After a slightly underwhelming sequel and with J.J. Abrams no longer steering the ship due a certain other space set franchise, new blood Justin Lin steps into the captains chair to boldly go where many directors have gone before, with Star Trek Beyond.
So, is it any good?This film is a helluva lot of fun, and whilst it doesn’t reach the giddy heights of the first entry in this new iteration of Trek, it’s definitely a step up from Into Darkness. Most refreshingly, we have a Star Trek film that takes place wholly amongst the stars, with the crew of the USS Enterprise in the middle of their long anticipated mission through deep space. And like any job involving shift work and long hours away from home, boredom is beginning to set in for Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). Each day’s outfit is the same, the faces never change, and with Kirk now reaching the same age his father George (Chris Hemsworth) was when he died, the not so young captain is beginning to rethink his life choices.
But when the Enterprise is ambushed by a powerful alien race lead by the mysterious Krall (Idris Ilba), and with the future of the Federation at stake, Kirk must find a way to unite his scattered crew and take the fight to his opponent.Star Trek Beyond rips along at a cracking pace, its almost impossible not to get swept up in the fun of it all. There are laugh out loud jokes, new romances (and bromances), and more than a few passing nods to characters and moments from the original series. What we have here is the perfect blend of old and new, and at times the whole thing feels like an extended episode of the classic TV show, albeit on a much larger scale than we’ve ever seen before. The action sequences in particular are of a frequency not even by Abrams attempted, with a lengthy attack on the Enterprise proving to be one of the series most thrilling sequences. I will say that this extra emphasis on action does come at the expense of character, and while Bones (Karl Urban) gets a beefed up role this time round, Zoe Saldana’s Uhura isn’t given an awful lot to do. And much like Oscar Isaac in this year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, Idris Ilba is somewhat wasted as the one dimensional Krall. There are also times when the CG feels overbearing, and this is one area in which Justin Lin’s presence is felt. While the physics defying CG stunts of the Fast & Furious franchise felt appropriate, they don’t always sit as comfortably in the somewhat grounded reality of the Trek universe. There’s one particular shot of Scotty (Simon Pegg) which many would have already seen in the trailer which still doesn’t look quite right and takes you out of the movie, if only for a brief moment.Star Trek Beyond could well be the most enjoyable two hours you’ll have in a cinema this year; overflowing with both energy and humour. Although long time fans of the franchise may take issue with its emphasis on spectacle over science, for the most part new director Justin Lin skillfully achieves the balancing act of honouring what’s come before while boldly going where others have not.
With the franchise now its fiftieth year, the future voyages of the Starship Enterprise have never felt more promising.
Star Trek Beyond opens in Australian cinemas this Thursday, July 21st