Being a fan of both the original series and J.J. Abrams’ film series I was originally sceptical of Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond. While sci-fi is no stranger to big blockbuster action sequences and scenery to gawk at it is usually at the base of a deeper point or commentary about our society today. Star Trek in particular was created as a vision of an idealistic world where all beings are equal and war is seen as a barbaric practice of the past. Both of Abram’s adaptations managed to find a nice equilibrium between these two foundations giving the original series a proper modern day imagining. Pleasantly, Star Trek Beyond does the same although not to the same extent.
In this outing, Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew find themselves pitted against the malevolent Krall (Idris Elba) who seeks to steal an ancient weapon on board the Enterprise, causing the crew to become stranded on an alien world in the process. The plot is quite reminiscent of the classic series but keeps the captivating intrigue and emotional character developments that we have come to expect from the previous films in check. A more risky, but well performed, departure from previous ventures is that the film pairs characters together that would not ordinarily interact, if at all, giving the production greater distinctiveness from the previous two. The pairing of Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) particularly stands out being fantastically emotional while keeping their unique banter with great comedic effect. Structurally everything flows well and the cinematography is nothing short of breath-taking, utilising the CG landscapes to their finest.
However the film really falls short when trying to find its balance between thought provoking cinematic episode of Star Trek and blockbuster sci-fi action which the previous two films did rather well. There are moments where ideals are questioned and characters begin to question their own motivations but they are quickly put aside for the loud action sequences giving the characters and the audience little time to digest these questions. This schizophrenic tone ultimately lets the film down. Nevertheless, the film still holds up to the standard of its predecessors, if only just.
Image: vagueonthehow; flickr