Here we boldly go again. Just four years after JJ Abrams breathed new life into the old “Star Trek” franchise, “Darkness” offers an utterly thrilling rollercoaster ride.
Extraordinary 3D hurtles you forward from the first scenes, with bits of volcano ash appearing to trickle through the screen and two of our heroes running away from an alien but rather Avatar-looking race as they dash to escape back to the Starship Enterprise.
Bits of London and San Francisco get blown up. James Tiberius Kirk is played by Chris Pine who is more like William Shatner with each scene, even though the two look different from each other.
Zachary Quinto also reprises his turn as Mr Spock. Both the leads charm us with their bromance.
Our villain is Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison, a Starfleet expert gone rogue. The Enterprise chases him back to dangerous Klingon territory. Twists and turns take you through references to Mudd, tribbles, familiar lines and objects.
Hollywood Rule 1 states that evil lurks whenever a character is a Brit. So you know Harrison is a really bad guy as soon as he opens his mouth and that cute accent comes out.
Best of all is the revamped Enterprise, the scene of much of the action and looking just gorgeous. Glossy corridors, Scotty’s engine room and the medical bays are all souped up but keep their original flavour. Older fans will be thrilled and new fans will adore it all.
Lots of big and little spaceships, planets and a futuristic earth make the 132 minutes zap by. Just for once, a recent movie justifies its length.
Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are joined by “Prometheus” and “Lost” writer Damon Lindelof so you get some symbols and philosophy, but that won’t trouble you. The fourth writing credit goes to Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek’s daddy.
Pine and Quinto are perfect and the supporting cast lifts the movie up a notch. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura, Simon Pegg’s Scotty, Karl Urban’s Bones, Anton Yelchin’s Chekov and John Cho’s Sulu are all wonderful.
Alice Eve plays a scientific officer – British but not evil – and wears black underwear very prettily. Teenage boys will want a poster of that scene.
Peter Weller (not British) play’s Alice’s dad, Admiral Marcus and Bruce Greenwood is a believable Christopher Pyke, Kirk’s mentor.
Stratford East Picturehouse was packed with very happy viewers of all generations. There were lots of “oohs”, “aahs” and groans as the story unfolded.
Like with Star Wars, sequels and prequels can be confusing so this is either the 12th or the 2nd Star Trek franchise film, depending on where you start counting from.
Yes, much of the story will seem familiar, if you have seen all the movies. That’s reassuring, rather than annoying.
J.J Abrams keeps everything moving forward very quickly and this keeps the pace fast, although you lose track of a few minor characters along the way.
All in all, it’s a terrific pleasure and my inner Trekkie can hardly wait to see it again and again. Watch it on a big screen, in 3D. Truly, it’s awesome.
You’ll want it to live long and prosper.