We were approached by Dom, a friend of SDGS, offering to review Star Trek Beyond and we are delighted to share the article written by him and edited by us.
‘Star Trek Beyond’ is the third instalment in this rebooted series and follows up on the very impressive series opener and the divisive sequel. The main changes to the previous two instalments is the director, with JJ Abrams moving to the Star Wars franchise and being replaced by Justin Lin of ‘Fast and Furious’ fame. Personally, I was more excited by the fact that Doug Jung and Simon Pegg have moved into screenwriter duties, as I am a huge fan of the latter. The cast has remained largely the same albeit with the addition of Sofia Boutella as the mysterious Jaylah, and Idris Elba as the villainous Krall.
The film follows up on ‘Into Darkness’ with the Enterprise halfway through the five-year mission on which it embarked at the close of the last film. The crew find themselves attacked by a mysterious and sinister force, and have to abandon ship. Stranded on an unknown planet with seemingly an impossible task of survival, the crew find themselves on their hardest mission yet.
As a massive Star Wars fan, Trek has, to me, always played second fiddle, but I still have huge admiration for what the series has done in popular culture. The original series was well ahead of its time with ideas of diversity; for instance, it showed the desire for a world where Americans, Russians, Asians and even Vulcans stood side by side. In today’s world we need reminders of those core principles of diplomacy, rather than aggression, and the need to create a multi-cultural world built on unity and diversity in place of division and mistrust. This is the reason why I will always be glad when there is a new Star Trek project in the works and why, essentially, we need Star Trek.
The positive of the film is that it maintains this message of the need for unity and pursuit of peace even with those who seem to be our enemies. Without wanting to give too much away on Idris Elba’s Krall character, he is an individual out of time and disillusioned with Starfleet’s unity mission. The character spends the majority of the film preaching about how conflict and struggle are what makes the universe and the individuals within it a stronger and better place.
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” (G K Chesterton)
This quote, in my mind, shows the key lesson to be learnt from the film. Krall is defined by his hatred of others; this is his flaw and can ultimately be compared to many modern-day figures who are driven by a mistrust or hatred of others. Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise on the other hand, want to protect the ideologies of diplomacy and peace and this ideal is something the film wants the audience to strive for.
What I perhaps enjoyed the most from the film is how both Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are going through a mid-life crisis. Kirk feels like he has passed his peak and there is little more for him to do after seeing almost everything in deep space, whilst Spock has a very personal reminder of his own mortality. Both of these characters are struggling to find any more purpose within Starfleet and seem keen for drastic change in their lives. This brought out great performances from Pine and Quinto, as they both get to show real character development from the first two films, though the conclusion to Spock’s arc in the movie and his relationship with Uhura did feel a little rushed.
This goes for the rest of the cast as well. Karl Urban is a particular highlight as Bones and always raises a smile while he is on screen; the decision to pair him with Quinto’s Spock was a wise one. There are also some great spectacles to be had during the film, including the attack on the Enterprise standing out during the early stages. However, it did feel as if the film sometimes played a bit safe and might struggle to stand out too much in a crowded marketplace. I wanted the film to show more innovation and do something more than it did at times, rather than simply to replicate the look and feel of classic Star Trek. Without wanting to give any spoilers, there are also a few moments that, although they are reminiscent of the recent Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy films,it doesn’t quite match them. For instance, retro music plays a key part in the film’s final act, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy, but this has been done before in a far funnier and more effective way than here.
In addition, much of the film feels heavily signposted. For instance, we are introduced early on to ‘Yorktown’ – effectively a second Earth in a snow globe in deep space, containing some of the crew’s loved ones – and its quite clear what purpose this will play later on in the film.
Overall, I would recommend the film as solid popcorn entertainment. If you enjoyed the previous two instalments, then you will find that the cast is still on great form and these characters are developed to a very satisfactory extent. Furthermore, it does contain a strong message of the need to embrace unity, which I will always welcome in modern cinema. Nevertheless, I don’t think that this film will be remembered for very long, due to a lack of innovation and I did feel that it struggled at times to maintain the excitement and awe that was the previous two films projected.
1-Captain America Civil War 4.6/5
2-High Rise 4.5/5
3-The Nice Guys 4.1/5
5-Star Trek Beyond 3.6/5
6-The Hateful Eight 3.5/5
7-Hail Caesar 2.9/5
8-Central Intelligence 2.7/5
9-Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice 2.4/5
11-Dad’s Army 2/5