After they receive a cryptic distress call from within a distant nebula, the Enterprise and its crew set out to investigate. But what awaits them is alien despot Krall (Idris Elba) and his limitless army, who after destroying their ship leaves them stranded on a mysterious alien world. Alone and outnumbered, James Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew must rally all of their inner strength and ingenuity to get back to Starfleet and stop Krall from realising his plan to destroy the federation.
Following in the path of 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, director and lifelong Trek fan Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) has stepped up to take the Enterprise and its crew in a bold new direction. Where previously Abrams set the majority of his story within the shiny chrome interior of the Enterprise, Lin literally does away with the grand vessel and throws his characters into the unknown of a strange new alien world. It’s a plot device that he picks up directly from the original series, and which gives this film a new sense of direction and energy. This ‘escape and evasion’ storytelling has a real nostalgic feel to it, and is a grand way to keep audiences guessing as the action picks up speed.
Lin also pulls back the focus of the movie from the usual trinity of Kirk (Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Uhora (Zoe Saldana), and showcases more action from the perspective of its supporting cast including Simon Pegg’s Montgomery Scott and Karl Urban’s Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. This greater character canvas results in a deeper and more involved story for audiences, as well as some unexpected character moments, especially from Urban who steals the movie with his pithy one-liners. Newcomer Sofia Boutella is a great new addition to the franchise and conveys an alien rock chick charisma as Jaylah, a mysterious alien with a connection to Krall, and whose ‘bad girl’ antics make her a much-needed ally to the crew of the Enterprise in this their most desperate hour.
A movie is nothing without its bad guy though and Star Trek Beyond gets a worthy one with Idris Elba’s alien warlord Krall. This blue-skinned, reptilian beast is the walking embodiment of hate and vengeance, and he certainly gives Kirk a run for his money. Idris really disappears into this vindictive character through the use of some amazing prosthetics which add to the character’s menace. It’s a different side of Elba than we’ve seen before, and after this I’m thoroughly keen to see him embrace his villainous side in further roles.
Audiences familiar with Star Trek will also be aware that the Trek family suffered some absolutely heartbreaking tragedies recently with the passing of Trek legend Leonard Nimoy and the shocking sudden death of young star Anton Yelchin. While both of these losses were heavy blows for the cast and crew they do their utmost to honour them in the most sincere and loving way. Yelchin is absolutely animated on screen as plucky young comms officer Chekov, and from all accounts you’re certain that he had a ball with this role, which like the other supporting characters, gave him a wealth of screen time, and some genuinely cool moments. To both of these amazing performers, Star Trek Beyond is a fitting tribute and a wonderful representation of their characters.
If you’re looking for a blockbuster rush Star Trek Beyond has it all. So pull up a seat, grab your popcorn and prepare for warp speed.
Image source: Paramount Pictures