WITH Eugene, the little known fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (chiefly responsible for chilly winds, drizzle, grey clouds and low sales of garden equipment) hanging about in Ireland at the moment, there’s never been a better time to shake your fist at the sky and then run into your nearest cinema for a couple of hours of pure escapism.
Which brings me to Star Trek Into Darkness – a film that’s been out a few weeks now (but hey, my review, my rules, and for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, my review might help).
Warping into view a little later than you’d expect after its highly-successful prequel a few years ago, Star Trek Into Darkness continues on with pretty much business as usual for Kirk and the crew – time to save the planet, universe or girl, or all three.
Starting with a rip-roaring opener on a primitive planet in peril, Captain Kirk’s (Pine) insistence on saving the life of his First Officer, Spock (Quinto) during the mission – thus breaking a fundamental Starfleet Prime Directive in the process – sees him demoted and about to be reassigned.
What better time for a supervillain to emerge, necessitating the gang getting back together?
Enter a rogue Starfleet agent, John Harrison (Cumberbatch), who promptly causes all sorts of headaches, mayhem and deaths, prompting Admiral Marcus (a typically scenery-chewing Peter Weller) to let bad-boy Kirk and by-the-rules Spock head off to eliminate Harrison with extreme prejudice and also, hopefully, avert war with the Klingon Empire. Which would be nice.
Of course, things don’t quite go to plan, as Harrison – soon unmasked as someone substantially more capable, driven and dangerous than the Enterprise crew were expecting – has his own mission to carry out.
It’s not long before the fate of the Enterprise, as well as Starfleet, hangs in the balance …
As Star Trek films go (yes, yes, I know it’s a rebooted series), well, it’s not up there with The Undiscovered Country, or The Voyage Home.
Still, it builds on the highly-successful template set out in the first film, with decent interaction between the crew, and just enough knowing asides and comments to link the film to the classic TV show.
As you’d expect, the effects and pacing are pretty impressive, although the film never quite matches the momentum established with the energetic opening sequence.
Complaints? Some of the cast barely get a look-in – for example, as Sulu, John Cho has little more to do than keep different chairs warm, given that spaceship flyin’, pistol-packin’ Uhura (Saldana) has many scenes as the busiest glorified switchboard operator in Starfleet.
On the other hand, Cumberbatch is a great Trek villain, while, in his returning, brief role as Captain Pike, Bruce Greenwood beams over with a touch of class. I love cliches (as my regular, beleagured Gaming readers know), so I’ll end on one – this is worth trekking over to …