Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachery Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella
Written by: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung and (based on the television series “Star Trek”) Gene Roddenberry
Running Time: 120 mins
Release date: 22nd July 2016
Back in 2009, when the reboot of the hugely popular Star Trek hit our screens, there were complaints that this wasn’t the Star Trek we knew and loved and how could anyone reboot something so sacred. Obviously, people didn’t care because the reboot has now spawned a new film, Star Trek Beyond, which maybe minus original helmer J.J. Abrams (he’s a little busy rebooting another successful space opera) but has managed to capture the feel, look and character development of the 60’s cult show.
Nearly three years into the U.S.S. Enterprise’s mission and Kirk and his crew are suffering from routine boredom when they receive a distress signal from a science vessel. Heading off to save the stricken craft, they find themselves under attack, forcing them to abandon their beloved ship. On a remote planet, the crew, now separated, most find each other while still taking on the enemy who attacked them, an alien with a grudge, called Krall.
Justin Lin, who has directed several of the Fast & Furious films, brings the same level of high octane energy to this new entry in the space series as he did with cars and especially destruction, which is none more evident than 20 minutes into the film and the Enterprise comes under attack from kamikaze style bee crafts. This adrenaline-fuelled sequence is spectacular to the extreme, with the CGI turned up to 20 and the camera zooming around in a head-spinning way that throws you in the heart of the action, while also losing you on occasion as you try to work out what is going on.
Once the crew has landed on the planet, it soon becomes more like the old TV series, with the focus on the characters and their interaction more important than the central plot. By doing this, script writers Simon Pegg and Doug Lung have taken elements of the show and injected it into this venture, shown mainly with the bickering between Spock and Bones.
While all this is going on, the evil Krall has captured some of the crew and is gunning for Kirk, who has other ideas and with help of a survivor of Krall, a white haired, white faced female warrior named Jaylah, they are going to take the battle to him rather than wait for Krall to find them. It’s all very much a throwback to times of old and while those of us old enough to remember the Shatner days, this won’t interfere with the newcomers to the series but instead hopefully bring a new dimension to the proceedings.
All of this is good, blockbuster fun. With the lighter touches of Pegg/Lung’s script, this is a much more playful addition to the new series, even if the film looks darker (seeing it in 3D does bring the lighting down even lower, thus making some scenes almost impossible to watch). While this is a minor niggle, the rest of the adventure is just that, a rollicking good adventure with jokes and excitement. The cast has settled into their roles nicely, with Chris Pine a much more subtle Kirk than before, and has almost the delivery of William Shatner as well. Karl Urban’s Dr. McCoy is the stand-out this time, having some of the biggest laughs and capturing Bone’s hatred for space and fighting while getting stuck in when required. It’s a joyful thing to see.The disappointment is Idris Elba’s Krall, who seems to be an evil without a cause and only when the film heads to its finale does the truth come out and it does seem a little desperate.
As with the rest of the film, it is full of contrivances, gaping plot holes and tons of technobabble (oh and the Beastie Boys too!) Yet none of that matters. This is a fun rollercoaster ride which will dazzle and amazing while keeps you entertained thoroughly. Star Trek Beyond, faults and all, isn’t the greatest Star Trek movie ever but for a Summer blockbuster, it ticks all the right boxes.