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Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free] 
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When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organisation has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
Pioneering director J.J. Abrams delivers the explosive action thriller Star Trek Into Darkness, following on from the international box office success of Star Trek in 2009. Featuring a stellar cast including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Alice Eve, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Bruce Greenwood, Noel Clarke and Peter Weller.
- Creating the Red Planet
- Attack on Starfleet
- The Klingon Home World
- The Enemy of My Enemy
- Ship to Ship
- Brawl by the Bay
A good portion of Trekkies (or Trekkers, depending on one's level of Star Trek obsession) have special affection for episodes of the original TV series that related to Earth and other-Earth cultures visited by the crew of the Enterprise, version 1.0. Some of the shows unfolded in distorted forms of the past, some in the present day of Star Trek's future reality. Director J.J. Abrams recognised the importance of this relationship in his origin-story reboot of the franchise in 2009, and in Star Trek Into Darkness he has made it an even greater touchstone to the roots of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's defining philosophy from nearly 50 years ago. The human home world is key to the plot of this spectacularly bold leap into Star Trek lore, which cleverly continues along the alternate path that was established as separate from the "original" Star Trek universe in Abrams's first whiz-bang crack at advancing the mythology. But it's not just Earth that is cool and imperiled in this rendering of adventure in the 23rd century; Into Darkness also plays with the original conceit that Earthlings were member to a multi-species United Federation of Planets ruled by a "Prime Directive" of noninterference with other civilisations. The conflict comes when rogue elements in the Earth-based Starfleet Command hunger to shift focus from peaceful exploration to militarisation, a concept that is anathema to the crew of the Enterprise and her ongoing mission.
The new cast is again inventively reunited, each of them further investing their characters with traits that reveal novel acting choices while staying true to the caricatures that are ingrained in our popular culture. The interplay between Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock is deeper, and Zoe Saldana as Uhura is a solid third in their relationship. John Cho (Sulu), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), and Karl Urban (McCoy) all have standout roles in the overall ensemble mystique as well as the plot-heavy machinations of this incarnation's narrative. Fortunately, the burdens of the story are well served by some important additions to the cast. Benedict Cumberbatch's Shakespearean aura, ferociously imperious gaze, and graceful athleticism make him a formidable villain as the mysterious Starfleet operative John Harrison. Harrison has initiated a campaign of terror on Earth before leading the Enterprise to even greater dangers in the enemy territory of Klingon-controlled space. That his background may make dedicated Trekkies/Trekkers gasp is just one acknowledgment of the substantial and ingrained legacy Star Trek has borne. There are many references, nods and winks to those with deep reverence for the folklore (some of them perhaps a little too close to being inside-baseball), though the fantastical and continually exciting story stands as an expertly crafted tale for complete neophytes. Another new face is Peter Weller--iconically famous in sci-fi-dom as RoboCop--here playing a steely, authoritative Starfleet bigwig who may also be following a hidden agenda. Not only is he running a covert operation, he's also at the helm of a fearsome secret starship that looms over the Enterprise like a shark poised to devour its prey.
Which brings us to the awesome CGI effects driving the dazzling visual style of Into Darkness and the endlessly fascinating cosmos it makes real. The wow factor extends from the opening set piece on an alien world of primitive humanoids, garish vegetation, and a roiling volcano to the finale of destruction in a future San Francisco that is elegantly outfitted with gleaming-spired skyscrapers and all manner of flying vehicles. (London also gets a breathtaking 23rd-century makeover). With a coolness that glistens in every immaculately composed shot, the movie never forgets that humanism and creativity make the myriad design details and hyper-technology pop out as much more than eye candy. The biggest achievement of Star Trek Into Darkness is that it hews to the highest standard of a highly celebrated tradition. Though Kirk and co. may bend it a little, the Prime Directive remains unbroken. --Ted Fry
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Let's get the 'bad' out of the way first: -
The tone overall is more serious than the last movie. While some viewers won't mind, others may. It didn't bother me much, but it was noticeable.
The villain's identity was impossible to keep under wraps in this day and age of social media leaks, and although I'm not going to spoil it here, knowing it in advance does flavour how you feel about the movie, especially the earlier scenes where we're not supposed to know much about Cumberbatch's character.
Several major characters who enlivened the first movie get almost no screen time here. Chekov gets little to do except look panicked, and even Simon Pegg's Scotty is largely sidelined. The Kirk/Spock banter and spiky friendship gets a fun workout for the first third of the film, but then gets largely forgotten as the chase develops and the tone darkens.
Finally, the plot feels rather like a string of exciting events strung together, rather than a particularly coherently told story.
The Good: -
It opens fantastically, with a brilliant, visually inventive and very entertaining escapade.
Kirk and Spock's relationship gets to develop and evolve, with a lot of fun moments.
The effects are stunning, including a lot of scenery and ideas I haven't seen done before.
Cumberbatch is a thrilling and dangerous character, more than able to fascinate the viewer even in a scene with several of the lead characters.
The film also advances the 'politics' a little, bringing in a traditional Star Trek species in an important storyline role.
Into Darkness is very much Star Trek's 'anti-terrorism' story and if analysed, many elements tie in discreetly as commentary on how America has reacted post 9/11. However, while 'darker' than the previous film, it doesn't take itself too seriously and does come packed with surprises and thrills, and ties up some storyline elements in very clever ways.
Top-drawer big-budget Hollywood fare at it's 'almost' best, and a film that gives great hopes for the series' continuing future.
All the familiar Star Trek tropes are present - Kirk and Spock's bromance is developing nicely, Scotty is tetchy as ever, Checkov is earnest and eager. There's the moral tussle too - is lashing out in revenge really the right course of action? When you invent a weapon of mass destruction should you really be surprised to find it turned on you? Kirks's character & the leadership qualities he has in spades are shown as maturing nicely as he wrestles with all the issues dealing with John Harrison throw up.
Never having seen most of the original cast films Khan had no resonance for me but as he's portrayed here he made for a fascinating and complex villain. His cause wasn't completely unjust, his grievance against Star Fleet and Admiral Marcus genuine. Even when he's being helpful he's quietly menacing & obviously untrustworthy but never less than compelling.
I deducted one star because of really disappointing extras on the DVD. Two five minute features - one detailing how a set piece was designed and shot, the other concerning John Harrison. Not even a gag reel.
Great fun and lots of bang for your buck. Recommended.
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