mother! Review

Join me to find out if mother!, a film that made Jennifer Lawrence dislocate a rib and tear her diaphram, is worth the standing ovation and boos that it garnered during its first showing!

 

mother!

When a new film by Darren Aranofsky comes out some people hold their breath with excitement and others groan in despair. Whether you love or loath his films Mr Aranofsky certainly knows how to get a reaction out of people, and with mother! (It’s not a typo, the small “m” is intrinsic to the story as is the exclamation mark!) he has managed to take that skill and concentrate it into something unique. Some of you will love mother! with every fibre of your being, some of you will see it as a complete waste of time. I can honestly say that I understand both sides of the argument, but I can’t tell you which side you’ll come down on. I can only encourage you to go and see it for yourself and make up your own mind.

The basic set up for the story is that Jennifer Lawrence is a young wife to Javier Bardem and they live in perfect harmony in a house that she is doing up whilst he tries to get past his writer’s block. One day there is a knock at the door and Ed Harris’ character arrives and the harmony of the house starts to change into something much less perfect and far more unpleasant and intense. I can’t really explain more because it would ruin the film, but suffice to say that the intensity continues to ratchet up throughout the film to truly horrific levels. Much of the credit for this goes to Aranofsky’s intimate camera work that really makes you feel as though you are part of the story. Johan Johannsson’s soundscape is also a major player, underlining emotional beats and screams in equal measure, whilst not being a traditional score. Javier Bardem is an absolutely terrifying delight to watch, but at the centre of this maelstrom is Jennifer Lawrence’s amazing performance. To say that she carries the movie is both unfair on everyone else, as they are, to a person, on top form, as well as being completely true. She inhabits this movie in a way that makes me wonder how much of herself she left on the set when the cameras stopped rolling. I really can’t imagine anyone getting between her and another Oscar at this point.

Before I get to my rating it is worth saying that mother! is a film that has many, many layers to it. Some are obvious and some more occult, but they are ready for you to uncover like a treasure horde if you are willing to put the effort in to see them. The main issue that I have with writing about this film is that if I mention any of them then I will likely give the whole game away and spoil the experience for you. Suffice to say that if you go into the cinema expecting to watch a film that demands you to look beneath the surface you will be rewarded by it. If you can hang on it’s a wild ride that will take you from whirling from emotional crescendos of joy before crashing into hellscapes of horror and then back again. Try not to blink too much though as this film refuses to hold your hand and doesn’t give a damn if you get lost along the way!

So, which side of that fence do I sit on? Well, I’m one of the lovers of this movie, though I will admit that I wasn’t sure about that until the final credit had rolled, but that was because it took me that long to finish having my reaction to the story that had just dragged me along with it. This film is about as close to a nightmare as I’ve ever come whilst still being entertained. I was left intrigued, stunned, traumatised, happy and melancholic all at the same time, which was honestly not something I was prepared for when I walked into the cinema! You owe it to yourself go and experience this film in the cinema. It may piss you off or it may just change your life.

 

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Five Moon’s out of Five. A Masterpiece.

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Wonder Woman Review

Can Diana pull it out of the bag for DC? Grab your sword and shield and strap on your best heroic tiara and join me to find out in my review of Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman
DC and Warner Bros. have released three films so far in the DC Extended Universe and my reactions have run the gamut of horror to “meh”, so it was with some trepidation that I went to see their fourth offering in the form of Wonder Woman. I’m pleased to say that I think that DC might finally be on the verge of hitting their stride with this movie, however, that is not to say that it isn’t without its flaws.

Let’s start with the main problem that this film has, because it’s a big one and really effects how you’re going to react to it: the run time. At two hours and twenty one minutes it’s a significant chunk of movie, but unfortunately it really feels as though it’s got story enough for about an hour and forty five minutes at most. I found myself sitting for long stretches of what felt like over long set up and fairly clunky exposition between the more entertaining sections of the film, especially during the opening acts on Wonder Woman’s home island of Themiscyra. There is so much there that could have been streamlined. Also, the opening and closing scenes that bracket the meat of the movie are almost painfully forced efforts to remind you where this film sits in the DCEU continuity.

Im happy to say that aside from the issues mentioned above the combination of a well written script, a good setting, actors that are well chosen and bring personality and charisma to the proceedings and a director who can make something that fits in with the overall style of the DCEU whilst being eye catching and individual all come together to make an entertaining film. There are some truly iconic moments that Patty Jenkins, the director, and her team have created. For example; the sight of Diana, Princess of Themyscira single handedly charging across No Man’s Land is an image that has burned itself into my brain through sheer awesomeness!

So, Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot simply shines as Diana. She has charm, wit and most importantly an innocence that sets her apart from the previously dour heroes we have been treated to by DC. Chris Pine is also great as Steve Trevor, the American pilot that is Diana’s conduit to the modern world. Apart from matching Gadot’s good looks he is funny, serious and interesting enough that he isn’t just relegated to “side kick” material. With the large amount of run time the secondary cast actually get a lot of chances to fill out their backstories, but aside from bringing some more amusement into the film I’m not sure that we couldn’t have done with a little less of them. Unfortunately the bad guys again get short shrift, but that seems to be par for the course for superhero movies these days.

The film’s real power however, lies in the quieter scenes between Diana and Steve. Although there is a romantic interest in there this is really the story of two people, one a total innocent who is discovering her power and the other a complete cynic who has seen the worst mankind has to offer, learning to see the world through one another’s eyes. They manage some great moments of organic comedy as well as playing with some themes that are quite deep for a blockbuster movie. The use of power, the responsibility of everyone to look after one another, the refusal to accept the world as it is and to be a catalyst for change are all touched upon. Sadly they aren’t explored more deeply, as this would have given the film some serious emotional punch instead of the little taste we are given. Setting the movie during World War One is another big strength as it allows the film and Diana to directly confront sexism and political conniving in a way that is ever so slightly removed from the modern day, so that it makes you think about the issues instead of reacting from a personal stand point that I suspect a modern setting might have evoked. I am so glad that Wonder Woman brings hope and heroism to the DC films, two things that have been sorely lacking so far. My fingers are firmly crossed that this trend will continue later this year with Justice League.

All in all Wonder Woman is a film that looks glorious and dares to dredge a little deeper than just good and bad, but struggles to maintain its energy for much of its overlong run time.

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Three Moons out of Five.

Alien Covenant Review

Is this a stand up fight or just another bug hunt? Join me as I find out in my review of Alien Covenant.

 

Alien Covenant

Alien has long since earned its place as a classic of both horror and sci-fi cinema, as well as been a damn good film. Aliens is considered to be one of the few sequels that successfully builds on the original making a film that can be argued to be better than the original. Even the troubled genesis of Alien 3 has created a movie, that although flawed, has an atmosphere that most would struggle to match. Since its release in 1993 though the Alien saga has gone downhill. The less said about Alien Resurrection the better and my hatred of the overall stupidity of Prometheus is well known to anyone who has ever listened to The Minotaur’s Head podcast. So now we come to Alien Covenant, a movie that has been advertised as a return to the core values of the Alien series. Claustrophobia, body horror and the terror of the unknown. Unfortunately I have to say that it fails on most of those points as well as suffering from the issues that most prequels do: spoiling the surprises held in “later” movies in the series.

Horror is a very difficult genre to get right. The creeping terror invoked by the original Alien movie wasn’t because of the bio-mechanical design of the Alien (or Xenomorph to the true fans), it was because we could see characters who felt like real people in a horrific situation that seemed to have no hope. We cared about those characters. We knew their names as we walked out of the cinema the first time. I have had to google the names of all of the characters in Alien Covenant whilst writing this because I can’t remember the name of a single one. Not one of them feels like anything other than Xeno-fodder. Yes, there are moments where character traits are attempted for each of them, but unfortunately the script is so clunky that none of them ever come close to feeling like real people, and therein lies the main weakness of this film. If you don’t care about the characters, why would you buy into anything that happens to them? That is not to say that the cast don’t give it their all, but no amount of acting skill can save a script that is terrible.

Sadly that is not the only place where Alien Covenant falls down. The plot is paper-thin and is filled with so many convenient coincidences that I often found myself actually rolling my eyes and sighing. It has also clearly been written with the intent of adding more “Alien” into the follow up to Prometheus. Say what you will about Prometheus (and believe me, I have!) but at least it had the confidence of its convictions, however maddeningly silly they may have been. Alien Covenant feels like a film that has just had bits tacked on to appease the fans. Newsflash; fans like to see elements of what they first loved mixed in with an original and interesting story filled with new and exciting characters and situations! Not just the same stuff recycled with new people in the limelight. This means that the film is one of two halves, but annoyingly they are mixed into one another. This leads to is the pacing of the film being all over the place with alternating action/horror scenes interspersed with massive amounts of surprisingly uninformative and boring exposition. I don’t feel like I came out of this movie having explored the Alien universe, I just feel like I know more and none of it deepens anything I knew prior to watching it, in fact it tends to cheapen what has come before.

Then we have the horror aspects of the film, which should be central to any movie with Alien in the title. Once again we end up with moments that are all both derivative, painfully boring and completely unsurprising. Every one of these moments is so telegraphed that none of them carry any weight. This is compounded by the previously mentioned fact that none of the characters are worth caring about, so when they are slaughtered it really doesn’t matter. Also, the film’s 15 rating (R for you Yanks) completely hamstrings it, as the horror all feels watered down to the point where it is basically just pointless.

The one good point of this film is that it is visually very impressive. Ridley Scott has always been amazing at framing shots and his skill just keeps growing with experience. The landscapes in this movie are gorgeous, much like in Prometheus. Once again though, even the visuals are not without their weak points, as the CGI in this film ranges from the impressive to the seriously ropey. Sadly some of the most ropey parts are the creatures themselves, which robs them of any of the terror they should invoke. When a guy in a rubber suit from the late seventies is scarier than your fully CG monsters you know that something’s not right!

Overall I found this film to be thoroughly disappointing and a complete waste of time and talent. If you want a new Alien experience that is terrifying and fulfilling in equal measure I suggest avoiding this film and playing 2014’s excellent game Alien Isolation instead.

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One Moon out of Five.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

The galaxy needs guarding again, join me as I find out if the Guardians can live up to their job title a second time and guard the galaxy in my review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Guardians vol. 2

Marvel have managed to make a thriving business out of taking B and C grade comic book heroes and turning them into box office gold. Before 2008 virtually no one outside of the readers would have known who Tony Stark was, but seven years later he is a household name. Guardians of the Galaxy took that model and put it through the ultimate stress-test. Taking a group that no one had ever heard of that included an angry talking racoon and a zen monosyllabic tree and making them into one of their most entertaining movies in their roster was something that no one expected. To say that expectations were high for their return would be understating things a tad. I’m so happy to be able to say that James Gunn and the returning, and new cast, have managed to make a film that not only hits all the great points that made the original so entertaining, but builds on all of them to make one of those rarest of beasts; a sequel that outshines the original.

 

In a time that seems to be increasingly dark and filled with angst there is a space for movies that bring some colour and light into the world. Guardians Vol. 2 joyously skips into that space and not only owns, but dominates it. There is so much colour squeezed into every frame of this movie that it often feels as though it is trying to leap off the screen and into the visual centres of your brain. The palette is not the only joyful thing about proceedings. The script is incredibly tight and very, very funny. That being said, comedy timing is not the only thing that this script has to bring to proceedings it also packs in the character arcs like there’s no tomorrow. Often in ensemble movies some characters will get short shrift, not so for this team. Everyone has something to learn, some way of growing and something to take from the plot. And on top of that this film has more heart than a world record breaking gathering of octopuses that have gone for a group hug (for those out there who are not up on their cephalopod facts; octopuses have three hearts).

 

“But wait!” I hear you cry, “A script is only so good as the actors who perform it!”

That is a good point and I’m incredibly glad to be able to say that everyone in this film is on top form. The original team are clearly having a great time fleshing out the characters that they first brought to the screen three years ago. In any other movie any of these characters would be the standout one that everyone would be talking about on the way out of the cinema, but this time even Baby Groot doesn’t outshine the rest as they are all so on point. The newcomers are also not left behind. This film has confirmed a long-standing suspicion of mine; that adding Kurt Russell immediately makes a movie at least thirty percent better. He is charisma incarnate and I loved watching him whenever he was on screen. Pom Klementieff is brilliant as Mantis and brings a much-needed innocence to the team, which makes the contrast between them all the more amusing. Even the bad guys get a good outing this time around, breaking the growing meme that Marvel can’t do villains other than Loki (but I shan’t say any more for fear of spoilers).

 

Lastly, you can’t talk about a Guardians film without mentioning the soundtrack. This one, like the previous, is an instant classic that really makes the movie feel personal, fun and completely entertaining. 70’s and 80’s classics repeatedly lend an air of whimsy that really gives these films their own personality in a genre that some would say is increasingly homogenous. I regularly found myself wanting to dance along with it. I look forward to a future where dance/sing along showings of the Guardians movies are a thing!

 

To sum up; this is the best movie I’ve seen so far this year, and I think has a serious chance of keeping that spot. You owe it to yourself to go and immerse yourself in the joy and heart that is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

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I am Groot.

 

Ghost in the Shell (2017) Review

Its time to pull on your thermoptic suit, go invisible, dive off a building and join me as I review the 2017 live action version of Ghost in the Shell.

Ghost in the Shell

Remaking a classic movie is never an easy task. Making the jump from animation to live action just increases the difficulty, and when the movie that you’re remaking is a seminal work that has basically changed the face of sci-fi action movies ever since it was first released you’re giving yourself one hell of a mountain to climb! This is exactly what the team behind the live action version of Ghost in the Shell have attempted, and I’m sorry to say, that just like the picture above what they have created looks stunning on the outside, but is fairly lifeless underneath.

As I mentioned above; the original Ghost in the Shell anime is something that has inspired and influenced sci-fi ever since it first hit screens back in 1995. Clearly taking the ideas and themes that have been around since Blade Runner and William Gibson’s book that created cyber-punk; Neuromancer, the animated movie told the tale of a woman who was mostly a machine, but still a person at her core, mixing stunning visuals with deep questions about the increasingly thin line between machines and humans, as well as the nature of consciousness and the soul. A perfect example is the Matrix, which would not exist in remotely the same fashion that it does without Ghost in the Shell having come first. This leads me to the core problem with the new version: it feels derivative. Much like the John Carter movie a few years back, this film is based on something that came well before all of it’s subsequent offspring, but since those “children” are massive touchstones of modern movie and pop culture it finds itself scrabbling for relevance. What this film needs is a new take on the questions it is asking, but instead it recycles those that we are already used to.

In spite of all that Ghost in the Shell is still generally a visually interesting movie, but unfortunately that is about as far as it goes. The movie as a whole lacks emotional depth, which is a pity as the themes that should be being explored are only getting more relevant as technology continues to advance. The script sets up a few interesting questions, but never really follows up on them, eschewing exploration of character for wooden dialogue interspersed with fairly standard action scenes. In general the direction seems to lack any real punch or visual flair as it seems to be making too much of an effort to ape the style of the anime rather than branching out to create something new.

The cast all do their best with what they are given, it’s just that generally what they are given is not particularly good. Scarlett Johansson does a good robotic persona, but she is undercut by the fact that she has done so many versions of the “mysterious person” that are so much better. Watch her in Under the Skin or Captain America: Civil War, or listen to her in Her, to see/hear her do this sort of role so much more justice than she’s allowed to here. Unfortunately I have to say that the rest of the cast are pretty much background within the film, which again, I put down to the script and direction more than their acting efforts. All I can say is that when I think back over the film I can’t really remember any moments that don’t revolve around Johansson.

There is also the spectre of the regular white-washing accusations that this film has received throughout its production that hang over it. Unfortunately I think that the film does fall into that particular trap in several places, not through any malicious or domineering intent, but just because of very odd plot and design choices. For example; Johansson’s character could happily be a white female if she was working in a city that was mainly multi-cultural, however, the majority of the population appears to be of asian descent, so she stands out like a sore thumb, which is distinctly noticeable for someone who is meant to be stealthy. I understand that this movie needed a bankable name to sell, but there were a lot of ways to go about that without angering so many people.

So we are left with a film that really can’t decide if it wants to be a remake of the anime, something new or just a retread of themes that we have seen done much better in lots of other movies. It is still very pretty and vaguely entertaining in places but it is a pity that it is nothing more as the source material has so many interesting places that this movie could have explored.

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Two Moons out of Five.

John Wick Chapter 2 Review

Slide into your snappiest suit, load your multitude of firearms and get ready to shoot A LOT of people as I review John Wick Chapter 2.

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Since first setting eyes on the smooth, stylish and punchy hyper-reality of John Wick I have been an unabashed fan of Keanu’s latest action icon. My excitement levels on hearing that the sleeper hit of 2015 was coming back were very high and I’m glad to say that, for the most part, they have been satisfied by this second outing of the world’s most reluctant be-suited hit-man

First, the good: This is just as concentrated on style and all out action as it’s predecessor. Chad Stahelski has returned as the director of his budding action franchise and his eye for framing and kinetic but clear camera movement still carry the trademark level of crunching impact that he demonstrated in John’s first outing. It’s clear that the same stunt team are back as well, as the fight scenes have the precision, drive and force that I had been craving ever since the previous movie finished. On the acting front everyone is on fine form. Keanu is clearly having a whale of a time bringing back the terse, tense and direct assassin with a heart. His every movement is completely thought out and utterly committed, which is just what John needs to be, but the world-weariness that he brings to the part stops him from becoming robotic. The other shining light of the film is Ian McShane returning as Winston, the owner of the wonderfully bizarre hit-man hotel chain; the Continental. His suave, unsurprised and cool composure is exactly the foil that John’s explosive tension needs to play off against. Any time McShane is on screen my enjoyment of the movie stepped up a notch.

Now the not so good: One of the best things about the first John Wick movie was its stripped back, minimalist storyline that hinted at a world with a history outside of what we were shown on screen. This time around we spend a lot more time getting to know the depths of the assassin world that we only guessed at in the previous film. On one level this is immensely satisfying as the depths we are shown are downright cool, but the downside is that it makes the story more convoluted. That slightly less direct storyline means that this film lacks the directness of the revenge story the first told. In some ways this is the same problem The Raid 2 had when compared to The Raid, the larger world meant that it felt less focussed. In a film where the main character is focus-incarnate I found it frustrating at points that he was being made to jump through so many hoops. Then again, it was clearly very hard to find another reason to bring him back into the world that he spent so long trying to get out of, so I suppose this was only to be expected. I should say at this point that there is convoluted in most movies and convoluted for a John Wick film. Don’t worry, this isn’t an M. Night Shyamalan movie! The other main issue I had with the film is that, like any action sequel, it has to try to top what we saw in the first film. I will admit that, even though I love everything the fight choreographer has put together for this film, I started to get a little gun-tired towards the end of the movie. This isn’t because what was on show was anything other than action of the very highest level, but because there are only so many faceless goons you can see picked off before you stop worrying so much about the health of the protagonist.

So we have a film that is basically undercut by it’s own success. It’s still great compared to pretty much any other action franchise out there, but it’s not quite the breath of fresh air that its predecessor was. That being said, I’m still very much looking forward to seeing what John Wick Chapter 3 has in store for us.

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Three Moons out of Five, sophisticated action for the discerning gun afficionado!

Star Trek Beyond Review

Join me as I find out what colour shirt Star Trek Beyond is wearing as it beams down to Earth to do battle with my review!

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This year is a very important one for Trekkies like myself as it marks fifty years since Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the crew of the Enterprise originally took to the small screen. This film has been marketed as a celebration of those five decades ever since it was first announced. I’m glad to say that, despite all the ups and downs that the production has suffered whilst holding doggedly onto its set release date, this is indeed the best Star Trek movie since Picard and his shipmates took on the Borg in First Contact back in 1996!

The recent reboot/alternate timeline of Star Trek has already upheld one tradition of Trek movies, which is the legendary rule of “Even numbered movies rule whilst odd numbered ones suck!”. Star Trek in 2009 (which was technically Star Trek 10) was a joyful romp that injected new life into the franchise and introduced it to many people who weren’t Trekkies. Star Trek Into Darkness was a confused mess of a movie that you can hear more of my general anger towards if you are a regular listener to the Minotaur’s Head Podcast (https://hearthis.at/hubrismosaic/?l=en). Love them or hate them though the one thing that both movies failed to do was to get the Enterprise and her crew out to where they belong: exploring the final frontier. Finally Star Trek Beyond shows us Kirk and Co. doing what they do best and actually exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new civilisations and boldly going where no one has gone before!

The film’s main strength is the cast who have always shone through as the re-embodiments of the original crew. This time though the film recognises that they are meant to work together as a cohesive force, not just a bunch of extraordinary individuals. Each and every one of the characters is given their time to shine and show what Star Fleet officers are really made of. Finally we are given the chance to see why Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of their shipmates are held up as legends in their own time. Chris Pine anchors the story as a Kirk that he hasn’t really had the chance to show yet. He has been seasoned by his time in command and whilst he still has the wild charm that makes him such an unpredictable character he finally has the maturity to not always jump in face first and sometimes consider his options. That being said, when he jumps he does it wholeheartedly! Zachery Quinto as Spock has really begun to make the character his own and is given some seriously meaty scenes to chew on this time around. His version of the galaxy’s most famous Vulcan is a much more vulnerable one than we have seen before, but he retains the stoicism of his race impressively at the same time. The person who stole the whole show for me though was Karl Urban, as Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, who has finally been given something to do with his character other than be grumpy. Now he is grumpy, heartfelt, daring, hilarious and generally brilliant. He has most of the best comedy moments in the film as well as a large chunk of the most emotional as well and I can’t wait to see him back on the big screen as Bones. Sofia Boutellah also shines as the alien scavenger with a heart of gold, Jaylah, managing to make her mark amongst the more established characters with panache. The rest of the cast are all on fantastic form and it is nice to see all of them get an arc to play with. Obviously with a main cast this big, and new characters to service as well some of them get less time on screen than others, but none of them feel sidelined.

The script, which is sharply written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, plays on each character’s strengths and really makes you feel that these people have been stuck on a ship for nearly two years in the far reaches of deep space with no one to rely on but each other. The trust, camaraderie and little niggles you’d expect for a group who have been stuck together in relative isolation for a long period of time are all there and it’s great fun to be a part of. The love that the authors clearly have for Star Trek, its history and what it means comes through strongly as this is also the first of the new films that seems to understand what Star Fleet and the Federation are all about. The theme of unity among people, regardless of who they are or where they come from, shines through in almost every scene. This is the Federation as Gene Rodenberry first imagined it, and it’s both touching and more important than ever to see it back on the big screen in this time of world-wide political and national tensions. Star Trek is about hope, not space battles. Don’t worry though, this film brings both to the audience in spades! Being such an important year for Star Trek this film is filled to the brim with references, however, they have been weaved into the script and the story as a whole very nicely so none of them leap out and pull you out of the flow of the film too much. A hardcore Trekkie like myself though will come out feeling as though justice has been done to the previous five decades of Trek.

The visual spectacle that JJ Abrams brought to the first two instalments of this version of the franchise is still very much alive in Justin Lin’s direction. The Fast and Furious Alum has clearly done his homework, as I never found myself wondering who the new guy behind the camera was. The style and pizzazz that we’ve come to expect from Star Trek is still there, but is now underscored by Lin’s trademark kineticism, which takes the action scenes and turns them up to eleven. Luckily though he’s also very good at keeping your eyes on the prize, so I never found myself wondering where I was in the more frantic moments of the film. It turns out that Lin has also got a great eye for the more quiet and emotional moments of the movie, of which there are many. He isn’t afraid to let a scene play out naturally without trying to spice it up with bold camera work. He allows the actors to do what they to best, and some of the most enjoyable moments in the film are when one or two of the characters are just interacting with one another. The contrast between these scenes and those where the movie is doing its solid best to explode off the screen lends both sides even more impact and made me excited to sit back and drink both sides of the film in. When the action does hit though I found my eyes being pounded by some of the most sublime and impressive CGI I have seen for a very long time. Everything has weight and realism to it, so the explosions feel real and the ships look like you could walk out of the cinema and see one flying above you. This really enhances the more perilous sections of the film as you are completely immersed in the world without a seam or green-screen line to interrupt the illusion.

As with most movies this one does have a few weaknesses as well. I felt that it was a little overlong and that it could probably do with losing about five to ten minutes to just tighten up the mildly sagging midway point. In contrast though, the villain (I won’t give away who plays them as it’s sort of a spoiler) is by far more interesting than the ones this rebooted franchise has given us up to this point they are still lacking in quite enough screen time to really cement their menace. I also found that some of the tech on show was a little too high tech for that era of the Federation, but I’m pretty sure that’s more of a nerd-problem than anything else. All of these things though are minor issues in an otherwise brilliant movie.

So to sum up; we have Star Trek back on the big screen. We have the whole history of Star Trek being given the respect it deserves. We have the crew being given a lot of fun character arcs to play with and perils to overcome by their unity as a big space-family. We have space battles, action scenes and explosions a-plenty. We have only a couple of tiny snags. We have a strong and important theme that runs through the film! Is this the birth of the thinking man’s blockbuster that doesn’t sacrifice story quality for loudness…? Fingers crossed!

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Four Moons out of Five.