Star Trek Into Darkness – IMAX Prologue Impressions Sherlockabilia Shop Now Open

Star Trek Into Darkness – IMAX Prologue Impressions * 16 December 2012

Star Trek Into Darkness

Playing in select IMAX cinemas around the world, seeing the first nine minutes of the next Star Trek movie are the very definition of a teaser, and perhaps the most effective trailer you can imagine for the film.

Leading a feature presentation with the beginning of an entirely different film is certainly an unusual marketing technique. It was originally debuted by Christopher Nolan with IMAX screenings of the opening sequences of The Dark Knight - attached to I am Legend - and The Dark Knight Rises - attached to Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, with both his extended snippets revealing the villain of each film to an audience over six months before the arrival of the full film. So from the striking teaser poster for Star Trek Into Darkness showing Benedict Cumberbatch's mysterious villain John Harrison stood before a devastated future London, you could expect J.J. Abrams' dip into this field to follow a similar pattern of antagonist introduction. As with anything from the Bad Robot production stable though, things play out against your expectations.

Opening in a spectacular future London, dotted with skyscrapers that dwarf iconic landmarks like St Paul's Cathedral - and thus making the granting of planning permission for them supremely unlikely in reality - we follow the morning routine of a father (Noel Clarke) and mother (Nazneen Contractor) as they wake up, with the blaring of their alarm clock emerging from the sensor pips of a starship over the opening titles, echoing their use in the previous film. From there we move outside the city to a children's hospital, where the pair visit their dying daughter, and the father receives a sudden visitation.  While we do meet John Harrison in this preview, he is restricted to two lines of dialogue and a single, long camera close up that pushes in to his face, accompanied by some suitably ominous scoring by composer Michael Giacchino. This of course reinforces the mystery of the role all the more, especially since Harrison is directly questioned by Noel Clarke's character as to his identity.  Motivation and reasoning are left for another day, though Harrison's interest in a young, prematurely aging girl are surely a pointer to further down the road in the plot.

And then the Prologue rockets off to the planet Nibiru - a nice little joke at one of the interpretations of the Mayan 2012 phenomenon which expects a planet with that name to collide with Earth cataclysmically on December 21 2012 (only a few days to go!). Regardless, this world is itself about to suffer a gigantic disaster, and it is swiftly revealed that the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 are in the midst of trying to prevent the primitive natives from being killed in a volcanic eruption. Filled with striking images, not least the reveal of the Enterprise submerged underwater, the sequence wastes no time in re-introducing the characters to us as it frantically barrels along, being by turns extremely funny with the banter between Kirk (Chris Pine) and McCoy (Karl Urban) and supremely dramatic with the cool logic of Spock (Zachery Quinto), ready to sacrifice himself to ensure the survival of the natives. The entire cast are given their moment to shine, with Simon Pegg easily stealing the entire thing with Scotty's reaction to the appearance of a rather large fish on the Enterprise bridge viewscreen. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Prologue however is the simple fact that it ends, and that it rather connivingly does so on a cliffhanger.  

Technically Star Trek Into Darkness is unique. Whole sequences of the film have been shot in the gigantic IMAX format, and then they, along with the footage shot in the standard way, have been post converted to 3D. While we usually aren't fans of this method - the cardboard cut outs of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland show how not to apply this technique - the 3D here does feature a tremendous amount of depth, with firey embers and debris inside the volcano floating around Spock, while at times you have to avoid flinching as the natives pursuing Kirk and McCoy lob spears directly at the camera. But even without the third dimension, this is Star Trek like you've never seen before, and above all, the extended trailer footage at the close of the Prologue hints at scenes of huge scale. It's also unavoidable to note the visual resemblance to a certain detective in Benedict Cumberbatch's appearance here, moreso than any other role he has played - a possibly astute move on the part of the filmmakers. While it defies expectations, the Prologue of Star Trek Into Darkness leaves you hungry for more, and frankly May 2013 cannot get here quickly enough.

The Prologue of Star Trek Into Darkness is playing before IMAX digital 3D screenings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. For a list of worldwide locations, visit the IMAX website.