Star Trek Beyond is the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise following the original reboot (a phrase I thought would never say!) and it’s follow up Star Trek Into Darkness. It is produced by JJ Abrams and Roberto Orci and directed by Justin Lin. It has been written this time by Simon Pegg and Doug Yung.
To Boldly Go….
Star Trek Beyond tells the story of the Enterprise crew on their impromptu mission into an uncharted nebula to rescue another crew who have become shipwrecked on a planet hidden deep within. It really is a leap into the unknown for the good of the cause, and all of the main characters are dedicated to their positions and colleagues in order to complete this mission.
Upon the leap into the unknown nebula the Enterprise is attacked by a large unknown fleet of small ships who use themselves as projectiles to damage and destroy the Enterprise. It becomes apparent that the Enterprise’s weapons are useless against the swarming mass of enemy ships with phasers unable to work quickly enough and torpedoes having no effect, being unable to hit the much smaller objects. The attack scene is dynamic and the enemy are certainly in the ascendancy very quickly and the outcome is apparent from an early stage. As the crew jettison the dying Enterprise, a reluctant order from the Captain, they are taken by enemy forces and transported to an unknown location. on the planet below. The Enterprise, or what is left of it finally crashes onto the planet below, supposedly where the stranded crew are. With few crew members free and the majority of the others captured we enter the crux of this film on the planet surface.
The Unknown Planet
We find out that the leader of this group is a being called Krall, played by Idris Elba. He is mean and rough and very focused on his primary aim: A plan to use some powerful ancient weapon, disbanded eons previously due to its potency, to destroy the new Federation space station, and who knows what else. He has the captured crew members incarcerated under his control.
After the remaining escaped crew crash on planet we find that they are all spread out. Scotty is saved by Jaylah who then bargains his way to safety with her. She shows him to her ship which happens to be an old Federation Starship, with the promise that he will help her fix it and escape the planet once and for all as she has suffered the same fate as the Enterprise crew at the hands of Krall.
With Kirk and Chekov working together and Spock and Bones thrown together we have some pairing that don’t naturally happen in the history of the show. Their differing personalities bring a new element to the proceedings and moments of wonder as to how this is going to work out.
Eventually they all manage to get together with a little bit of Star Trek trickery, the Transporter. If at all in doubt, use techno-magic to solve it! Once the remaining crew are back together we find out that is was a ploy to get the ancient weapon that somehow the Federation had the last part of, which is now in the hands of their new enemy. Krall has been tapping into information about the Federation and their new space station, Yorktown. His plan is to release the weapon upon the space station, to exact revenge for his perceived losses. It is at this point that it is uncovered that Krall is indeed an ex-Starship Captain, abandoned on this hidden planet, never rescued, left to stew in his anger for a long time, brewing hate and contempt for the Federation and using the left over technology to extend his life at the expense of others.
There is always some need to provide fantastic action scenes, be that space fights or ground combat it will always be included as it is in the DNA of the new Star Trek films, plus having the director from Fast & Furious 6 on board it was inevitable. There are some good action scenes with Jaylah showing off her fighting style, Kirk gets his retro-on with his dare-devil bike riding scene. But by far the best scene, action or otherwise, by a long way is the destruction of the enemy fleet as they are attacking Yorktown. I don’t want to give too much away but the total package of action visuals and amazing music certainly raise this way above the rest of the movie.
The Crew Members
Captain James T Kirk, it appears, is having a moment of lost direction, not knowing where he is going or why he is continuing his exploration and extended journeys across space. A real moment of reflection. Meanwhile, Spock receives the terrible news that Ambassador Spock (who is actually himself from a different timeline. Confusing much?) has passed away, leading to Spock questioning his involvement in the Enterprise’s missions and whether he should be doing something more Vulcan-worthy seeing as he is one of the last of his kind. We also gravitate around Bones, who unlike the others is in fine shape, still coming out with the snarky comments, the put downs and his deadpan humour. These three characters take up the majority of the screen time and they play off well against each other. The Kirk-Spock axis is a deeply bonded, respectful relationship, both treading carefully to ensure the mutual respect isn’t diminished. Kirk-McCoy is a more grown up relationship, more entwined in the past, a couple of blokes who have been through a lot and are still breathing. The new pairing in this film is the Spock-McCoy relationship. They are thrust together and the pair do their best to try to understand each other, and their alien ways. Seemingly awkward at first, they grow in their understanding and respect and turn into a dynamic duo, at least in this film.
Simon Pegg’s influence on this film isn’t really apparent from the outset. Comparing with his previous writing credits (Hot-Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Paul) the difference is clear, this is a serious film with hints of humour, not the full blown comedy efforts of previous ventures. The one upside to his writing is the slightly larger and more important role played by his character, Montgomery Scott, which is understandable (Vanity, definitely my favourite sin!).
I had an inkling that Krall would be one of the previous Starship crew members once the previous Starship was unveiled, and especially when he was using the native tech to rejuvenate himself. The camera work around the old crew’s recording playing on the screen in the old Starship was too obvious for it not to be relevant to the plot. This then detracted from the actual reveal when it came, lessening the shock factor. Kirk, after this adventure, has found his way again, flying into space to explore new places. Spock has renewed drive for remaining with Kirk and the crew and not following Ambassador Spock’s footsteps. Jaylah is enrolled into Starfleet and no doubt will be an addition to latter sequels. And as for Bones, well, he’s still Bones. As it should be!
A decent film to watch, not too over-exciting or plot heavy. One simple idea done fairly well which left it a little light on story. Visually this film is quite impressive and some of the attack scenes are superb.