WITH new baddie Benedict Cumberbatch, Star Trek is delving into dark new territory.
The Sherlock star, cloaked in all black, looks like he will be a devilishly good adversary for the returning Enterprise crew: Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban.
Into Darkness is the second film in director J.J. Abrams' big-budget reboot and is part of his and the producers Bad Robot's continuing efforts to bring Star Trek into the mainstream.
Media were treated to a 30-minute sneak peek of the film in Sydney last week, with producer Bryan Burk flying in to share his insights.
"It had to have more drama, more action, more emotion, more impossible obstacles. We knew it had to be bigger," Burk said.
To that end, Into Darkness is shot both in IMAX and 3D. Burk said after filming Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol in IMAX it was an easy decision to do the same with Star Trek.
But he and the team at Bad Robot were more hesitant about 3D.
"Truth be told, 3D was not something that we loved. We'd never made a film in 3D and there were a lot of reasons for that," he said.
"Avatar really raised the bar. I felt that there were a lot of horrible films that kind of coasted on the success of Avatar.
They would announce 'hey we shot it using 3D cameras just like Avatar, therefore our 3D is just as good' and as we all discovered, with few exceptions, it turns out that's not true.
"We decided if we were going to do it then we had to make it special.
"The process we chose to do was significantly more laborious and precise than we ever thought it would be… hopefully when the movie is completed the combination of IMAX and 3D will be like nothing you've seen before."
Burk himself admits to not being a fan of the "polarising" franchise growing up.
"I wanted to like it," he said.
"I had friends who liked it; I had teachers who liked it; I had business associates who liked it; I even had a girlfriend who liked it, but I did not understand it."
But after his quick "baptism", Burk came to appreciate creator Gene Roddenberry's world.
"He created a world where all of our differences, our problems, our wars went away and all of us were working together to survive," he said.
"It was not about faraway lands and distant planets and aliens. It was about us - Earthlings, humans - all working together to explore and travel and protect and fight and love everything that is out there. What's better than that?"
Into Darkness sees the Enterprise crew banding together, under the command of the still brash and over-confident Captain James Kirk, to bring down a terrorist with a history in Star Fleet.
If the action-packed opening sequence is anything to go by, cinema-goers are in for an intense, warp-speed ride.
Star Trek Into Darkness opens on May 9.
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