← Back to Reviews

Star Trek Beyond

(Imported from Letterboxd)

Star Trek Beyond

Refreshing, exciting, joyous, and filled with a glee that the franchise hasn't had in a while, Star Trek Beyond is a triumphant celebration of 50 years of Trek.

Taking place during the Enterprise's 5-year-mission, Beyond shows a tired and overworked Kirk, sombrely attempting to end his troubled career early. Docking at the newest and farthest Federation space-station, the crew prepare to go on a rescue mission to the furthest reaches of the frontier.

Justin Lin takes the helm from J.J. Abrams flawlessly, gone are the lens flares, but retained is the rocketing pace and fluent direction. Instantly we are taken back to the characters we loved from 2009's Star Trek with a touch of The Original Series in for good measure. Into Darkness almost seems like a troublesome dream you had a few years back once the humorous banter and action begins to take place.

The film goes for a much smaller scale than previous films in the new series. The mission is straight out of an episode of The Next Generation and, unlike the previous adventure, Beyond goes for a more original approach rather then a remake of a preexisting story. Thematically it's heaven, we get a wonderful tribute to Leonard Nemoy that actually gives the film an extra layer. We get a nice little sub-plot about unity and family. Pine gives us a more nuanced performance, and successfully sells the wrap-up of a minor plot given to us in 2009's Star Trek.

There are a fair few flaws. Idris Elba's Krall is intimidating and a great use of practical make-up, however, he falls quite flat. Not dissimilar to 09's Nero, the villain struggles to shine alongside the stellar crew of the Enterprise. His ultimate revelation and twist comes way too late during the climax, and despite his story really giving Kirk's an extra punch, it can't help but stick out like a Shatner in a Tribble-stack. In addition, Justin Lin sometimes struggles to shoot action in the same vein as Abrams. The camera swerves and swoops, but struggles to capture some of the wonderfully choreographed set pieces.

However, to Elba's Krall there is a Boutella's Jaylah. To Lin's troublesome fistfights, is a cheer-worthy character moment. The new allies and supports are wonderful, energetic and fast paced. The climax celebrates our heroes in ways that the previous films just couldn't. The film just feels like a breath of fresh air.

It's not perfect, and far from the best Star Trek, but Beyond is a celebration of the series and a genuinely fun experience. It's not exceptionally heavy, but it is light popcorn fun with a lot of emotion and character to satisfy Star Trek fans and general audiences alike. We get lovely send-offs to some of the actors we've lost, and subtle nods to the franchise's long past (a lot of it is blink-and-you-miss-it compared to the 'fan service' from Into Darkness). Star Trek Beyond is a great time that should hopefully appeal to many, and it certainly appealed to me.

Bring on that Bryan Fuller series, and live long, and prosper.