The time is somewhere before Kirk, Spock, Bones McCoy (Chris Pine, Zachray Quinto and Karl Urban) and a cast of familiars left on a “five-year mission to seek out new life and new civilisations.” As in the original Star Trek series, the mission opening Star Trek — Into Darkness is a peaceful one based on Starfleet’s prime directive: to map new worlds and arcane cultures without influencing their future or branding the image of helpful aliens on their psyche.
So, imagine it all going horribly wrong when a submerged USS Enterprise rises and zooms away to smother the volcanic devastation destined to flatten a still-evolving planet’s eco-system (not to mention its primitive humanoid life form), with advance molecular science.
With this five-minute opening scene, J.J. Abram’s sequel accomplishes quite a few things: a reintroduction to neophyte Captain Kirk’s predisposition to contravene mission objectives; Spock’s simple-minded Vulcan logicality to follow directives without far-sightedness; and old-school exuberance where almost everything goes wrong at precisely the right moment. About 60 minutes later though, Into Darkness decides to follow a story we’ve seen twice before.
For the sake of not spoiling the experience our screenwriters (Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof) have worked out for the film, we won’t give the particulars here save for the fact that a terrorist manipulates an officer into a suicide bombing incident in future London, later attacking Starfleet headquarters and transporting himself to humanity’s emerging enemy’s territory in deep space. The villain, former Starfleet officer John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), is pissed off with good reason, but which falls short of originality.
There’s little of what we haven’t seen from any of the old Trek films: a gargantuan federation ship crashes and decimates a city by the climax, one of the leads dies in a reactor, a babe of a science officer (Alice Eve) is introduced in a haphazard story twist whose introduction lines up many connecting threads for the future. There’s lingering romance — and bromance — between the ships communication officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock, the other between Spock and Kirk.
Released by Paramount and Footprint Entertainment, Star Trek —Into Darkness is rated PG-13. The film’s excellent supporting cast includes Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood and Peter Weller. — Mohammad Kamran Jawaid