Paramount Pictures invited entertainment.ie to an exclusive screening of some new footage from the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness over the weekend, shown to us in a MAHOOSIVE IMAX screen in the centre of London. Kicking things off, director JJ Abrams sent us a video link setting up the footage we were about to see, before apologising for not being there himself due to a bad hair day - a likely excuse! In his place was producer Bryan Burk, one of the head honchos at production company Bad Robot. Bryan stood at the front of the screen and explained about the exciting new scenes we were about to see.
Before we get into too much detail, let us just say this; Star Trek Into Darkness looks AMAZING! The twenty eight minutes of footage we saw was action-packed, hugely tense and with special effects that are (excuse the pun) out of this world. As good as Abrams reboot of Star Trek was, the sequel looks set to blow that and all other competition this summer completely out of the water.
Now, on with the details... If you don't want anything spoiled for you, then this is where you should turn away...
Still here? Then prepare to get excited.
Starting off with a rejigged an edited down version of the nine minutes of footage that preceded IMAX screenings of The Hobbit, Kirk and co have saved a planet from certain destruction, while Benedict Cumberbatch's villainous John Harrison is offering to save the life of Noel Clarke's daughter, but in exchange for what? Well, we find out! Clarke is given a lifesaving serum by Harrison, along with a large gold ring. Clarke gives the cure to his daughter, and then heads to an important Star Fleet building, where we find out the gold ring is, in fact, a bomb, and it goes off, killing Clarke and about fifty others.
Meanwhile Kirk is getting chewed out by Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) for interfering with affairs on an undeveloped planet, and is stripped of his command of the Enterprise, and made second-in-command under Pike himself, while Spock is transferred to a different ship. Pike, Kirk, Spock and others then convene at a meeting at Star Fleet HQ under order of another Admiral, played by Robocop's Peter Weller. The Admiral wants the terrorist who organised the earlier attack caught and brought to justice, but this is exactly what Harrison was hoping for. Here are the first of many reminders of Christopher Nolan's work, with a plot point quite reminiscent of The Joker's plan in The Dark Knight. As Harrison has set a trap for the Star Fleet officers, knowing exactly where they would all meet, and attacks them in a small but deadly ship. It eventually gets taken out by Kirk, but not before Harrison has caused untold damage to the higher ranks of Star Fleet.
The next scene finds the Enterprise heavily battle scarred, and in free fall above a planet, caught in its gravitational pull. With no power to start the engines, Spock - who now appears to be piloting the Enterprise - orders an evacuation of the ship, while Kirk and Scotty run around the corridors below, trying to get to engineering so they can get the ship restarted before it burns up in the planet's atmosphere. But the gravity pull is causing problems, as Kirk and Scotty get pulled up on to walls - much like in Nolan's Inception - and have to jump over chasm-like corridors. The stunt work in this scene is hugely impressive, with the camera and the set flipping and turning in all directions, and will undoubtedly be a huge selling point for the 3D release of the movie. This scene cuts to black just as the Enterprise begins to enter the planet's atmosphere.
The final scene starts off with a starship (possibly the Enterprise?) crashing into a city, and we suddenly jump to Harrison escaping the scene on foot, with Spock in hot pursuit. This whole sequence is scored by music that sounds a lot like the chant we heard in Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, with the two jumping through windows and eventually on top of a shuttle that races through the city. A quick fistfight later, and Harrison jumps on to a neighbouring shuttle in mid-air, and Spock jumps after, the scene cutting to black with us unsure if Vulcan has stuck his landing or will fall to his death.
With Star Trek Into Darkness warping into cinemas on May 8th - a whole week earlier than the States - you should officially set your phasers to stun(ned).