Saturday, 23 July 2016

Star Trek Beyond

Year of Release:  2016
Director:  Justin Lin
Screenplay:  Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, based on the television series Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
Starring:  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella
Running Time:  122 minutes
Genre:  Science-fiction, action, adventure

This is the thirteenth film in the Star Trek franchise, and the third in the rebooted series that began with Star Trek (2009) and continued with Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).  In this film the Starship Enterprise is almost three years into it's five year mission and the crew are beginning increasingly fed up with life in deep space.  After docking at a space station, the Enterprise is sent off on a rescue mission into a uncharted nebula.  Unfortunately, it turns out to be a trap, when the ship is attacked by a vast horde of mysterious craft, led by the brutal Krall (Elba) who is looking for an ancient alien artifact on board the Enterprise.

This is a hugely entertaining slice of science-fiction action.  The special effects are spectacular, and the action moves along well, but still leaves room for character moments, and humour.  It's more of an ensemble film than some previous Star Trek efforts, rather than focusing on the Kirk (Pine) and Spock (Quinto) relationship, it broadens the canvas by dividing the main crew up for most of the film, thereby meaning that they all have their own subplots to play out.  Chris Pine is good as the square-jawed hero Kirk, while Zachary Quinto is impressive as Spock and has a nice moment which serves as a tribute to the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban is fun as the wisecracking McCoy and his fraught relationship with Spock is one of the delights of the film.  Simon Pegg is good as Scotty and is given a much bigger role than Scott usually has (which isn't surprising as Pegg co-wrote the script).  Zoe Saldana and John Cho are underused as Uhura and Sulu, although they still have their moments, and there is a nice glimpse of Sulu's family life.  Anton Yelchin is good as Chekhov (of course Yelchin died tragically just a few weeks before the film opened and it is dedicated to his memory).  Idris Elba steals the show as  the evil Krall, and Sofia Boutella is impressive as kick-ass alien fighter Jaylah.

It manages the difficult task of paying homage and staying true to the spirit of the original series, while still being very much it's own thing, and with this film the new Star Trek series really comes into it's own, and the Enterprise crew really start to work together well.  A treat for Trekkers, but with enough humour and action to appeal to non fans as well.

Sofia Boutella and Simon Pegg boldly go to Star Trek Beyond

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