After a disastrous first trailer, it looked like indicated like new director Justin Lim was going to bring the very worst elements of The Fast and Furious series to Star Trek. How does the final film fare? Find out in our review.
You can breathe a sigh of release. Justin Lin hasn’t ruined Star Trek with motorbikes and Beastie Boys tunes. In fact, Lin provides a very steady set of hands for plotting the course of the Enterprise’s cinematic adventures and actually makes that obligatory Beastie Boys reference work within the context of film!
When a routine rescue mission turns out to be something else entirely, however, Jim finds the challenge he needs, he finds a little too much in fact, as he and his crew are stranded on a mysterious planet with no hope of rescue and a new threat to the Federation waiting in the wings.
Respect the chair
Any concerns that the firs Star Trek film in the rebooted universe would suffer without J.J. Abrams at the helm can be put to rest. Star Trek Beyond fits in nicely with other films in the series with Lin following Abrams’ lead when it comes to the characters, relationships and looks. Despite that, though, Lin still manage to put his stamp on it, even coming up with some impressive new ways to show off the Enterprise and ships going to warp.
Not only does Lin bring over his action chops from the Fast and the Furious, with some truly massive devastation on display along with a breakneck pace, but he also carries over the “heart” from those films.
2009’s Star Trek had the task of setting up a whole new universe while Into Darkness was burdened by the weight of beings Abrams’ take on The Wrath of Khan, one of the best Star Trek films of all time. Beyond however is unburdened by these such considerations, content to provide a good Star Trek adventure with a great crew and as a result has more time for welcome character interactions. After two films focusing mostly on Kirk and Spock Beyond wisely breaks up most of the traditional pairings with Chekov and Kirk on the run from nasty aliens and Sulu and Uhura planning prison breaks while Scotty continues the trend from Into Darkness of having his own “wee” adventures. You’ve got to wonder, though, how much of this is down to Simon Pegg’s role as co-screenwriter on the film, along with Doug Jung? I was happy to see a reference to one of the greatest UK sitcoms off all time, Spaced, come from the mouth of Captain James T Kirk!
The more expected pairing of Quinto’s Spock and Urban’s McCoy fulfils the promise of these actors, adding depth to the good-natured bickering between Spock and McCoy and living up to the legacy of Kelley and Nimoy.
Speaking of Nimoy, there’s a touching tribute to the actor who passed away last year as well as a fitting nod to the original crew of the starship Enterprise. Sadly every time Anton Yelchin’s Checkov is on screen just reminds the audience of how much fun he was in these films and a reminder that he would also be missed.
Outside the main cast, Sofia Boutella manages to take the trope of tough-as-nails alien marooned in the same circumstance as the Enterprise crew and make it her own, avoiding the familiarity of so many similar characters from Trek’s past and Idris Elba’s Krall is suitably villainous and mysterious, and holds some surprises in store.
Skip to the end
Having previously raved about the 3D in Ghostbusters, it’s a disappointing that the 3D in Beyond feels like an afterthought. While the film was not natively shot in 3D and was converted later, many scenes don’t suit 3D at all. The dimness that can result from 3D glasses makes it hard to make out what’s going on in some darker scenes, most noticeably a prolonged nighttime action scene, and the camera strays a little too close to the action in many of the fight sequences, resulting in blurry and disorientating scenes.
This is a minor quibble however that is easily overcome by the action, comedy and on-screen camaraderie of the crew.
When discussing my list of Top 5 Star Trek movies I stated that I believe a good trek movie needs three things:
” a credible threat (with ties to the protagonists past), Shakespearean quotes and believable action.”
Beyond just about scrapes by with only one Shakespearean quote but otherwise it’s firing on all cylinders with heaps of action and humour and a surprising number of reference to Star Trek Enterprise. A very welcome addition to the Star Trek canon
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Deep Roy, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella,
Directed by: Justin Lin
Official Site here.