Star Trek Beyond Review
Director: Justin Lin.
Fast & Furious director Justin Lin takes over from J.J. Abrams who's currently committed to Star Wars, this being the first Trekkie film to be in total digital. Lin does good keeping the feel of the previous two and having a great balance of characters and action but that might have something to do with the additional writing from Simon Pegg himself.
The full cast returns with an almost blow out from Karl Urban until Lin had words convincing him to continue and gladly so as the banter between Spock and Bones is brilliant. In fact there's plenty of side-looks and funny comradely between the crew including John Cho's Sulu and the late Anton Yelchin's Chekov. There's a subtle hint at Sulu's sexuality paying reference to the real George Takei, which he doesn't actually approve of. I have to mention Deep Roy, the loveable small actor who's graced our screens with The NeverEnding Story and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, who plays Scotty's wee alien assistant Keensar; not that he gets to say anything apart from the odd sneeze.
The forever busy Idris Elba takes the role of villain, Krall and he pretty much what you might expect from an alien bad guy and it's probably Kingsmen femme fatale, Sofia Boutella who steals the show. Her character actually being based on Jennifer Lawrence's Ree from her 2010 film Winter's Bone which eventually evolved Boutella's name to be Jaylah the phonetic slang abbreviation for Ms. Lawrence. She suits the character well and brings something fresh to the franchise whereas Krall is just a typical moody alien enemy, but Elba does him proudly. The Raid's Jaka, Joe Taslim didn't really get the respect he deserved playing alien henchman Manas, his character just didn't deliver the impact it should have done especially for supposedly being a bad-ass.
It's not a totally original story, messy in parts and predictable. Sometimes incoherent and dark in places making it difficult to follow but I have always found digital poor at capturing action and night shots on camera. However, it works and manages to entertain very well with a silly yet superb use of Beastie Boys 'Sabotage'. It's clichéd but forgivable as it's actually enjoyable and moves at warp speed to cover all the plot holes, "ahh, that's a bit clichéd, oh, wait a minute something is happening." There is some mystery, or something not made clear, maybe just lacking detail that gets overlooked.
I'm glad they kept Michael Giacchino's score which works so well and is recognisable as a theme especially the dramatic destructive scenes where it helps captures the emotional impact of what's happening. Rihanna's 'Sledgehammer' is a superb song and makes on 2016 end credit track playlist.
It's a great addition to the trilogy and to the franchise, paying good homage to Gene Roddenberry's creations marking the 50th anniversary, just check out the special edition poster below based on the first motion picture in '79. I want to see more of this crew and where they go. It's better than Into Darkness but still not as good as the primer but this has a better balance, characters, drama and action, it's a very slick sci-fi movie that I'll probably watch again before it comes off the big screen.
RIP Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, Godspeed.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 9
The Extra Bonus Point: 5 for being a good continuation of the franchise and a great tribute to the fallen, absent friends.