Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond (12A)
Running time 2hmins
WITH JJ Abrams having been handed the reins to the most profitable film franchise in the world in Star Wars, you could forgive him if he dropped the ball on the other space saga entrusted to him. But Star Trek Beyond surpasses what’s gone before; this latest instalment outstrips the previous two efforts. That could be because Abrams has handed the director’s mantle over to the Fast and the Furious franchise helmer Justin Lin (who knows a thing or two about crafting guilty-pleasure popcorn movies), as he takes a more backseat role concentrating on producer duties. He’s also, interestingly, relinquished directorial control of the next Star Wars film in favour of producing, a move at which he’s already expressed regret – it’s shaping up to a stellar film by all accounts. It seems that as Stars Trek and Wars rise, Abrams’ personal star might be falling. But this isn’t about JJ Abrams.
Lin’s Star Trek successfully captures the spirit of the original series, blending its best points – humour; characterisation; planet-based, self-contained stories; big themes – with the magic of modern cinema, namely stunning CGI and special effects. But, crucially, Lin keeps front of mind what makes engaging cinema; developed characters and snappy dialogue are essential; the rest is window dressing.
Star Trek Beyond sees the shocking destruction of the USS Enterprise. Coming under attack from a swarm of ships they’re powerless against, the ship crash lands on a remote planet. Most of the crew are taken and held captive; a few escape. The enemy behind the attack is Krall (an unrecognisable Idris Elba), an enigmatic, life-sucking being who’s after a mysterious artefact currently in the possession of Captain Kirk and his shipmates. It’s clear his intentions are far from honourable, but for Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg), their immediate priority is to rescue the crew. Help comes in the form of loner Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an alien with a unique skill and a grudge – both of which will prove invaluable.
In a vertiginous climax to rival anything you’ve seen on the big screen, the final showdown makes it clear that this franchise is far from done. Karl Urban is the pick of the main cast – he channels DeForest Kelley’s Dr McCoy flawlessly – while Idris Elba makes a menacingly unhinged villain. As for space and fight sequences, they look amazing on the big screen – see it on IMAX and you’ll even leave your stomach in the air. With a better stab at humour than the previous films, a more human touch and a return to the themes of the original series, as well as a touching tribute to Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek Beyond entertains, enthrals and exhilarates. It is, without question, the strongest of the rebooted series.