Star Trek Beyond (film review by Frank Ochieng)

Some diehard ‘Star Trek’ fans may not necessarily feel that the Justin Lin-directed third installment of this Science Fiction/space saga film franchise ‘boldly goes where no man has gone before’ creatively. Surprisingly, Lin (director of two ‘Fast & Furious’ flicks) shows some engaging and intriguing heft in ‘Star Trek Beyond’ as the adventurous exploits of the USS Enterprise crew are likely to stir the collective pot where the nostalgic sentiments of the ‘Star Trek’ brand from yesteryear bridges the gap to the current cinematic explosiveness of modern-day Captain Kirk and company. Although it is extremely difficult to immediately dismiss filmmaker J.J. Abrams’ resourceful fingerprints concerning the imaginative ‘Star Trek’ (2009) and the thoroughly enjoyable ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ (2013), he graciously steps aside to allow Lin’s energising directorial vision to further explore Trek mythology on the big screen.


Essentially, ‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a vibrant cosmic canvas that is expansive in its boundaries of exploration. Visually arresting, well-paced and armed with compelling storytelling and a healthy dosage of curiosity and mystery, Lin manages to stay true to the traditional Trek-oriented universe by incorporating rousing special effects and offering a galactic grandeur of planetary peculiarities and exotic alien races to stimulate the exquisite narrative. Screenwriters Doug Jung and Simon Pegg (‘Star Trek’s on-screen character Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott) incorporate an eye-opening mixture of dramatic edginess, off-the-cuff humour and the cohesive rapport among the cast-mates that have inherited the iconic ‘Star Trek’ personalities and made these familiar faces from the classic 60s TV show and previous non-reboot films a revelation in the millennium age of blockbuster SF action adventure.

The plot channels in a sense of challenging malaise for the USS Enterprise’s top officers in Captain Kirk déjà vu space journeys aboard the spacecraft is the questionable and powerful device that Kirk and his crew are babysitting. This powerful tool of destruction is capable of destroying humanity as we know it. In particular, the opportunistic Krall (Idris Elba) is the lizard-looking culprit determined to get his diabolical hands on the corrosive contraption. Naturally, Krall and his menacing minions must subdue Kirk and his crew to achieve success in having this ominous object in his deadly grasp. Krall’s willingness to cripple the USS Enterprise proved to be an ambitious mission fully accomplished. For Kirk and his group, the results were disheartening as Krall’s forceful attacks rendered the ship disabled as it crashed on the desolate planet of Altamid. Thus, Kirk and his charges are stranded on his rocky haven with no hope in sight. The harsh reality for the vulnerable USS Enterprise visitors, besides being divided and scattered in all directions on this problematic planet, involved getting into survival mode as the hostile reptilian creatures surrounded them at will.

The aforementioned split of Kirk and his exposed cohorts called for a series of various crisis carried on at different, chaotic spots. Kirk and Russian crew member Pavel Chekov (played by the late Anton Yelchin) were primarily tasked with trying to rescue their colleagues from the claws of Krall and his cronies. Elsewhere, Dr. Bones (Karl Urban) tries to patch up the injured Spock following the aftermath of the ship’s wrecking. Pegg’s Scotty and womanly warrior in alien Jayla (Sofia Boutella) make the valiant effort in trying to reach Kirk in the middle of total ribaldry.

All hands on deck as the USS Enterprise sets its rickety course in Justin Lin's entertaining reboot STAR TREK BEYOND
All hands on deck as the USS Enterprise sets its rickety course in Justin Lin’s entertaining reboot STAR TREK BEYOND

‘Star Trek Beyond’ has stylised flash and Lin ensures that his pulsating production stays faithful to the Trek legacy. Sure, ‘Beyond’ is not anything innovative or wildly distinctive in comparison to the other earlier entries but it still thrives where it counts in the spectacle of space-aged escapism. The cast is solid as the players, Pine, Quinto, Pegg, Urban, Yelchin as well as Zoe Saldana’s Uhura and John Cho’s Sulu–all demonstrate a suspenseful unity on screen and give the audience an indescribable excitement in this latest chapter that far from disappoints. Elba’s Krall is robustly villainous in physicality and attitude and the alien race featured are interestingly hypnotic in creepiness. Lin, in the same vein as Abrams, is not shy about gift-wrapping his ‘Star Trek’ edition in boisterous, sweeping helpings of scope and whimsy.

Overall, this kinetic outing of ‘Beyond’ practically guarantees that the rebooted ‘Star Trek’ phenomenon will not be experiencing its final frontier any time soon.

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Paramount Pictures

2 hrs.

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella

Directed by: Justin Lin

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Genre: Science Fiction/Space and Fantasy Saga/Action and Adventure

Critic’s rating: *** stars (out of 4 stars)

(c) Frank Ochieng 2016




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