Star Trek Beyond director: Justin Lin
Star Trek Beyond movie cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella
It’s day 966 in space — only the third year in a five-year mission — and Captain James Kirk (Pine) is getting rather tired of the “episodic” nature of things. Dr ‘Bones’ McCoy (Urban) and he have a heart-to-heart over some drinks, and discuss legacies and growing older. That’s the last time anyone shows either their age or touches of boredom in Star Trek Beyond. As Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious) takes over the directorial ropes of this latest Star Trek franchise from J K Simmons, the action is frenetic and constant, the fights don’t just involve spacecraft but also include a lot of hand-to-hand combats, and there is no escaping the refrain of the upbeat American spirit.
It’s not ‘Beyond’ that the Enterprise crew are after, though we get a brief promising glimpse of a futuristic, multi-race space spation. It’s ‘Abronath’, a metallic object with indecipherable inscriptions that pops open to touch and, as the nature of these things is, reveals little. Worse, the film doesn’t bother explaining why the universe across planets may be after it.
Not that anyone is asking that question, for Star Trek Beyond is much too busy pitting Kirk and company against Krall (Elba) and his lot. Krall has a raging anger against the Federation, for seeking to establish peace across planets by way of spaceships such as Enterprise. Confused as his explanation is — “without conflict one doesn’t know one’s strengths”, he argues, to his unmoved people — it’s still the only explanation on offer. It’s also unclear how many people he commands on that scraggly planet of his with pointy rocks for habitat, for he is never seen with them.
Meanwhile, Spock (Quinto) is considering his own legacy, now that “Ambassador Spock” is dead (a nod to the original Spock of the TV series, Leonard Nimoy, who died in February 2015), as well as nursing an on again-off again romance with Lt Uhura (Saldana).
The film is also dedicated to the late Anton Yelchin, who plays the Russian Chekhov, though it is doubtful he would have liked to be remembered for this role where all he does is shout incomprehensible instructions and ask questions just to propel the story forward.
The most memorable performance is Boutella as the painted-face Jaylah, a survivor of Krall’s wrath. She survives everything, including Pegg, the co-scriptwriter who also plays Montgomery Scott in the film, constantly calling her “lassie”.
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