FILM REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond
For all you diehard Star Trek fans and cult followers of the sci-fi classic, I bet you were looking forward to the release of Star Trek Beyond like Michael Bay looks forward to making another bad movie. Visually stunning, infectious chemistry between the actors and instance edge-of-your-seat action, I’m sure Start Trek lovers and newcomers to the franchise alike weren’t disappointed.
Set three years into a five year mission, our favourite happy-go-lucky, ballsy USS Enterprise captain, James T Kirk (Chris Pine) has matured after so many years leading his loyal crew in outer space. He may still have his hunger for adventure and heroic fearlessness, but is feeling a little directionless, struggling to find the meaning of the exploration mission to forge relationships with new alien races that he and his crew have dedicated their lives to. I mean who wouldn’t lose sense of purpose travelling through endless deep space?!
Kirk and his crew soon have a new goal though after visiting Starbase, Yorktown where an alien Kalara (Lydia Wilson) claims she is the last survivor of her crew after her ship became stranded on Altamid, a planet located in an uncharted nebula. Mounting what they think is a simple rescue mission, the Enterprise team are greeted with the most devastating ambush that they’ve ever experienced. Cue rest of the movie to unfold.
Story-wise I have to admit I was expecting an already done ‘alternative universe’ or ‘time travel’ clichés to remedy how so badly south the Enterprise’s situation went so soon into the movie. It was almost as if the film was been shown backwards, with the big ‘last-all-things-are-at-stake-battle’ been staged in epic style at the beginning; the Enterprise ship slowly and dramatically getting destroyed, the crew slaughtered left right and centre by a ruthless alien name Krall (Idris Elba) and his swarm of ships and the remaining officers been separated and marooned on Altamid.
This plot style worked in the film’s favour though, leaving you hooked wondering ‘how the heck are they going to get out of this one?’ Needless to say, thankfully the solution didn’t lie in time travel or alternate universes. After that I did feel that the narrative got a little predictable, with rescue, surviving on a treacherous planet, and a vengeful alien hell-bent on obtaining an ancient artefact to help him detonate universe-wide destruction.
What makes Star Trek Beyond is the all other elements that weave together to make a movie. The introduction of the advanced metropolis Yorktown and it’s bustling diverse intergalactic species population was quite frankly, super-cool and powerfully transported the audience to an exciting, futuristic world.
A dazzling visual effects spectacle and sensational music score to boot, the film did a great job on the exploration theme, giving you the feeling of seeing and experiencing things wide eyed- like a kid encountering new things for the first time- and allowing viewers to walk a mile in members of the Enterprise’s crew’s shoes; having to leave their homes and families for so long but experiencing the wonder of outer space and the unknown.
Considering how hard it must be to act when most of the movie you’re starring in is all visual and specialist effects and CGI, not to mention green screen, the actors are the true gems in this movie. It was great to see Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto get the opportunity to portray Bones’ and Spock’s marmite-esque relationship of deep-seated respect blended with frequent irritation towards one another, as, in the past it’s usually been their individual bromances with Kirk that we’ve seen.
Banter, witty one-liners and teasing really sell the crew as a close-knit one, adding comedy in line with the theme of there always being hope after even the worst disasters. Lines like ‘Bones saying ‘Oh well at least I won’t die alone’ only for his only companion at the time, Spock to get randomly teleported away to safety as enemy forces descends on him, is just one example of the humorous lines the script is sprinkled with.
At times there was so much action and the music so loud that there was almost too much going on making you want to watch it twice to make sure you didn’t miss any bits, but it does generally suit the big cinema screen- not to rub it in for those that haven’t seen it yet (though seriously go see it!).
The theme of ‘we never leave a man/woman/alien behind’ made the crew all the more endearing to the audience, though it would have been nice if Kirk’s last minute rescue mission of plucky alien, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) hadn’t have been achieved in such a scrap-through-by-your-teeth style. After Jaylah had helped them so much in their rescuing of the rest of the crew, rescuing her at the end almost seemed like a half-hearted afterthought, though to be fair it was great for suspense.
The film has it’s emotional moments too- with diehard fans bound to shed a tear when the Enterprise is violently torn apart- and Zachary Quinto’s striking performance of Spock’s grief as he mourns Ambassador’s Spock’s (his future self from an alternate universe) passing seeming truly authentic. This isn’t surprising as he was reportedly quite close to Ambassador Spock actor Leonard Nimoy is real life.
It was also touching to watch how sweet-natured and funny Chehov is and how talented Anton Yelchin was to have played him- given the fact that he had so much more to give the acting community until his life was sadly cut short earlier this year.
On a lighter note, the film portrays the eternal infinity of space in spectacular style and for the comedy alone is well worth a watch for any Star Trek novices. To those diehard fans of the series, I reckon it more than does the previous two films in the rebooted franchise justice.