Star Trek Beyond tells the story of the crew of the USS Enterprise exploring the furthest reaches of uncharted space where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
I never grew up on the Star Trek franchise – I was always and continue to be firmly in the Star Wars camp having grown up loving the original trilogy, disappointed by the prequel trilogy, and somewhat excited for the future of the series after working at Star Wars Celebration Europe. I had obviously heard of Star Trek and was a fan of those like William Shatner (though not so much recently in light of his sexist comments at San Diego Comic-Con this year), Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, and Patrick Stewart through their other work. The “live long a prosper” motto of the Vulcans along with their salute was a small part of my memory tucked away with no real importance.
It wasn’t until about a year or so prior to Into Darkness was released that I had any interest in giving the reboot a chance. I knew nothing about them, had no idea who was in it, and came into the 2009 Star Trek with no prior knowledge of the universe whatsoever. Because of this, I think I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed myself nonetheless with the roles of James T. Kirk filled by Chris Pine (who had appeared in numerous favourite childhood films), fellow Aussie as his father George Kirk, Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (whom I loved from her first appearance on film in Centre Stage), a friendly face in Kiwi Karl Urban as Bones (who I loved from a wide range of films), John Cho as Sulu, one of my favourite comedian’s Simon Pegg as Scotty, Zachary Quinto as Spock (who is so underrated as an actor) and the recently passed but ever so talented Anton Yelchin. With such a strong cast, intelligent plot, and a director at the helm that was well known for his work in science-fiction, I enjoyed myself a lot more than expected and it’s a good entry point for those who are willing to try something new and entertaining.
Although my dislike for Benedict Cumberbatch is well known, Into Darkness was thrilling and vibrant though lacked the intelligence and fun of its predecessor. This didn’t mean it was any less of a film, it just had a lot to live up to since the 2009 Star Trek did so well. Star Trek Beyond follows in a similar suit to Into Darkness where it was a boat load of fun with well directed action sequences, well written humour with great one liners aided by the fact that Pegg helped pen the film but lacked the spunk of the original. This is something to keep in mind but nothing that Beyond should be discredited for.
Director Justin Lin, known for his work on the Fast and Furious franchise, does well with the loud action sequences as this is where he truly shines as he moulds a high-intensity action sequence at the climax of the film to the Beastie Boys. This is one of the strengths of the film along with Lin guiding the well known and respected cast into giving strong performances.
With this being all well and good, the story is a bit “meh.” Beyond does well in dazzling us as an audience with it’s visuals, performances, and soundtrack but falls in a enthralling and gripping story. There’s hardly any addition to the characters and time that is spent on these character elements are short and hardly sweet – I wanted to know more about Captain Kirk finding out who he is as a person and as a captain and not trying to be his father, being more than George Kirk could ever be. The story seemed a bit superficial and lacked any real sort of depth or isight into this world. It was like it was a cookie cut out of what a film should have been and a lot of elements very generic – good guys who are good and a bad guy who is bad.
But the thing is, though, the motivation of Idris Elba’s Krall or even his character as a whole was a bit flat and lacked any real threat that the first to reboot films held with their enemies. It all felt personal and real to the characters we have come to love and Krall just seemed like a throw away addition that hardly mattered and honestly probably could’ve done without. If Krall actually played more into the fact that both Spock and Kirk were having doubts about their positions and roles amongst society or even who they thought they were, it would’ve made the film and Krall as a villain significantly more interesting. It would’ve even been more interesting to see more of what Krall was like and what his experiences were at the time he was enlisted.
In the end, Star Trek Beyond isn’t a bad film it’s just nothing but a little bit of fun.