What it's about:
The members of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
What we thought:
I have always had a feeling of indifference in regards to Star Trek – didn’t hate it but it never elicited the kind of passion I have for Star Wars – and the reboots have just been another movie franchise. Star Trek Beyond, however, has delivered a stellar film that is well crafted with a tinge of studio meddling, but in this case it seems to have worked. The thrill of space exploration that was missing in the first two films is brought back to the fore, and although it feels a little paint-by-numbers, the plot had a solid foundation and developed logical, yet still entertaining, stories. Spock would have been proud.
Weary from deep space travel, the Enterprise returns to a Federation base only to be sent out on a rescue mission to an unknown planet. Ambushed, they learn the darker side of exploration and fight to keep the peace in the galaxy.
From the director of the action-heavy Fast and Furious franchise, Star Trek Beyond has enough space battles without overpowering the plot and characters, a feat that is not always easy to accomplish, and looks quite different from its action-packed trailers. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) has very much matured since the previous movies, although he cannot escape an identity crisis that befalls every person in their mid-twenties. Spock (Zachary Quinto) too is battling with his sense of duty as one of the few surviving members of his species, and a touching tribute to Leonard Nimoy is woven into the story to help progress his development as the young Spock.
And then there’s Karl Urban, who as Dr McCoy is just a wisecracking gift that never ends and needs to be protected at all costs.
Not to say the action sequences and CGI isn’t pretty amazing not only in magnitude but also in the detail and its relationship with the musical score. Star Trek has been using Beastie Boys since the first movie, but the use of their song Sabotage in the film was used flawlessly and how I imagine space battles should go down in the future. The song in conjunction with clever CGI created a scene that will forever be remembered as one of the best movie space battles ever.
The alien costume design was also on point, with Idris Elba unrecognisable as Krall. Especially Jaylah’s visage looks as badass as actress Sofia Boutella herself, known as the blade-wielding assassin from The Kingsmen. Despite falling into the damsel-in-distress role, she very much smashes the distress part to smithereens and comes out as strong female character without functioning as a love interest for anyone. Hope to see more of her in the next film.
Star Trek Beyond is a great cinematic marvel and the filmmakers continue to expand its appeal beyond the hard-core fans. Even though there are a million throwbacks to the old Star Trek series, you don’t have to be a Trekkie to enjoy watching Captain Kirk and his crew explore an ever-expanding universe and looking good in the process. With a little mix of everything and a couple of studio clichés for good measure, this is one blockbuster which actually outshines its marketing instead of being beholden to it (cough-cough Suicide Squad cough-cough).