Grosse Point Geek – Star Trek Beyond Reviewed
Halfway through their 5 year mission to boldly explore strange new worlds and new civilizations etc, The USS Enterprise is attacked by a superior and highly destructive fleet of ships led by the evil Krall (Idris Elba) who proceeds to kidnap most of the crew , threatening to kill them all unless Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) hands over some kind of alien made weapon of mass destruction.
Having none of this, James T, Bones (Karl Urban), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scotty (Simon Pegg) et al tool up and plan the fight back.
Back in 2009 JJ Abrams brilliantly rebooted the Star Trek franchise and then followed it up with a rather good sequel (Into Darkness). After being offered some obscure independent sci fi gig (whose name escapes me), he stepped down from the directors chair and handed the reins to Justin Lin (Fast and Furious 3, 4. 5, 6). This turned out to be a pretty good choice as Lin successfully manages to create some really great action scenes – particularly with Krall’s first attack on the Enterprise and then a fantastic sequence featuring Kirk riding hell for leather on a purloined motorbike in a do or die attempt to rescue his imprisoned crew mates.
The screenplay is also well written by Simon Pegg and Doug Chung, and features some excellent character development and alot of cracking banter between Kirk, Spock and McCoy that nicely brings back fond memories of the original series and the earlier films such as Wrath Of Khan.
The principal cast are excellent – Pine, Urban and Quinto are now clearly very comfortable in their roles, and do well in all their scenes together. John Cho as Sulu is again superb, seemingly having much more to do than original cast member George Takei ever did. Equally impressive is the late Anton Yelchin as Chekov, who will be very sorely missed in future Trek outings -indeed one wonders if they will ever manage replace him.
Where the film is less successful is in its plot. At its core we have a painfully unoriginal story which simply has Elba’s baddie swearing vengeance on the Federation and looking for a big weapon to destroy it, and as any Trek fan knows, this has been done to death many times over in just about all of the tv series’ and also in several of the earlier films.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with a straightforward plot, one does get the feeling that messrs Pegg, Chung and Lin could have dug a little deeper and given us a story that required the use of at least a few brain cells. In addition Idris Elba as Krall is very one dimensional in what is a very underwritten role for an actor of his stature. Indeed moving forward the writers should be looking to create a baddie that is more akin to Ricardo Montalblan’s Khan (Star Trek 2) or even Christopher Plummer’s Chang (Star Trek 6), as what they have come up with here is frankly way too generic.
However despite these criticisms i have to say that i really enjoyed Star Trek Beyond, very much like the Ghostbusters remake, it had a lot of heart, was loads of fun and certainly did very well to carry on Gene Roddenberry’s incredible sci fi legacy, plus it was a merciful respite from some of the deeply average blockbusters we have been subjected to this summer thus far.
Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek