Star Trek Beyond
starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, John Cho and Idris Elba
written by Simon Pegg and Doug Lung
directed by Justin Lin
The Star Ship Enterprise is three years into its five-year mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, to explore strange new worlds, to boldly go where no one has gone before. In the far reaches of mapped space the Enterprise and its crew arrive at the Federation Starbase Yorktown. They are in much need of rest and recreation, and the ship needs servicing. But on short notice they are called back out on a rescue mission in uncharted space. Like every Star Trek story Captain Kirk engages with a super villain who could easily destroy his ship, suffers a lot of damage, but then prevails through a combination of luck, guts, human cleverness, determination and the loyalty of his crew. Every Star Trek movie feels like an extended version of any one of the original 1960s TV shows, only jazzed up with modern, CG pyrotechnics. Frankly, I think it’s a little tedious.
In this case the villain is a fearsome warrior named Krall. But it turns out that Krall is actually a former Star Fleet officer from two centuries before when the Federation was in its infancy. He miraculously survived two centuries by using alien technology he discovered on the planet where his ship crashed. He then becomes obsessed with taking revenge on the Federation that he thinks betrayed and abandoned him. Krall represents one of the weakest parts of the plot. Captain Kirk is led to Krall’s wrecked, 200-year-old Federation ship, manages to repair it to flying condition … and all this time Krall forgot where his old shipwreck was? The story gets even more ridiculous. 2-hours of CG bling do not compensate for a lousy story, I think.
Krall uses indestructible destroyer drones to maul his foes. They swarm like locusts. They’re unstoppable. There are way too many to be subdued by the Enterprise’s weapons systems. Kind of cool in a way, but it seems unlikely that the Enterprise could have survived their attack long enough even to crash land on a planet.
Individual Star Trek characters get a lot more individual attention in this movie: Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock interacting together for extended periods; the same for Captain Kirk and Ensign Chekov; Mr. Scott alone; Mr. Sulu on his own without the rest of the command staff; Mr. Spock and his relationship with Lt. Uhura. I appreciated that.
The movie ends with a new Enterprise being assembled at the Yorktown space station. Or is it the destroyed old Enterprise being repaired? No, it has to be a new one. The crew, who started the film worn out by their extended mission now feels renewed and energized to continue exploring the universe in future movies.