Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Movies: Star Trek Into Darkness

(Drivebycuriosity) - "Star Trek" was my favorite TV series in the 70s and the 80s. The episodes offered fascinating visions of the future and told stories about space travel, new technologies, encounters with aliens and much more. Later I lost interest and preferred books from authors like Gregory Benford, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark and Alastair Reynolds who are more ambitious and focus more on science, the so-called "hard science fiction". 

"Star Trek Into Darkness", the newest incarnation of the franchise, rekindled my interest (imdb). One reason was J. .J. Abrams, the director of this movie (wikipedia). This man stands behind innovative TV series like "Lost", "Person of Interest", "Alias" and more, directing "Mission: Impossible III". His oeuvre discloses Abrams as a master of modern entertainment, a virtual magician just as Walt Disney was in his days.

And he delivers. As expected, the newest "Star Trek" adventure is aimed at the U.S. cinema market, the young male adult visitor, who is addicted to action fireworks and cares less about advances in science fiction. The film shows the usual struggle between the good ones and the super villains who we have seen in many "James Bond" & "Mission Impossible" movies.

The visual effects, created by Industrial Light & Magic, a company founded by George Lucas and now part of the Disney empire, are gorgeous, especially when viewed - as I did -  in 3D on an IMAX screen. The digital spectacle sucked the audience almost into the furious action.  I often flinched because imaginary things, including enormous spaceships, seemed to fly right into my face or to crush the whole theatre. Thanks to a legion of coders and other software engineers (the final titles gave the impression that the producers had employed large parts of Silicon Valley) the audience virtually visited futuristic cities, alien landscapes and participated on breathtaking trips intö outer space.

The cast was mere support for the furious show but appropriate for an action & special effects soaked movie. I remember especially the British crew. Benedict Cumberbatch, known as "Sherlock Holmes" from the British TV series "Sherlock", is an impressive super-villain. Simon Peck convinced as the reliable technician "Scotty", a role similar to his appearance in the "Mission Impossible" franchise. Alice Eve, the eye candy of the movie, was too underemployed for my taste.

"Star Trek into Darkness" is cutting edge action cinema and a hell lot of fun. Well done J. .J.

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