Movie Review | Star Trek Beyond
Movie Summary: The U.S.S. Enterprise crew explores 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. (IMDb)
Now this is what the follow-up to 2009’s Star Trek should have been and even the film acknowledges it, pretty much ignoring everything from the franchise-breaking Star Trek Into Darkness and is all the better for it. I’d go even further than that and say Beyond is the best Trek film since The Undiscovered Country.
It really is that good and the reviews saying that Beyond feels like an episode of the original series blown up for the big screen and made with modern sensibilities is pretty accurate. The main reason for that feeling is that Star Trek Beyond is fun.
Star Trek (2009) had to set up this new timeline and establish what the characters were like in this new reality, so there was understandably a foundation to be put in place before moving forward. Into Darkness was then just way too serious and felt like it was written by someone who believes the moon landings were faked.
Star Trek Beyond takes the groundwork laid in the 2009 film and just has fun with the characters, giving every member of the main crew something to do. The science is a little iffy and the central plot is well-trod ground by now, but you don’t care while watching it because you’re enjoying the movie so much.
Could it be down to lowered expectations after Into Darkness? I’ll admit that I wasn’t really holding out too much hope, as the trailers were decent, but nothing special. The secret is that the team behind this film actually get the characters, how they should behave and how they should interact with each other.
We get to see Spock and Bones spend plenty of time together – resulting in a number of the film’s best scenes – Kirk and Chekov form an unlikely partnership, as do Sulu and Uhura. Scotty is the odd one out, teaming with the alien Jaylah and recruiting her to the crew’s side.
Unfortunately, Idris Elba is wasted under layers of make-up as an alien named Krall and you wonder why they would waste such an excellent actor in a role like this. There is an intended twist involving his character late on in the film, but you’ll more than likely have figured it out before then, even if a TV spot hadn’t already given it away before the film was even released.
The last ‘character’ to talk about is the Enterprise herself, which has received criticism from some critics for destroying it again, despite the fact the last time we saw Kirk’s Enterprise destroyed was in 1984’s Search for Spock. Thirty-two years seems like long enough for me.
Add in the fact that the sequence dealing with its eventual destruction, from the initial attack in space to the eventual crash landing of the saucer section on a planet surface, is probably the longest single sequence in the film and definitely gives the ship a worthy final scene, very effectively establishing Krall as a threat to the crew.
That the plot is ultimately quite generic and the final showdown results in a fistfight is a bit of a disappointment, but the journey to that point is what makes the film. There’s plenty of drama, humour and lots of little bits of interplay between the cast and that’s what sells the story in the end.
The actors are now comfortable with their characters and their interactions come off as truly genuine, so when they believe something bad is going to happen, so do you. The camaraderie and teamwork also feels authentic, so when they come up with a way to weaponise a particular song near the end, you will happily wave away the goofiness and utterly fraudulent science just because you want their plan to work.
Star Trek Beyond is an absolute blast from start to finish and was woefully mis-marketed by Paramount that led to it being seen by far fewer people than it should have. It's not just a great Star Trek film, it's a damn good film outright and definitely recommended. A final thought: it’s funny how it’s the odd-numbered ‘nuTrek’ films that are the best ones.