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Review: Star Trek: Beyond

I have never really been into Star Trek. I have only seen Star Trek: Into Darkness once and although it impressed me, it did not motivate me to watch any more. Star Trek: Beyond sees the cast return, including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Captain Kirk and Spock respectively, while also adding new members, notably Idris Elba as main bad guy Krall.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: Chris Pine arrives ahead of the Star Trek Beyond Australian Premiere on July 7, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures) *** Local Caption *** Chris Pine
Chris Pine at the premiere for Star Trek: Beyond in Sydney.

Kirk and his crew on their spaceship, the USS Enterprise, go into an uncharted galaxy in order to rescue another Federation crew that have been stranded on the planet. The crew gets shipwrecked and split apart from each other, and need to regroup and leave the planet, while Krall has his own evil plot to tend to.

This film, although there are better ones, is probably the best summer blockbuster of the year. It is humorous and the jokes are even funny – a rarity these days. This is a real credit to the writing of Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, especially considering the bad jokes that act as a weight on other blockbusters.

A notable change from the last film is that director Justin Lin replaces JJ Abrams, who chose to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens instead. Lin last directed Fast & Furious 6, which I loved, and his involvement with that franchise possibly explains the presence of a motorbike within the film. Lin directs the action really well, with the action sequences being entertaining and a joy to watch.

The cinematography is, for the most part, good to watch, with the sci-fi landscape and production design being very pretty. Lin uses a technique where he twists the camera 90 degrees in order to show more of the landscape. While this is nice the first couple of times, I found it boring after it was used on at least seven occasions in the film.

LONDON, UK – JULY 14: Special screening of the Paramount Pictures title “Star Trek Beyond” with an introduction by Idris Elba, on July 14, 2016 at Picturehouse Central in London, UK. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures Studios)
Idris Elba at the London screening of the film

The character interactions, between Spock and Dr Bones especially, are entertaining to watch, with performances from nearly everyone being very good. Simon Pegg’s performance was inconsistent, however he had more good moments than bad.

Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella both play new characters, Krall and Jaylah. Krall’s motivations remain unclear until the end of the film, however once these motivations are revealed he makes a compelling villain. He is not on the level of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness, however he is still very good.

Jaylah is an alien on the planet that the crew crash on, and has the technology to make multiple versions of herself appear. This is used to great effect in some of the action and Jaylah’s make-up is convincing as well.

The film takes a while to get into the main plot, and even when it did I felt that more time with our main characters was needed.

Overall Star Trek: Beyond is well worth a watch, for fans of the franchise and newcomers alike.

★★★★☆