Star Trek Beyond
Directed by Justin Lin
Starring John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, and Sofia Boutella.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Star Trek reboot films. I love the first one, and hate the second one. I mean, I’ve blogged extensively about my problem with Into Darkness, so I won’t go into it. The short version is there was one moment in the film that was a callback to the most famous Star Trek film, but it’s handled with such a lack of subtlety that it pulled me out of the film, and I couldn’t get back in. So my expectations were lowered with Beyond. The trailers, with their Beastie Boys and dirt bike races, left me cold. Even the promise of new blood, with new director Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious 3 thru 6) and Simon Pegg pulling double-duty as writer and Scotty wasn’t enough to get me excited. But, a newer trailer that looked more Star Trek-y, and the fact that Star Trek remains my first fandom, got me into the theatre on opening weekend.
The Starship Enterprise is halfway through its five year mission of exploring deep space, and a certain malaise is setting in with our favourite crew. Both Kirk and Spock are starting to entertain other offers. While re-stocking at Yorktown — Starfleet’s most remote starbase — the Enterprise receives a distress call from a planet deep within an unexplored nebula. They go off to investigate, but it turns out to be a trap, and the Enterprise is destroyed. Stranded on this unknown planet full of alien technology, the Enterprise crew soon finds themselves at the mercy of the alien warlord Krall. With the help of Jaylah — an escapee from Krall’s prisons — Kirk and the Enterprise crew begin plotting the rescue of their shipmates. Will they get off the planet? And who is Krall, and why does he have such an intense hatred of the Federation?
What I Liked
Firstly, there’s no big callback to a previous Star Trek movie that pulls me out of the proceedings. There are, however, enough Easter eggs to make you smile. (A lot of them actually have to do with Enterprise, which I’ve been revisiting recently on Netflix.) And now that I see how the dirt bike race and the Beastie Boys are worked into the plot, it works. As always, our crew is a delight. It’s fun seeing them paired off when they initially land on the planet. Spock and Bones get thrown together, and we get some classic Spock and Bones interplay. Idris Elba is a great villain as Krall, and Sofia Boutilla is also quite delightful as Jaylah. The plot itself is actually a great callback to the plots of original series episodes. And they way Leonard Nimoy’s death is worked into the film is quite poetic.
What I Didn’t Like
As Justin Lin is the Fast and Furious guy, I was expecting better action scenes. But a lot of the fight scenes are in the dark and it’s tough to follow what’s going on.
I couldn’t stop smiling as I came out of the theatre. This was the most fun I’d had in a Star Trek film since, well, the first in this reboot trilogy. I really enjoyed it.