Space. The final frontier. This is the 50th anniversary of the first ever voyage of the starship Enterprise. As always, her mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go…. into a pretty standard Star Trek adventure, really. I mean, it’s good, but it doesn’t exactly reach any heights that no man has gone before. There’s plenty to like about this movie, but there’s a benchmark it doesn’t quite hit.
Star Trek Beyond picks up 3 years after the events of 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness. If you recall, which you may or may not depending on how recently you saw Into Darkness, how good your memory is or how much you actually care to think about Star Trek continuity, Captain James T. Kirk and his crew had just departed on the famous 5 year exploration mission. Now 3 years into this mission, monotony has come to define Kirk’s life, but that soon ends when he picks up a distress call. The Enterprise is quickly commissioned to launch a rescue of a stranded crew on an unknown planet, where it is ambushed, scattering the crew and forcing our heroes to work to reunite and save their friends, their ship and the entire Federation from a sociopathic being named Krall.
With J.J. Abrams on the galaxy far far away team (get what I did there? Haha. I am very clever), he left Fast Five director Justin Lin at the comm, and the results are surprising. Rather than heading for the silly over-the-top action of the Fast & Furious franchise he’s associated with, Lin managed to create the first film of the rebooted series that felt like it could have been an Original Series episode.
As usual with this rebooted Star Trek series, the cast is incredibly good. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are known quantities as Kirk and Spock, while Karl Urban shines as Bones. Expanded roles in this film also benefit Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and the late Anton Yelchin as Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov respectively. New additions to the cast are also fantastic, with Sofia Boutella excellent as alien scavenger Jaylah, who helps the crew combat Krall. Boutella last appeared in Kingsman: The Secret Service, as a henchwoman with swords for legs, where she proved her prowess in action scenes, but here she proves she’s more than at the character based acting as well. As of course, there’s Idris Elba as Krall, who is typically fantastic.
I had this picture on file already, so I feel compelled to use it here
This film has some issues, which I’ll go into in a bit, but I’d like to start with the positives. When the crew is scattered after Krall’s ambush, the writers (Simon Pegg and Doug Jung) had the ability to create character pairings of whichever flavour they chose, and they picked the best option available with Spock and Bones. Forced to work together for almost the entire film, Spock’s calm Vulcan logic meshes about as well as you’d expect with Bones’ cynical sarcasm, and the results are hilarious. Having said that, the two also share one of the films’ most touching moments in the film’s tribute to the passing of original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy, which was tastefully done. Tribute was also made at the conclusion of the film to Yelchin, who passed away earlier this year.
The problem with this movie was that is was uneven. When it was good, it was very good, but it wasn’t always good. There were various moments where my mind began to wander and interest was lost, but the film would bring me back in with something else. Unfortunately, this unevenness precludes the film from being as good as the best Star Trek movies, like Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country or even the 2009 reboot. But it’s not bad. It’s on the next rung down, alongside Into Darkness, The Search for Spock and that one with the whales. And that’s OK. I like the one with the whales.
Pictured: A pretty decent film with whales in it. Starring Spock as The Karate Kid.
3.5/5 – I wanted more, but I’ll take what I got.
ADDITIONAL MOVIE NEWS:
- First news story of the week concerns Star Trek! I know we’ve all been hanging out to hear about Star Trek, I’ve hardly talked about it all blog. Anyway, producer J.J. Abrams announced this week that the 4th Star Trek movie is a certainty, with the film to feature time-travel, allowing Kirk to meet his father, George Kirk, who was killed at the beginning of the first reboot. This is a pretty sensible decision by the studio, as George Kirk was originally portrayed by Chris Hemsworth when he was still “that guy from Home and Away“. Now that he’s Thor, Hemsworth is hot property, and he’ll make a great addition to the Star Trek film I’m sure.
Also had this picture on file, so enjoy
- If you missed it, this past weekend was San Diego Comic-Con, and a number of big news reports broke. Trailers were released for Wonder Woman, The Justice League, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Kong: Skull Island, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, The LEGO Batman Movie and Doctor Strange. Marvel confirmed that recent Oscar winner Brie Larson would portray Captain Marvel in an upcoming movie, and also revealed that Sylvester Stallone will join Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Despite all of these goodies, the Internet still complained because they couldn’t see the Spider-Man footage, and they still don’t have their Rogue One trailer from last week.
- Do you like connected universes? Of course you do, because that’s all Hollywood is ever going to give you. With spin-offs and cross-overs creating universes around Marvel, DC, X-Men, Universal Classic Monsters, King Kong and Godzilla, Hanna-Barbera cartoons, The Transformers, The Fast & The Furious, Star Wars, Men In Black/21 Jump Street and the Novels By Robert Ludlum Not Called Bourne, now we have another one – Indiana Jones. Steven Spielberg’s classic adventure franchise is reportedly set to have countless spin-offs because we all had a cry that no-one but Harrison Ford can play Indy, but Disney paid billions of dollars for the rights. So get ready for Short Round: The Movie, coming to a post-apocalyptic theatre near you.
I have a baaaad feeling about this…. wait, wrong franchise
- If you are one of the people who absolutely hated the idea of the Ghostbusters reboot, then it’s not your lucky day. Sony have confirmed that a sequel to the recent film is a “definite”, despite the film underperforming at the box office. So, get ready to continue busting ghosts, but keep in mind that this is the same company that said we are “definitely” getting The Amazing Spider-Man 3 immediately before handing the rights to the character back to Marvel Studios
- Speaking of sequels that apparently everyone wants, DreamWorks Animation is under new management, and the first order of business has been to announce Shrek 5. The Shrek franchise recently lost a crown after Shrek 2 fell to 2nd place in the all-time domestic box office (animated films) to Pixar’s Finding Dory. Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After were considered disappointments, but the franchise is still DreamWork’s most profitable, and the studio is giving themselves plenty of practice to get their filmmaking back on track with promising titles such as The Croods 2, The Boss Baby and Captain Underpants still under production.
Provided that DreamWorks doesn’t go bust due to their dumb decisions, Shrek 5 will hit theatres in 2019, where it will be systematically ignored because The Incredibles II is out dammit!