As part of the promotional campaign for the new addition to the Star Trek movie franchise, Australian cinema company Hoyts has shown a special screening of the previous movie, the first in this new stage of the series, 2009’s Star Trek. Before the 3-year-old film was shown, the audience was treated to the extended, nine minute long, 3D prologue to Star Trek Into Darkness, which hits American cinemas on May 17, 2013 (in Australia, it opens one day earlier, May 16). Before moving on, let me thank Hoyts for the very nice and well organized event. We were received in a specially prepared area, with drinks available and very friendly staff welcoming the guests.
Well, let’s jump to my impressions of the prologue. First of all, the villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, only shows for a few seconds. It’s enough to leave the impression that he is much, much more dangerous than the Romulan villain played by Eric Bana in the previous installment of the franchise. Cumberbatch will apparently give us a memorable antagonist. There is a lot of action in the first nine minutes of the movie, and such action works very well. Particularly, the part involving Spock is very exciting. Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana seem to maintain – or even improve – the chemistry they had in the first film. Although they only share the screen for a few seconds, they’re convincing as the main couple of the movie. If the rest of the action and romance is at least on the same level as the prologue, and if the villain is really as good as he appears to be, only a disaster will make Star Trek Into Darkness a movie less than memorable.
From here on, I’ll describe the scenes from the prologue. If you don’t want SPOILERS, stop reading now.
The movie opens with the dawn of a sunny day, in London. A couple wakes up and gets out of bed. It is easy to notice that something is wrong. Then, the screen shows a low building in conservative style, which contrasts with the futuristic architecture of the center of the city. The building seems isolated, and is surrounded by well-kept gardens. Once the camera shows the inside of the building, it becomes clear that this is a hospital. The couple from the beginning is seen by the bed of a little girl, who is unconscious. Whatever her illness is, it is clearly very grave. The next scene shows a balcony, where the father of the girl is looking away. A man approaches him from behind. This man claims to be able to salve the man’s daughter. When the father asks who he is, the camera focuses on the man’s face, and it is revealed that he is the villain played by Cumberbatch.
Cut to another planet, with tall, reddish vegetation. A masked stranger runs out of a peculiar looking building. It is obvious he’s running away. Soon after, he starts being followed by humanoids who resemble aboriginals. Suddenly, he comes face to face with a huge, monstrous creature, and shoots it with a phaser. The creature falls, and on the other side of it, a man similarly disguised is seen. This man removes his mask, and reveals himself to be “Bones” McCoy. The first one also removes his mask, and turns out to be Captain Kirk. McCoy informs him that the creature was their ride, and they both run as fast as they can, away from the approaching aboriginals, who throw spears at them.
Inside a shuttle, Spock is putting on a special metallic vest. Uhura helps him. As he is preparing, Spock speaks to Kirk, via radio, about mission protocol and the importance of not interfering with the culture of local population. After Spock is suited-up, Uhura asks if he wouldn’t like her to go instead. He responds that would be illogical, since he is already prepared. She says she was joking, and kisses the helmet he’s wearing. By this point, we know that there is a volcano about to erupt, and the shuttle is flying above it. Spock explains that, if he can’t manage to install a device that will stop the volcano’s explosion, the local people will be extinguished. He is lowered from the shuttle into the volcano. Uhura joins Sulu in the controls of the shuttle. The cable that connects Spock to the shuttle breaks, and he falls on a rock in the middle of the volcano. Uhura insists that they try to rescue him, but both Spock and Sulu say that is not possible. The shuttle leaves, Spock stays behind, installing his device.
Kirk and McCoy are still running from the natives. Kirk carries something he stole from them, and suddenly places this object hanging on a tree and opens it, revealing some sort of sacred document. The aboriginals stop chasing the two men and get down on their knees in front of the document. Kirk and McCoy reach a cliff and jump off it. After they dive into the sea, they use propellers that take them to the Enterprise, submerged so that the natives wouldn’t see it. Once inside, Kirk asks about Spock, and is told that he is still in the volcano. Upon returning to the bridge, Kirk gets in contact with his first officer, who says mission protocol must be respected, which prevents the Enterprise from revealing itself to the natives by rescuing Spock. The ship loses contact with Spock. The fear in Uhura’s expression is intense. Kirk e McCoy discuss what to do. Kirk asks the doctor what Spock would do if the places were inverted. McCoy says Spock would let the captain die. Spock finishes installing the device which will save the local people. Lava approaches him. He opens his arms and prepares to die. The camera moves away. End of the prologue.
Well, there you have it. It’s a shame I can’t share the actual images with you. However, as far as my word counts, it will be very much worth watching Star Trek Into Darkness in cinemas, if possible in IMAX and 3D.
Star Trek Into Darkness is directed by J.J. Abrams (who also directed 2009’s Star Trek). The cast brings Chris Pine (This Means War and Unstoppable) as Captain James T. Kirk; Zachary Quinto (Margin Call, American Horror Story and Heroes) as Spock; Zoe Saldana (Avatar) as Nyota Uhura; Karl Urban (Dredd 3D and Lord of the Rings) as Leonard “Bones” McCoy; Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott; Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation and Fright Night) as Pavel Chekov; John Cho (Harold & Kumar movies and TV series Go On) as Hikaru Sulu; and Benedict Cumberbatch as the mysterious villain.