Style over sub­stance

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

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.

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