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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Why Rory Williams Is My Hero – Doctor Who

Doctor Who - Series 6 Poster - from IMDB.com

Doctor Who – Series 6 Poster – from IMDB.com

Doctor Who (oh since forever…jokes, 2005+)

Series Writer: Steven Moffat and a bunch of his friends.
Stars: Matt Smith, Karen Gillian, Arthur Darvill and everybody who has ever acted in Britain basically.

It is not always the case that a secondary character can transform everything you think about a show. It was one line, it was in a normal episode but it changed the way I forever thought about Doctor Who. Rory Williams told the Doctor “You don’t know how dangerous you make people to themselves when you’re around.” From that moment on Rory Williams stole my heart and became my favourite Doctor Who character of all time. He trumps Amy Pond who is fabulously feisty and he trumps River Song who is the woman I wish I could be, and he trumps Donna Noble who proved herself to be so normal and yet so spectacularly special (I’m just gonna skip over Rose Tyler and Martha Jones). Rory tells it like it is. He is the male companion the Doctor never wanted but who he comes to treasure as a moral and ethical compass.

For a long time I watched Doctor Who for the adventures, for the friendship of the characters, and for the Doctor’s extravagance and wonderful charisma. It is a show that has been able to hold captive audiences for multiple generations and made the transition from black and white television to colour to HD and lived on. The production value may have gone up but the heart of the show remains the same. It is, at it’s core, a show about the wonder of humanity. For me, Rory embodies this as the character who is humanity at its best and most noble.

Doctor Who has for a long time been my favourite show. From the moment it was reincarnated by Russell T. Davis in 2005 to today and the imminent arrival of Season 7 on our silver screens, I have been in love with the Doctor. When Steven Moffat took over writing in 2009 after having written some of the best episodes in previous seasons, including my favourites “Blink” and “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead”, I was overjoyed. I have loved Moffat’s writing since a kid, even though I hadn’t connected the dots until he started on Doctor Who – this included his teen drama “Press Gang” which I have vivid memories of as a child. I’ve already written about my love of Moffat (see my Sherlock review here) but it has to be said that Steven Moffat and Matt Smith’s teaming have brought Doctor Who to a new level of awesome. It’s a darker and more philosophical show when Moffat writes and collaborates with people and it provides a deeper level of intrigue than usual. There are so many moments whilst watching Doctor Who when I find myself thinking about the meanings of life and what it means to be a human. This isn’t necessarily the case in every episode but the more I watch the more I find the multifaceted nature of Moffat’s story lines and scripts. The way he weaves story lines together across multiple seasons is extraordinary and I am constantly awed by his genius.

Arthur Darvill as Rory in Doctor Who - Let's Kill Hitler - from Tumblr

Arthur Darvill as Rory in Doctor Who – Let’s Kill Hitler – from Tumblr – myvintagelove

Getting back to my love of Rory though… Rory Williams is a character that is centred on love, loyalty, courage, and honesty. This is all buffered by an underlying insecurity which is truly endearing and really grounds those characteristics in a truthful portrayal by Arthur Darvill. Darvill’s performance as Rory is practically perfect because he balances the insanity of the Doctor and Amy Pond (Karen Gillian) with a warmness and gentle strength. It is the combination of all his courage and cowardice that makes him a true companion and my hero of television. He is who I would want to be if I was with the Doctor, both petrified and cynical but ultimately triumphant in the moment of need. He is someone that seems realistic rather than being carried away with the charisma of the Doctor, and provides the grounding that the Doctor needs when off on adventures and traveling in the TARDIS. Rory is my hero because he is the one companion who is not afraid of leaving the Doctor but who is loyal to a fault to his friends. Rory always seems on the outer with Amy and the Doctor but it is Rory who will always be there for both of them when night falls on their tale.

With the new trailer having just been released for Part 1 of Season 7 I am both excited and sad to see the end of the Pond’s. I think they have been great companions and I don’t think that will ever change, but I know I will weep for a week when the curtain is drawn on their adventures with the Doctor. Moffat will make it as painful as possible, this we know, but I also think it’s going to be a good ending to a wonderful period of the show.

P.S. I know most people think River Song gets her sassiness from Amy but I really think she gets it from Rory, he is the truly bold and brave one.

P.P.S You can watch the new Doctor Who series trailer here:
Doctor Who: Full Length New Series Trailer Autumn 2012 – Series 7 – BBC One