Direction: JJ Abrams
Actors: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto
Rating: ***

Four years after the maiden voyage of the new starship, director JJ Abrams and his attractive young cast assume command for another adventure in the re-launched sci-fi franchise. This time around, the spacefarers boldly confront the forces of darkness in an intergalactic showdown to determine the fate of the universe.

Right from its show-stopping pre-credits sequence in which the cocky captain Kirk (Pine) and his pointy-eared first officer Spock (Quinto) save a volcanic planet from obliteration, Star Trek Into Darkness hurtles along at maximum warp-speed.

With his proven skill in narrating enjoyable yarns Abrams, who made his big-screen directorial debut with Mission:Impossible-III, dutifully pushes all the right buttons. There are plenty of smart quips, skirmishes and engaging character dynamics.

Unfortunately, the script gets bogged down with loads of techno-babble while the finer details of the plot are at times, incomprehensible.

Also, the climactic combat with the superhuman nemesis (Benedict Cumberbatch) is clunky. As would be expected, other key crew members are accounted for: the cantankerous medico (Karl Urban), an irritable communications officer (Zoe Saldana) and the overwrought engineer (Simon Pegg) with a talent to wriggle out of tight corners. Also along for the ride is the latter’s Jar Jar Binks-like alien pet.

Just in case you’re wondering, Leonard Nimoy reprises his role of the older Spock in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo. The rivalry-cum-friendship of the lead duo… polar opposites Kirk and Spock… lends an emotional undercurrent to their do-or-die mission.

On the other hand, a sub-plot involving the conflict between a Starfleet admiral and his sassy daughter has very little impact.

In effect, the sequel lacks the consistent creative vision of the 2009 outing. Nevertheless, Star Trek Into Darkness should satisfy the hardcore Trekkers while reaching out to audiences unfamiliar with the mythology surrounding the long-running space opera.


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