“To boldly go where no man has gone before”. This phrase has been embedded deep within the fandom and culture of the science fiction genre. It also reflects a film makers ambition to venture into the unknown and to explore different areas of a much beloved franchise like Star Trek. Unfortunately, it seems that ambition and exploration seems to have run its course with Star Trek Beyond.
The story of the film is that of déjà vu in the sense that although this is a new Star Trek you can’t escape the feeling that you’ve seen the same storyline many times already. Since the reviser of the franchise JJ Abrams left to focus on Star Wars (but stays on as producer) it is down to Fast and Furious director Justin Lin to continue the legacy of the series, and while you can applaud his efforts, it feels like Lin is playing too close to JJ Abrams style of directing. You can nitpick a few scenes where it is easy to imagine Abrams reaching the same stylistic conclusion. The pace of the film really needs a kick to get it started but once it does, it maintains it pace despite questionable editing options.
The script developed by Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty) and Doug Jung is decent despite the storyline being too generic. Dialogue was simple, clear and never tries to become complex, which is preferable in a film like Star Trek as given its future setting the audience need to be informed about the Star Trek universe as much as the characters on the screen.
The crew of the USS Enterprise is also back once more and again the film reaches to the bottom of the barrel in term of how we can explore and delve into these characters more. Chris Pine is the iconic Captain James T Kirk and offers a performance much on par with the other two films of the series and like the other two films his character is overshadowed by the character development of Spock played by Zachary Quinto who shines above the rest in this film with a rich performance as a much beloved character of sci-fi history.
Idris Elba is Krall the main antagonist of the film who leaked an essence of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Khan in the second film Star Trek Into Darkness but lacks the strong motivation that is critical to a villain. It is often unclear as to why this character does the things he does in the film and all that we can really take away from his character is that he is just a bad guy and not much else. Yes, his character is revealed later on in the closing acts of the film, but the audience is left with the rest of the film not knowing much about him.
The rest of the crew are more or less have the same character roles with Scotty being the comic relief and Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) serving as the one who brings out the human half of Spock. Regardless of this, to say that these characters haven’t changed from the other two films would be untrue, though not crystal clear as there is character depth that is embedded into the film when observing very closely which is the problem with the depth if the audience can’t see the development of characters clearly it won’t stick in their minds coming away from this film.
The film leaves a touching tribute however to the original cast of the Star Trek TV series in order to pay its respects to Leonard Nimoy as well as dedicating the film Anton Yelchin (Chekov) which is respectful of the film makers.
Overall, while the film has its moments with strong lead characters and pleasant dialogue, it won’t be winning any newcomers to the franchise’s fandom, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a bad film, just that you won’t be praising it to your friends or family. Hopefully some salvage can come from the new rebooted TV series coming next year, but as for the film series, if there are to be more films, the film makers need to have a long discussion on what they are able to do with Kirk and co that it refreshing not just to the hardcore fans, but also to new audiences.
Final Rating: 5/10 – Average
Have you seen Star Trek Beyond? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments.
Next Time – Finding Dory