Star Trek Beyond Review

Star Trek Beyond

To boldly go, where no-one has gone before.

That’s always been a favourite soundbite of Captain Kirk and co, so it’s a shame that Star Trek Beyond doesn’t try to live up to this noble sentiment.

Kirk and his crew are half way through their five year mission to explore space, and cabin fever has set in.

Exploring the outer reaches of our universe seems to have taken its toll, and our captain is questioning what on earth he’s doing in outer space.

He’s not the only one either, as Spock wrestles with prioritising duty to his now endangered species with following his own heart.

Well, as much as an inhuman green blooded vulcan can follow their heart.

In fact, both of these leading lights of the starship Enterprise are planning on making this current mission their last.

But a galactic damsel in distress forces Kirk and his crew back into their space saddles, and off on another adventure into the unknown.

As a casual fan of Star Trek, I’m ambivalent about the JJ Abrams reboot of the classic Gene Roddenbury sci-fi franchise.

I liked the first one, because of the clever way it reset Star Trek’s past; less so Into Darkness, which just lazily re-purposed past films instead of creating something new.

Still, anyone familiar with JJ Abrams’ work shouldn’t expect anything less from this director.

With a new auteur at the helm, and Simon Pegg on screen-writing duties, I was hoping for something fresh and new.

But as is becoming depressingly common with modern big budget blockbusters, Star Trek Beyond plays it safe by simply recycling what their audience have already seen before instead of taking a chance and serving up something fresh and exciting.

Recovering a studio’s investment, rather than creating great stories and films, seems to be of paramount importance now.

Which is a shame, as Star Trek’s ensemble cast are quite brilliant and the outer space action sequences are beyond spectacular.

But the predictable writing continually lets it down, as the motivations for Kirk’s antagonists are neither credibly explained nor explored.

The enemy is big, they’re bad, they’re powerful and they will suck the energy right out of you – just don’t expect to be told why or how they came by any of these magic powers.

The best Star Trek film of all is still The Wrath of Khan, even though it’s almost as old as I am, and that’s because the writers took the time to give Khan’s character his own motivations that were believable.

Sadly, all Idris Elba’s character offers is random conflict for Kirk and his crew to fight against – and sticking him behind a heavy prosthetic mask is a complete waste of the Hackney actor’s screen presence.

As for Pegg’s dialogue, someone needs to forcibly remove the word ‘lassie’ from his dictionary before his Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott character turns into a laughably bad parody of the original.

Star Trek Beyond is entertaining yet disposable popcorn fare, just don’t expect anything too bold about this instalment.

Jonathan Campbell

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