Ray Illingworth Film CriticStar Trek Into Darkness (133 minutes, 12A Cert, Dir: J.J.Abrams)

An outspoken leader of men, a resourceful and brave captain, tasked with a five year mission to bring order to the uncharted outskirts of civilisation. No, not the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, I’m talking about my time in charge at Leicestershire after I was exiled from God’s Own County back in 1968. If Starfleet Command think it’s a difficult task to locate habitable worlds in the neutral zone between the United Federation of Planets and The Klingon Empire they should have tried finding a good chippie in the East Midlands between Melton Mowbray and Ashby-de-la-Zouch during the 1970’s. That’s a demanding mission: going boldly where no decent beer based batter has gone before.

As you can probably tell, I’ve never been overly impressed with the adventures of James Tiberius Kirk – which is a public school southern softie kind of name if ever I heard one – and in the latest instalment of the long running Star Trek film franchise the audience are once again expected to suspend disbelief and accept that a captain could command respect without ever wearing his first team cap. Ridiculous! Scotty using the transporter whilst travelling at warp speed I can let slide, but hard-bitten professionals being lead by a man with a schoolgirl’s haircut? That’s stretching credibility to breaking point.

Despite this glaring plot-hole I continued to watch as Kirk struggled to overcome a charismatic near-superhuman named Khan. This at least I could at empathise with having myself faced a similarly named young lad called Imran on a lightening quick Hove pitch whilst I was in my 50’s. Mind you, I did that without a helmet and arm guard, let alone a set of fully powered deflector shields.

The rest of the plot was confusing and badly paced, with the imminent threat of the known universe being plunged into all out war never convincingly sold to this audience member. Why didn’t J.J.Abrams heighten the tension by highlighting how a galaxy wide conflict with the Klingon Empire would wreak havoc with the Bradford League fixture list? If you want the cinema going public to emotionally invest in your story you have to introduce the kind of jeopardy created by a potential cancellation of the annual Pudsey Congs v Pudsey St Lawrence clash. A missed opportunity and further proof that Star Trek, like everything else, was much better in my day.

The editing and cinematography were adequate.

Overall: A thumbs down from me.