Sunday, July 24, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

Year: 2016
Director: Justin Lin
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella

Plot: The Enterprise answers a distress call and mounts a rescue attempt, only to realize too late that it's a trap set by Krall, who wants an artifact in Kirk's possession. As the Enterprise is destroyed, the crew is trapped on a planet, where they must team up with an alien named Jaylah to stop Krall from destroying a nearby Starbase.

Review: J.J. Abrams, who directed the first two Star Trek reboot films, steps down so that he can helm The Force Awakens, and in his place is Justin Lin from the Fast & Furious films. As a result, the film takes on a new method of fun and adventure, but doesn't always hit its target.

The biggest difference is watching the Enterprise crew lose the ship in the first third of the film and spend the second third trying to survive on the planet they crash landed. The downside is watching the film drag a bit as Kirk and company attempt to gather themselves and mount an offensive counter while pondering their future and existence, but the upside is allowing the separated crew an opportunity to get more screen time, at least for some of them. In this case, the late Anton Yelchin's Chekov gets more time than he ever did in the first two films, assisting Kirk in technical and strategic matters. The best part is seeing Karl Urban's McCoy and Zachary Quinto's Spock exchanging humorous banter while the latter is nursing a serious injury.

The film starts to pick up though, when the crew finally reunite alongside Jaylah and plan a rescue attempt as well as an escape from the planet. This leads to the final third where the crew battle Krall as he attacks Starbase Yorktown.

The somewhat minor pacing problem aside, Beyond also feels less of a Star Trek film than the first two, though Trekkies have been criticising about Abrams' less than pure approach for years now. Lin also tries to inject some drama into his film, getting Kirk to think of his future and Spock to consider taking over from his alternate predecessor's role after his passing (acknowledging Leonard Nimoy's recent death), but it doesn't work quite as well as the previous films.

But despite all that, the film still manages to entertain throughout most of its runtime, with the cast slipping into their roles like they never left. Sofia Boutella makes an interesting addition as Jaylah, while Idris Elba is solid as the villain Krall, though he's more like Nero than Khan here.

Overall, Star Trek Beyond is an entertaining adventure, though it falls slightly short if compared to the first two films. (7/10)  

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