The alternate time line. The pocket universe. The rebootquel. Many weird ways to describe the current set of Star Trek movies initiated by J.J. Abrams with his highly entertaining Star Trek film from 2009. However, just like Keanu Reeves, Star Trek continues to look good at 50 years old with its latest addition – Star Trek: Beyond.
Three years into its five year exploratory mission, the crew of the USS Enterprise are docking into Starbase Yorktown for some much needed rest and recuperation. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) especially is feeling disillusioned in the endless quest to “boldly go where no man has gone before”. Having applied for a promotion at Yorktown, Kirk has recommended that Spock (Zachary Quinto) be assigned captaincy to complete The Enterprises mission.
However, before any further developments can occur, an errant escape pod, from a nearby uncharted nebula, sends the crew of the Enterprise on a rescue mission for the occupants crew. Little do they know that danger awaits in the form of Kraal (Idris Elba), a mysterious alien hell bent on recovering a dangerous artifact from the Enterprise, with one goal in mind. Destroy the United Federation of Planets and all it stands for.
If you stacked up all of Justin Biebers past misdemeanours and life choices, you still would not get anyway near the level of derision that Trekkies have for the new set of Star Trek movies. According to them, gone are the philosophical story lines exploring the human condition, and instead we have a bunch of Star Wars knock offs with “f@#$%^^g” phasers. In this humble authors opinion, much of this criticism appears to have been very well addressed in this film.
Similar to Madonna changing her image every instance she goes on tour, a beloved franchise needs to move with the times. Terminator tried to do it. James Bond has done it. Mission Impossible continues to do it. Each franchise has attempted to update the way the material is presented without hopefully losing the spirit of its individual concept. Star Trek: Beyond nails this in both respects.
From the smooth dulcet tones of the opening monologue by Kirk (which drops quite a few Easter eggs for the eagle EARED), to the adrenaline fueled action sequences on the ground, and in the air, with a killer Beastie Boys soundtrack, Star Trek: Beyond delivers on all fronts. Justin Lin, taking over the direction from J.J. Abrams, once again proves handy at dealing with an ensemble cast and achieves the right balance between sentimentality and ingenuity. Moreover, the script by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, drops the right amount fan service, whilst breaking new ground, to provide enough geekgasmic moments to satisfy even the hardcore critic.
Even the returning cast serve their roles admirably. Each actor appears to fit comfortably back into their characters like a pair of well worn briefs. Furthermore, the supporting cast of Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella (Jaylah) are equally impressive as the new kids on the block (no offense to Donnie Wahlberg). Boutella especially shines, and almost steals every scene she is in, when next to the original cast. The two sad notes are the deaths of both Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, who are given loving tributes in the end credits. Nimoy especially gets a very poignant and fitting send off through the eyes of Quinto’s younger Spock.
Star Trek: Beyond is an enjoyable and riveting science fiction journey from start to finish. It combines classical Star Trek elements with contemporary story telling, and action set pieces, that make a far more compelling view than even the next episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians (loud gasps all around)!!
Who knows. Maybe this film will take you…Beyond…what you have come to expect from a Star Trek film.
I give it 3.5/5 chillies……..the right kind of spice.