Last night, a nine-minute prologue for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness screened before the first IMAX showing of The Hobbit, and we were there taking notes. Here's what we saw!
For every minute I spent wishing the last Abrams Star Trek would have spent more time at the Starfleet Academy, it seems like this movie is making up for it by showing a young, sexy, and well-oiled newbie crew manning the Enterprise. It's thrilling to jump in right in the middle of the gang's formative years as a crew. Kirk remains the Captain, but he's still new. He needs more time to think about things than I'm used to, but at least that snappy screaming kid from the first movie has grown up a bit. And the growth looks good on this crew. If Darkness spends more time running through wild missions, I'll certainly forgive the first movie for the lack of quality Starfleet Academy time.
As for the bigger storyline of the film — Benedict Cumberbatch has swagger, I'll grant him that. But it's going to be hard to watch yet another movie about the vengeance of a character that we have little to no emotional attachment to. Why not a new character? Or an old, rebooted character, who has motives that don't involve something we missed off-screen? I'm uncertain about this whole revenge plot. But if anyone can act their way out of an Abrams fumble ending, Benedict Cumberbatch. So bring it on.
Run Down SPOILERS:
London Stardate, 2259.55.
Future London looks a lot like future San Francisco from the previous Star Trek movie, but with a few iconic London buildings dotting the horizon. An alarm goes off, a giant dog jumps into the bed of Noel Clarke (Doctor Who's Mickey!) and Nazneen Contractor. They're married and their home is indistinguishable from any other present day home. Noel is unhappy. Together they take their hover car through a very English-looking country side to a hospital. They meet with a doctor, while patients glide by asleep on hovering gurneys. They are distraught. They stand over the bed of a little girl. The sick child looks very ill and is losing her hair. Noel and Nazneen are both wearing wedding rings (Noel is wearing a fairly noticeable silver ring on his right hand like a ring you get from a military school). Nazneen replaces the little girl's stuffed toy with another toy. The presumed mother is filled with grief, Noel is filled with rage.
Noel stands outside looking out, and you hear a voice. It's the first time you hear any words spoken, someone speaks from behind his shoulder, "I can save her."
Noel responds "What did you say?"
The voice repeats itself, "Your daughter, I can save her."
"Who are you?" Noel asks. Zoom in on a very dapper Benedict Cumberbatch in a very fetching 5th Element-esque collar. He's kind of smiling, but only slightly.
A figure rips through a field of bright red alien forrest. As you get closer you realize this is Kirk (Chris Pine). A pack of white-faced, black -eyed locals are chasing after him. Kirk is carrying some sort of scroll. A giant, very CG, J.J. Abrams creature breaks through the red brush. Kirk jumps and stuns it.
"You just stunned our ride!" bellows Bones (Karl Urban). They take off; Kirk reveals that he has no idea what he's got in his hands, only that the locals were bowing before it. They continue to run.
Meanwhile on ashuttlecraft hovering above the planet's very active volcano, Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) is prepping Spock (Zachary Quinto for his mission. Spock is wearing a bright red suit, presumably to protect him from the volcano's heat. His mission is clear: freeze the volcano with his "super ice cube" and stop the planet's destruction, but all without being detected by the inhabitants. Uhura makes a few jokes, Spock says illogical and it's clear that these two are still very much an item, and possibly not in the closet about it anymore. Or, at least, everyone knows and they're respectful of this secret romance. Hikaru Sulu (John Cho) is also on board and he doesn't say anything when she gives him a peck on his helmet (or maybe he just didn't see it). Spock is lowered, and as usual with all things Star Trek....
...things go terribly wrong. Uhura and Sulu have to abandon Spock when the shuttlecraft takes on damage. Spock's line to the ship is severed and they retreat to the Enterprise.
Back on the planet Bones and Kirk drop the scrolls, revealing this to be Kirk's smart little ploy to get the villagers out of their town before the volcano destroyed it, and hop into a sea. Waiting for them in the water is the Enterprise. The theme music hits and hits hard, it's a good moment.
Once on board Spock's predicament is revealed, after a bit of Scotty's (Simon Pegg) bitching that "the salt water is hell on the engines!" They connect with Spock, only to tell him that the rescue mission would defeat the purpose of the mission and the needs of many outweigh the needs of one. Kirk asks Bones what Spock would do if the situation were reversed, and Bones says he'd let Kirk die. END SCENE!