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After being called back home, the crew of the Enterprise find a seemingly unstoppable force which has attacked Starfleet and left the planet in chaos. Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are tasked with leading the deadly manhunt to capture the party responsible and settle an old score.

This was, for me, the first time at a red carpet premiere... and thanks must go to Paramount for recognising this site as a media outlet and also to the Way to Blue team for giving J.J. a moment with me. (It's funny how you can build up a hatred towards a person you've never met... and then have that torn away by actually chatting to the guy.)

He was friendly and happy to answer the curly question I threw him about the next three Star Wars episodes. And Karl Urban, I'm not ashamed to say - man crush! - that jaw... the rugged good looks... erm, sorry - lets not even get started on Chris Pine!! (Unfortunately, Mr. Quinto was rushed past the waiting fans and media at my end of the carpet... so I didn't get to meet him.)

Ok, onto the movie. I have deliberately avoided most of the hype surrounding Into Darkness, and I only saw the first trailer released late last year. Any returning viewers may have also noted a lack of any news from this site about the movie... and it was for one very simple reason... I did not enjoy XI from a Trekkies point of view. Abrams took what I loved and dumped it on its head. Turned the characters that had become cult icons into squabbling children that somehow get promoted to the senior officers on a real starship... (almost as confusing as the ending to the 1995 PC game Starfleet Academy)

We opened on a planet inhabited by a pre-warp civilisation, and our good Captain trying to save them from being doomed by natural selection. Hence the Enterprise under water shots people have winged about on-line for ages (why couldn't the ship have been in orbit though, aside from fulfilling a plot point?) Thankfully that wasn't a major sticking point and that piece of action was wrapped up nice and tidily.

Then, as with any good movie, we hard cut to the title card and smash cut to an apartment in London... and a cameo by only the second canine in Trek. A bunch of stuff happens, and then we meet our nemesis of the week - John Harrison (his introduction almost seemed to capitalise on the trailers giving away his identity... the musical score anyway.)

And so the movie goes, but I can't say anymore without spoiling the plot. As I have tweeted... J.J. has won me back, almost completely. There are some things that took me out of the fantasy though:

  • All of the scenes on Earth seemed to depict, say, 50 years into the future. We're still relying on cars (albeit electric) and a ground based mass transit system can be seen, and worst of all... the offices are kited out with furniture I can buy from Ikea. (even the curtains were bought from Ikea...)
  • The engineering set is still TOO massive for the ships overall size. Was the original idea to film it inside an abandoned Russian nuclear facility? Cause that's the look they achieved.
  • Not as many lens flares this movie - thank god - but still enough to tick me off. Especially at key moments, where the camera stopped moving right in the face of one of the set lights... argh.

With those three negatives, come a raft of positives:

  • The plot was 100 times better than the previous movie. There was a beginning, plot twist, middle, plot twist, ending. It made sense, and it roped me in with some fancy tie ins to the prime universe.
  • The music score more successfully capitalised on the established Trek canon. It was masterfully arranged and performed.
  • A little thing, but a nice homage to the Enterprise-D... watch for the alert lights on the walls in the corridors.
  • And the penultimate ending... OH MY...

Maybe it's the fact that I've accepted the prime universe has been shelved and that we are very unlikely to see anything set there again for a very long time (if ever...) Or maybe it's the fact that four years have passed since the last movie, and I'm hungry for more Trek.

Whatever the reason, I actually enjoyed this movie. It's still not true Trek, but I imagine this is what those who adored TOS felt like when DS9 came out... however, I can now build a bridge and embrace the JJ-verse.

There were plenty of nice homage's to the prime universe, something the writers must've added in after the comments from the last movie. But! the ship is still butt ugly, and I didn't get the same "heart-in-mouth" moment when she appeared for the first time (as I did in, say... any prime movie...)

NICE TOUCHES: The models sitting on Admiral Marcus' desk. Kirk actually gave "the" speech.

Starring:
Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock
Karl Urban
as Doctor McCoy
Simon Pegg
as Chief Engineer Scott
John Cho
as Ensign Chekov
Zoe Saldana
as Uhura
Also Starring:
Bruce Greenwood
Leonard Nimoy

Writen By:
Robert Orci and
Alex Kurtzman

Directed By:
J.J. Abrams
       
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