Star Trek: Review: Into Darkness (novelization)

Darkness novelBy Alan Dean Foster

Simon & Schuster, out now

The second adventure for the crew of the rebooted U.S.S. Enterprise

No spoilers here for the content of the adventure – Alan Dean Foster can’t be held responsible for the storyline and script by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. His job is to present it in prose form, a medium that is perhaps less forgiving, particularly since there aren’t the distractions of 3D, and a very full soundtrack.

Foster has been writing Star Trek stories for over forty years, and he knows the characters as presented in the original (and animated) series incredibly well. The new versions aren’t so clear-cut, and it’s fair to say that this new adventure doesn’t give him very much extra to play with, in terms of characterisation.

As with the novelization of the first JJ Abrams film, this book varies from the final screenplay in a few key areas – notably Kirk’s speech to the crew of the Enterprise when they set out on their mission. But what it does do is try to cover the many plot holes of the film. I know I’m not the only person to come out from the cinema unhappy with the final act, and it was interesting to read this and see Foster tackle each point with added dialogue (particularly for McCoy) that, while obviously not fully rectifying the faults, does at least strive to present something that makes them a little less obvious.

It doesn’t answer all the points – the fundamental difference between thinking and punching your way out of a problem is unfortunately central to the script – but it does paper over the cracks.

Verdict: If you’re one of the people disappointed by elements of Into Darkness, this may help to restore the balance; if you didn’t notice the problems in the first place, you may wonder why there’s so much extra dialogue…  6/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Star Trek: Into Darkness: Film Tie-in Novelization from Amazon.co.uk

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