Follow Us on Twitter

Star Trek Beyond - Review

Star Trek Beyond

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE 13th Star Trek film appeared to have run out of luck when JJ Abrams, the man behind the successful reboot of the franchise, jumped ship to rival series Star Wars. But by employing Simon Pegg, the joker in its pack, to co-serve on script-writing duties, Star Trek Beyond actually emerges as an entertaining, albeit play it safe entry into the saga.

Eschewing the darkness and subversion of Into Darkness, this opts for a more reverential approach to the classic Gene Roddenberry series that should comfortably keep the die-hard fans happy without really reaching out to anyone new.

The story is content to follow a tried and tested path as the crew of the Enterprise, once more led by Chris Pine’s Captain James T Kirk, get to lock horns with a lizard-like villain named Krall (Idris Elba), who is on a personal mission to wreak revenge upon the Federation.

Incoming director Justin Lin, of Fast & Furious 3, 5 and 6 fame, attempts to compensate for this by bringing his trademark zip to the action sequences. But his frenetic style often makes for blurred, confused action and the film is arguably at its weakest during the big moments, devoid of any genuine inspiration, emotional investment or peril.

If anything, it’s Pegg’s script that saves the day, even though his decision to give Scotty [the character he plays] more screen-time ultimately back-fires. Rather, by giving his ensemble cast plenty to work with during the quieter moments, there’s a winning sense of enjoyment that stems from the obvious camaraderie that exists between this cast.

Zachary Quinto, once again, emerges as the pick of the punch, effortlessly tapping into the Spock persona, while enjoying some highly amusing interplay between him and Karl Urban’s Bones as the two ‘adversaries’ are forced to work together to survive.

But there’s some nice soul-searching for Pine’s Kirk to consider early on, as well as a nicely observed tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy – not to mention a potent reminder of the under-stated talent of the similarly departed Anton Yelchin [as Chekov].

Sofia Boutella makes a welcome new addition to the cast as the hard-kicking ally Jaylah, while Elba exudes menace as the big villain despite being reduced to the side-lines for long periods.

It’s just a shame that the film didn’t take a few more risks, barring the now long-debated gay revelation involving John Cho’s Sulu character (which is also under-played) and some ear-catching old-skool hip hop interludes courtesy of Public Enemy and Beastie Boys.

If anything, a little more Enterprise was needed in the creative stakes to make this a more memorable experience. As things stand, it merely does what you’d expect.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs
UK Release Date: July 22, 201