Into the darkness with beaming luminescence – Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Star Trek Into Darkness – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Roberto Orci (written by) & Alex Kurtzman (written by) & Damon Lindelof (written by) and Gene Roddenberry (television series “Star Trek”)
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban.

I have been putting off writing this review. Simply because I have no idea even where to begin or what to focus on. I try to have a general direction with these reviews. Star Trek Into Darkness has made all the rationale words of a writer and reviewer disappear from my head. All I can think of to say is: “IT WAS AMAZING! YOU NEED TO SEE IT NOW!”.

But that would not be helpful. So here I go. Trying to describe this epic film in a few hundred words.

Visually this film is stunning. The graphics are simply breathtaking. From the very first moments of the film you know that the film is going to be a visual onslaught of beauty. The techniques Abrams adopted to shoot the first Star Trek film in 2009 are evident with lens flares galore. And sometimes you notice the visual cues that are cleverly adopted to salute to the old series, including a red shirt gag. Abrams has succeeded once again in using the screen, the set, the camera, and the lighting to tell a whole narrative alongside what is said and done on screen.

What is said and done though is just as great as the visuals. Benedict Cumberbatch has made it known that he is a formidable actor in a lot of different films and TV series, and as the tormented villain of this instalment his presence seals this film with a fifth star.

Narratively this film is quite similar to the first. Captain Kirk is faced with tough choices and with his comrade of Spock by his side they battle together with their differences clashing and complimenting each other. The emotional journey of these characters is always quite interesting as the ideas of what it means to be human are explored. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are fantastic lead actors but it is really the secondary actors of Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, and Karl Urban that make this film that little bit better than other action sci-fi films. The comic relief, the emotional support, the friendship and the conflict that these characters bring to the film makes it fun, fast-paced, and thoroughly entertaining.

I loved this film, as you can probably tell, and will see it many more times to come. It is one of those films that will make me giddy with excitement and make my heart race every time. Perfectly paced, this film doesn’t drag you along for the ride but welcomes you on to the bridge and gives you a seat just behind the captain’s chair.

5/5

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Rookie, are you ready? – Dredd 3D

Dredd 3D - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Dredd 3D – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Dredd 3D (2012)

Director: Pete Travis
Writers: Carlos Ezquerra (characters), Alex Garland (screenplay), and John Wagner (characters)
Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey

There is something to be said for knowing what a film is about before stepping into the cinema. I made the rookie error of going to see a film without realising its history, even though I knew it had one. Even knowing the original starred Sylvester Stallone didn’t stop me or make me think twice. I just thought it would be like other action films I’d seen. Apparently there is a large difference between M15+ films and MA15+ films.

From the opening moments of the film I realised that I wasn’t going to like this film as much as I’d hoped. I think I’ve been spoilt by seeing clever action films. Christopher Nolan, Tony Gilroy, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott have something to answer for with their clever camera work and screenplays. I was not ready for the amount of visual violence. I was not ready for how much violence would be shown in great detail. It was sensory but senseless. I had to force myself to stay in the cinema at one point because I was not going to let my money go to waste. I am usually okay with violence on film, one of my all-time favourite films is Fight Club and I grew up watching action films with my older brother, but this was a whole other level of violence for me. I think it was that it wasn’t just alluded to but you are shown in detail the violence, death, and torture of the characters. The camera reveals the awfulness of violence so extensively throughout the entire film. The use of slow motion and 3D heightens the visuals and shows the audience the violence explicitly.

The storyline is thin, the characters are underdeveloped and it seems that the main point to the film is to have Judge Dredd sentence one person to death but in the meantime get everyone else killed. It doesn’t really make sense to me that this would be a film that appeals to a wide audience nor a cult following, however I am informed that my suspicions are wrong and that this is actually a big deal in the action film world. I don’t rate it highly. It’s indelicate and unsightly. It’s full of one-liners that are delivered with such seriousness that it made me laugh (I’m not sure if I was meant to laugh or not…).

I wouldn’t recommend seeing Dredd 3D. The only thing that is worth seeing it for is its use of 3D. They have used 3D the way that I’ve wanted a film to use it – I may have ducked at one point to avoid being splattered by blood, yes it sounds as disgusting as it was but I appreciate them making the experience immersive to some degree. I just wish it wasn’t this film that made me like slow-motion and 3D again. It was cleverly filmed if nothing else.

2/5