Previously on Star Trek…you remember the old Star Trek films? It was generally considered you’d have one good movie followed by a bad one, followed by a good one and so on, and so forth.
So would JJ Abrams second foray into the world of pointy ears and tight jump suits follow suit? Well I’m happy to say it doesn’t, it breaks the tradition by giving us two Star Trek films, back-to-back, that are good, very good.
This time round we see the crew of the enterprise in peril as John Harrison, a genetically altered human, seeks revenge on those that, well, genetically altered him.
There’s the usual amount of flying ships, last minute get out of trouble sections, one liners, raised eyebrows and destruction. This may not be a ground-breaking Star Trek movie but it feeds into the rest of the franchise nicely and Benedict Cumberbatch as Harrison makes for a menacing bad guy.
The characters in this movie are much more as we’ve come to know them. Perhaps only Spock and James T. Kirk are still finding themselves a little but Uhura, Bones, Scotty, Chekov and Sulu are pretty much there or thereabouts. Spock is still a little rigid, he hasn’t quite accepted his human side as much as the Leonard Nimoy Spock but this is probably how it was. You could imagine it would take time for him to ‘grow’ into it.
Kirk, played by Chris Pine, I’m personally still a little unsure about. I’m not sure quite what it is but I just don’t get that he could be a younger Shatner, which is after all what he’s playing.
This being me there are of course some issues. The first is the direction. I don’t know if this is JJ Abrams first use of 3D and IMAX but at times the movie has a feel ‘my first 3D IMAX movie’. You see spears being thrown at you coming out of the screen, towering crane shots that just feel like they wouldn’t normally be there if it wasn’t an IMAX movie.
I know that to add these things in when you’re directing for this medium should be good, but it just doesn’t feel very…subtle. Take, for instance, Christopher Nolan’s use of IMAX in the Batman movies. Again obviously shot that way because it was IMAX but it didn’t feel like it was done for the sake of it. It’s the same issue with the 3D, spears coming out of the screen? Come on, aren’t we a little passed that?
Then there’s the ‘trap’ which, frankly, most movies that involve some kind of time travel fall into. Spock (Quinto) speaks to Spock (Nimoy) to ask him about Khan. Nimoy says he defeated him ‘but at great cost’, he says he was the worst adversary the Enterprise had ever faced. And yet, and yet, at the end of the film they let him live, so that what? He can be unfrozen and cause the ‘great cost’ once again? But maybe that’s what the title is all about…