'Star Trek Beyond' - Movie Review

Updated: Aug 03, 2016, 09:53 IST | Johnson Thomas |

'Star Trek Beyond' is basically pre-programmed to keep the fans whetted. With the climactic sequence pumping up the action and destruction, you are quite guaranteed a swell experience. The ensemble cast also manage a smooth enough delivery towards a wholesome engagement

'Star Trek Beyond'
U/A; Sci-fi, Action
Director: Justin Lin
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, John Cho, Idris Elba
Rating: 3/5

This one is basically pre-programmed to keep the fans whetted. Notwithstanding their previous follies and misadventures (which eventually come good) in the unknown space, the Starship Enterprise and her crew set out on another deep space mission.

The Star Trek franchise was lying dormant for a long time before it was propelled alive by J.J. Abrams 2009 origin Story ‘Star Trek’ but the subsequent line-up ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ just did not have the required energy or intriguing dynamics to retain interest.

Watch the trailer of 'Star Trek Beyond'

The franchise now appears to have gotten into episodic mode. This is Chris Pine’s third outing as Captain James Tiberius Kirk and there’s already a sense of ennui (both within and without), in the experience. The movie begins with Captain Kirk (originated by William Shatner on TV as well as in the earlier films –now ably replaced by Chris Pine) musing in his Captain’s log as his birthday approaches and then cuts to a event where the Captain finds himself fighting off alien gremlin like creatures before being teleported back into the ship. It’s probably a symbolic assimilation of the Captain’s state-of-mind which he verbalizes in his log. The thrill of adventure appears to have palled and the newness of the experience has been wearing thin. There’s a hint that an in-station admiral’s position is being vacated for him to step into. So this could well be his last trip into the unbeknownst.

This outing appears to put nostalgia upfront by paying tribute to legendary Vulcan Leonard Nemoy and recently deceased (in an accident) young actor Anton Yelchin who plays Chekov in the film. This is in fact amongst Anton’s last roles before his untimely death. So those two tributes are guaranteed to bring on some emotional affect. The script by Simon Pegg (who also plays engineer Montgomery Scott) and Doug Jung (who shows us his face as Sulu’s gay partner) reaffirms the traditional ideals of Utopianism propounded by the Federation. The 1960s vision continues to ring true while post-modern inter-personal developments have been written in without much of a song and dance heralding it. The gay leanings ascribed to Sulu (John Cho) are in fact germane to the liberal spirit and tone of the series.

There’s not much variation in theme and tone here. It’s a big budget action adventure existing within sci-fi frames and as such goes into destructive mode before righting the imbalance brought on by a revenge seeking Krall (Idris Elba), a fearsome alien eager to poach an ‘ancient death machine’ artifact from under the captain’s nose. But that’s just a knuckle warmer. There’s more intrigue and subterfuge to come.

Krall does not believe that unity gives strength. So his attack on Star ship Enterprise just when Kirk and Spock (Zachary Quinto), are in the midst of introspective crises and career shifts, bears fruit. Kirk is approaching a coming of age that will make him older than his father lived to be while Spock is compelled, despite his feelings for Uhura (Zoe Saldana), to return to his people. Both those concerns get dashed in the force of Krall’s vicious attack that leaves the Enterprise crew stranded without a vessel on the rocky desert terrain of Altamid, an inhospitable planet surrounded by an unstable nebula.

The ensuing realignment also involves a suspicious alien (Lydia Wilson), Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg) and new entrant Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), a zebra-faced alien also stranded on the planet and living in an abandoned Federation ship.

With the climactic sequence pumping up the action and destruction, you are quite guaranteed a swell experience – especially since it’s quite bloodless and catering largely to boyish fantasies. James Lin (returned from helming the ‘Fast and Furious’ series) makes his entry into the sci-fi realm heart-felt. His action is quite vigorous and entertaining and keeps you engrossed despite the science of it being a little suspect. The ensemble cast also manage a smooth enough delivery towards a wholesome engagement!

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