Style over substance
STAR TREK BEYOND (M)
Director: Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella. Verdict: Still living long … and prospering THE 13th Star Trek movie is not the best ever churned out by the longrunning sci-fi franchise.
However, it is certainly the bestlooking. The visuals that depict the latest deep-space exploits of Captain James T. Kirk and his loyal Starfleet crew are often nothing short of awe-inspiring.
While Star Trek Beyond delivers as a pure, pulse-raising spectacle, it is also none too shabby as a rollicking adventure yarn.
Let’s barrel right past the early, scene-setting stuff in Star Trek Beyond, which isn’t of much note aside from flagging that Kirk (Chris Pine) is considering leaving the Enterprise for a high-ranking desk job back on Earth.
The movie hits a winning warp speed once the action switches to the far-flung locale of Altamid, an inhospitable (but relatively inhabitable) planet shrouded on all sides by a highly unstable nebula system.
Speaking of highly unstable, it’s a surprise attack by the vicious warrior Krall (Idris Elba) that leaves the Enterprise all but destroyed. Comms are down and its surviving crew are dispersed across a wide area of the planet.
Kirk and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) are crossing a wilderness region on foot in the company of a doublecrossing alien, Kalara (Lydia Wilson).
Bones (Karl Urban) and a seriously incapacitated Spock (Zachary Quinto) are on a similarly aimless trek across uncharted territory, only with better banter.
Tech wiz Scotty (Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote the lively script) is faring best of the lost crew, having joined forces with a resourceful alien warrior Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) who knows the whereabouts of another stricken Starfleet craft.
As for Uhuru (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Chu), they are being held captive by Krall, who spends most of his time on Altamid hunting for a mystical doodad that will help him wreak a horrible final revenge on the Federation.
With the lengthy middle act of Star Trek Beyond opening up on multiple fronts, director Justin Lin (a veteran of four Fast & Furious instalments) doesn’t have to do much more to keep boredom at bay than swiftly cross from one grouping of stranded Enterprisers to another.
Of course, it helps no end that Lin has the luxury of several exciting setpiece action sequences to fall back on
That’s is not to say Beyond is without plot holes that remain unsatisfactorily unfilled. Furthermore, Elba’s work as Krall doesn’t quite register with the menacing impact intended.
Nevertheless, this alwaysentertaining production keeps the Star Trek experience alive and alert at a juncture in the franchise’s history where it might have coasted along on familiar former glories.