So I watched Star Trek Beyond…
The day before I watched this movie, I had the unfortunate pleasure of suffering through Independence Day: Resurgence. Everything that I hated about that movie, Star Trek Beyond managed to do right. This movie made me smile countless times and whenever a movie does that, it reaffirms why I love film so much.
Okay, basic plot: Three years into its five year deep space mission, the captain of the USS Enterprise – James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) is growing disenchanted with the appeal of deep space exploration and considers resigning. His plans are interrupted when the Enterprise is tasked with rescuing a marooned ship on an uncharted world. The rescue mission leads Kirk and his crew to the planet of Altamid which is ruled by Krall (Idris Elba) – a ruthless villain determined to destroy the federation. What started out as a simple rescue mission now leaves the crew of the Enterprise in need of rescuing themselves.
A lot was said about director Justin Lin taking the reigns over from J.J. Abrams. Lin has directed four of the seven Fast and Furious movies and it was feared that he’d have Kirk and Spock drifting shuttles in space. I was extremely excited about the move because the action in Fast and Furious – while ridiculous at times – is breathtaking and I was eager to see that raw octane energy injected into the final frontier. The results were everything I hoped for and more. The action starts early in the film and continues to build throughout its run. You can clearly see Lin’s influence on the action setpieces and his imagination and taste for the outrageous truly elevates the level of exhilaration in the film.
But amazing action would mean nothing without rich characters to carry it out. That’s where Simon Pegg and Doug Jung’s tasteful and progressive script come in. The script does a fantastic job – as always – adding depth and layers to the beloved characters in this universe. The film manages to both have high stakes but also allows an intimate connection with the various characters in the film. You truly bond with all of them and are incredibly invested in their success. The story is also well put together and stays true to the Star Trek tradition of pitting our heroes against impossible odds. The film also pays homage to the late Leonard Nimoy and acknowledges his presence and impact on Star Trek culture and history. This film marks the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek and I loved how Pegg and Jung paid their respects to the original series and films but also kept their eye on the future and propelling this blossoming film franchise forward.
I once again have to return to praising director Justin Lin as well as Michael Giacchino – who was responsible for this film’s music. If you remember this film’s first trailer, you’ll recall that there was heavy use of a certain Beastie Boys’ song. Now I don’t want to spoil anything but that song – Sabotage – literally saves the day! It’s use in the film’s plot is so forward-thinking and unconventional; and while I don’t know whose brainchild it is, I have to assume that it’s part of Lin’s bag of high-energy tricks that he plans to use to revolutionise Star Trek.
I also have to give a huge amount of praise to this film’s talented cast. This is the third time this cast is crewing the Enterprise and you can clearly feel the sense of family and camaraderie among them. They’re strong individually but its in the moments when they have to play off each other and exhibit their chemistry that they truly shine. Chris Pine is once again fantastic in the helm as Captain Kirk and you can really tell the difference in the character from the first film to this. During the events of the film, the crew is separated from one another and this led to some interesting combinations as characters we haven’t seen previously interacting are forced to work together. I wish though that Pine and Zachary Quinto’s Mr Spock had had more scenes together because their rhythmic give and take was sorely missed.
This film, however, isn’t perfect. I felt the villain – Krall who’s played by Idris Elba wasn’t menacing or remarkable in any way. He was lacking impetus and a true sense of malice. His plan was also a bit too convoluted and didn’t really make sense at times. I also found Elba’s performance to be inconsistent and lacking purpose. You forgive these mistakes because the rest of the film and its action are spectacular.
Overall, Star Trek Beyond is a fun movie to watch that pays homage to the past while driving forward to the future. It’s a shame it didn’t have a larger box office return but I’m hoping it made enough to warrant a sequel with Justin Lin in the director’s chair. It’s worth watching whether you’re a Trekkie or not. 7/10