Three movies into the J.J. Abrams reboot and the Enterprise crew is finally comfortable in their own skins; boldly going where everyone’s gone before, this is old-school Star Trek, ‘a bit episodic’ (© Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk, now sounding more like Shatner); stranded in an abandoned quarry – sorry, alien planet – with a mandatory British villain (Idris Elba – Prometheus, Thor).
The motivation of space pirate Krall (Elba) doesn’t matter, so long as there’s plenty of CGI mayhem on a grand scale; space battles, crashes, boarding parties, treachery and outstanding heroism in the most ridiculous high-rise, zero-G circumstances.
The dialogue sparkles, it’s hopelessly self-referential to the Star Trek canon, nostalgic in the extreme, but unlike the previous two outings, this Star Trek is actually fun.
The ensemble cast continue to work well together, but it falls to the three principals to carry the action as ever. Zachary Quinto’s Spock is a bit more relaxed, Karl Urban’s (Dredd, Bourne) Bones so much more curmudgeonly, Pine’s Kirk that bit more grown up, but no less reckless. Kirk under serious consideration for Vice-Admiral? No organisation would trust him as a parking attendant for fear of wrecking the joint. Sofia Boutella (Kingsman) adds a bit of spark as alien kick-ass chick and help-mate Jaylah.
The VFX companies have gone to town on the space-faring action; Krall’s swarm-ships match anything in Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy; whilst the floating starbase Yorktown is a triumph of Megasets Inc. We’ve come a long way in scale and detail from 2001 A Space Odessey, and that’s a compliment.
Star Trek: Beyond is an energetic space romp adventure boosted and glossed by Fast and Furious director Justin Lin; it may not be the purist’s idea of Trek, but it may well be the Star Trek we’ve been waiting for. RC
Star Trek: Beyond (2016)
Director: Justin Lin
Writers: Doug Jung, Simon Pegg
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of sci-fi action and violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Running time: 120 minutes
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella