Star Trek franchise still boldy going where no man ... etc, etc

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Trekkies rejoice! The young ’uns make Bill Shatner and the OAPs look like bottled specimens in Dr Frankenstein’s lab.

It’s not just the actors, it’s the effects. And there’s nothing wrong with the plot, or rather plots – absurd, but thrillingly so.

Also, you won’t find a villain quite like Benedict Cumberbatch.

As for action, it’s packed. No time for cuddles, although there is a moment when Alice Eve, the cute blonde with the House & Gardens vocals – her dad is the very American Peter Weller (eh?) – turns Kirk’s head away from the business in hand, which is saving his ship from almost certain destruction.

Every franchise has its sell-by date. Star Trek began as a cheesy TV series with Blue Peter style aparati before warping into cultdom on film.

For years after mothballing the Enterprise (ST VI: The Undiscovered Country) trekkies screamed for more, like the devotees of Sherlock Holmes after he went over the Reichenbach Falls. What to do?

Why not make a prequel with a rookie Jim Kirk and a fresh faced Spock? Into Darkness is the second in this sequence and there is no doubt that the producers have spared no expense. If dedication and belief in a product can override the cynicism of a guaranteed hit, then director J J Abrams has both in spades.

Why 3-D? Apart from being showered with debris every few minutes it succeeds in fuzzing the picture when the quality of the CGI is superlative and deserves to be appreciated in the traditional way.

There are a number of storylines, culminating in the big one which involves a 200-year-old man who is cleverer and stronger and more evil than Satan’s spawn.

He wants to take the starship Enterprise down with all its crew for reasons that electrify the imagination without provoking hoots of derision.

Talking of which, the script is wittier than you might expect when it’s not death-defyingly serious. Take Simon Pegg as Scotty. Perfect casting. The accent’s not bad either.