We both really enjoyed the last two Star Trek films, and the boys didn’t really mind missing this one. So we took the opportunity for a date night, and went along on the opening night at our local Cineworld cinema. I try to avoid reading reviews before I go to see a film if possible, because I really want to make up my own mind. I’d seen a few headlines though, and they were giving me a really mixed impression of the film. People either seemed to really enjoy it or really hate it – I even spotted the odd 3/10 review!
So as usual I’m going to try and avoid any huge spoilers in this review, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis of the film. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are three years into their five year mission (to boldly go…) and have headed to Starbase Yorktown to restock supplies. As an SOS message comes in, the crew head off into a nebula on an emergency rescue mission. You just know that things are going to go badly wrong as soon as they mention that they’ll lose contact with Yorktown…
Sure enough, it turns out to be a trap and a swarm of alien ships soon ambush the Enterprise. Their leader Krall (Idris Elba) boards the ship in search of an artefact which is stored in the ship’s archives. Eventually the crew are forced to evacuate the ship as it breaks up and crashes into the alien planet below. The main team are split up during their descent, which all ends up a little awkward to say the least. The rest of the film revolves around saving the crew, getting them all off the planet, and stopping Krall from unleashing a deadly weapon on the Starbase.
The film isn’t perfect, but it basically feels like an extended length episode of the original series. There’s plenty of action and special effects, touches of humour, and a crowd-pleasing resolution to the story line. The casting of the main crew in these re-boot films has been fantastic. Each of the actors and actresses is an excellent fit for their character.
And on that note, this film does have some sad undertones as well. Leonard Nimoy died last year, and of course he made an appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness as Spock Prime. Spock learns of Ambassador Spock’s death near the beginning of Star Trek Beyond, and there is also a brief cameo at the end of the film.
The other loss came after the film’s completion, when Anton Yelchin (Chekov) died in a car accident at his home. The film’s credits included a tribute to Yelchin, which I thought was a nice touch. He’ll be very sadly missed in the next film.
Some of the criticism of the film that I have seen has revolved around the lack of a decent baddie. I agree that the role of Krall seriously wastes a very talented actor in Idris Elba. He is hidden behind layers of makeup, prosthetics and CGI, and the script could have done much more to explain Krall’s origins and motives. A bit of a wasted opportunity in my opinion.
But I loved Jaylah, the alien who Scotty meets and who helps to rescue the Enterprise’s crew. She was a little bit more Star Wars than Star Trek in appearance, but I loved the character. Between Jaylah, Uhura and Commodore Paris, Star Trek Beyond has a few strong female characters. Could we have a few more like this next time please!
Oh and one more thing. You might have seen some controversy over the fact that Sulu is ‘outed’ in Star Trek Beyond. From some of the comments I’d seen on the internet, I almost thought that he was going to burst into a rendition of ‘I Am What I Am’ on the bridge of the Enterprise. In reality, there was a brief shot of Sulu reunited with his partner in a much bigger ensemble scene. I was left wondering what the fuss on the internet was about anyway? That far in the future, when there are inter-species relationships, a gay relationship surely wouldn’t even raise Kirk’s eyebrow? As co-writer Simon Pegg explained, if one of the new characters in the film was gay, they would immediately be flagged as ‘the gay character’. This felt much more natural.
So did I love Star Trek Beyond, or hate it?
Actually I really enjoyed it. If you are a fan of the original series, I think that it stays true enough to the show’s origins to keep you satisfied. If you are looking for a fun couple of hours at the cinema, there is enough in this film to keep you entertained. I can’t wait for the next installment! 8/10