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Star Trek Beyond Review


While JJ Abrams’s 2009 Star Trek reboot, and the subsequent Star Trek Into Darkness, breathed new life into the long running franchise's big screen efforts, the benefit of hindsight has opened long time fans' eyes to the fact the the spirit of Gene Roddenberry’s beloved vision was slightly diminished. There was a darker, harder edge to the reboot, with action trumping story, and for a series about space exploration, the two movies were decidedly Earth bound. For the third movie set in the Kelvin Timeline, Fast & Furious’ Justin Lin takes the con, with Abrams moving to the navigator position as producer, and this change of helmer sees the series find the perfect balance between the old and new, honouring the franchise’s roots while still delivering a crowd pleasing blockbuster.

Many years have passed since the events of Star Trek Into Darkness, and the crew of the Enterprise are three years into their five year mission of boldly going where no one has gone before. Dispatched to an uncharted nebula to rescue the crew of a crashed ship, the Enterprise is destroyed in an attack by the alien Krall (Idris Elba), and most of the crew captured by his army. Stranded on an unknown planet, Kirk (Chris Pine) must reunite with the other survivors, including Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), and Scotty (Simon Pegg), to launch a daring rescue and thwart Krall’s plan to decimate the United Federation of Planets.

The first thing that will strike you about Star Trek Beyond is how much it feels like an extended episode of the original series, and don’t you dare take that as anything but a compliment. It’s evident that fun is baked into the movie’s DNA from the opening scene, and it’s a lighter, breezier affair than what came before. But this change in tone from the first two movies works so well that it is in no way jarring, and almost feels like a natural progression of the series. Lin wastes no time in kicking into high gear, and after some efficient setting up of numerous plot treads, we’re given our first spectacular set piece as the Enterprise is ripped apart by an overwhelming swarm of drone ships leading to a rousing bout of fisticuffs amid the destruction. Given Lin’s pedigree, it’s no surprise the set pieces are Beyond’s strong suit, but they don’t overpower the story. In fact, they only strengthen it, and there are some incredibly deep and heartfelt moments to be found in a movie where steel melting alien mucus is a plot point. And for those bemoaning the use of The Beastie Boys in the first trailer, it forms the basis of the movie’s standout scene, one that will have you punching the air with joy.

Simon Pegg and Doug Jung’s script offers plenty of twist, turns, and neat references to the franchise’s long history in the 122 minute run time, giving all the cast something to do. Sure, the big three, Kirk, Spock, and Bones, are given a bit more screen time, but no one feels wasted, with the dearly departed Anton Yelchin’s Chekov getting a bump up in importance compared to the previous two movies. Of the new comers, Kingsman: The Secret Service Sofia Boutella seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun as alien warrior Jaylah, even if her generic ‘alien who can’t grasp basic human customs’ schtick does wear after a while. Elba, on the other hand, is a fantastically imposing villain, all snarl and barely contained menace even under a mountain of prosthetics. His plan has a refreshing spin to it that elevates him above the usual megalomaniacal villain, even if keeping his motivation under wraps until a third act reveal feels a little bit too late.

Effortlessly nailing the essence that made Star Trek a 50 year strong franchise, Star Trek Beyond mixes audience pleasing spectacle with old fashioned sci-fi adventure that won’t fail to plaster a huge smile across your face from the opening frame.


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The Movie Bit: Star Trek Beyond Review
Star Trek Beyond Review
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