Star Trek Beyond is the third in the series of the rebooted Star Trek films, the first of the reboots not to be directed by the brilliant J. J. Abrams – directed instead by Justin Lin. I’ll be honest and say that before I went to see it I was a little bit apprehensive about how it would turn out, because I was disappointed by the second one in the series, Star Trek Into Darkness. As with the first of the reboots, simply titled Star Trek, it had a decent script and great acting, but it simply didn’t reach anywhere near the heights (and also the humour) of the previous film.
However, by the time the credits rolled my doubts had been completely flattened. Though still not quite as good as the first in the series, it certainly gave it a run for its money at times.
The film starts off with the USS Enterprise and its crew three years into their five year long exploration of space. The captain of the ship, James T. Kirk, is beginning to wonder whether there’s any point to the mission that they are on because, since space is infinite, there will always be more space to explore. The final frontier, he realises, is completely frontier-less.
In tandem with this, it is also clear that he’s been struggling with the psychological strain of being in deep space with no higher source of authority to rely upon other than himself when things get tough. As one of Starfleet’s admirals tells Kirk: “It’s easy to get lost in the vastness of space. There’s only yourself, your ship, you’re crew.” And as the film progresses, we soon get to see what that sort of pressure can result in.
Then, while taking a break at a huge federation space station so as to replenish their supplies, the crew is alerted to a ship that has been crippled after an attack by one of the ship’s surviving crew members.
But what they think is going to be a simple rescue mission is anything but and what they find when they cross the nebula results in some of the most breath-taking action scenes ever seen in a sci-fi film. Justin Lin is apparently known for his love of spectacle and he delivers this by the bucket load in the first part of the film, which is then checked and raised in the second.
However, the visuals aren’t the only thing that makes the film. The script was co-written by the comic actor and writer Simon Pegg and it shows, because Star Trek Beyond arguably contains even more laugh out loud moments than the first of the series. The bickering between the ever-logical Spock and the ever-grumbling Bones is particularly side-splitting, with Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban constantly competing for the audience’s attention.
Not that the film is without its serious moments. The villain, played by Idris Elba, we come to realise has a deeper motive for wanting to take down the Enterprise and pose a threat to the Federation than first thought.
Overall, I came out of the cinema thinking that while it didn’t quite reach the soring heights of the first of the reboots, it was definitely an improvement on Into Darkness and a film well worth watching. The perfect summer action blockbuster.
Image: Eva Rinaldi [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons