Film (2013). Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions present a Bad Robot production. Directed by J J Abrams. Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof. Cast includes John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoë Saldana, Karl Urban, Peter Weller and Anton Yelchin. 133 minutes. Colour, 3D (converted).
After Kirk is demoted following a Prime Directive violation, his mentor Christopher Pike (Greenwood) is killed in an attack on Starfleet by a rogue insider (Cumberbatch) subsequently unmasked as 300-year-old Superman Khan Noonien Singh, who has struck a mutually duplicitous alliance with a hawkish Starfleet admiral (Weller) to provide Weapons for an anticipated Klingon war in exchange for the hibernating survivors of Khan's people (see Suspended Animation).
Continuing the alternate Future History initiated by Spock's Time Travel into a paracanonical universe (see Alternate History) in Abrams' reboot Star Trek (2009), this frenetic sequel is an elaborately recombinant iteration of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and its precursor, the 1967 "Space Seed" episode of the first series of Star Trek. Elements from the canon storyline find themselves rethreaded, sometimes in inverted form, in a bewildering plot of perverse convolution and challenging logic studded with excitable action sequences. The film's most interesting feature is its exploration of an alternate cinematic universe coexisting with the canonical timeline, in which certain clusters of figures and incidents stand as narrative attractors on which events will tend to converge. Cumberbatch, bizarrely cast in what was partly a gesture of misdirection, is more persuasive as a psychotic Superman than might have been imagined, if not particularly as the character he is playing. Abrams' recruitment by the Star Wars franchise would take him off the series, with the next instalment handed down to Orci to direct. [NL]
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