29 July - 4 August 2016 #819

Star Trek Beyond

This film is for the fans, the ones who miss that universe where the bold break through the final frontier of space
Sophia Pande

For someone who grew up watching all of the Star Trek originals, spin-offs, and now the reboot with an origin story that started yet another lucrative franchise in 2009, this third instalment of the latest cycle of films is perhaps the most disappointing so far, iterating as a stock sci-fi action film that blurs by, with hardly any of the usually memorable moments that make you grin even a few days later.

Star Trek is beloved for the tightness of the characters and the very real camaraderie between the crew members of the starship “Enterprise”, who consist of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine); Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto); Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) aka “Bones”, the ship’s doctor; Lieutenant Uhura (Zoe Saldana); Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg) or “Scottie”; Mr. Sulu (John Cho) the helmsman; and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) the ship’s navigator.

Having set up the relationships and developed the characters over the previous two films – Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) – Star Trek Beyond bets on a classic separation story: the Enterprise is tricked into answering a distress call, attacked by a malevolent enemy, Krall (Idris Elba), and forced to crash-land on Altamid, a planet within the hard-to-reach nebula to which the starship had been falsely lured.

Scattered over the surface of the planet after being forced to eject from the plummeting ship, with their beloved Enterprise in pieces, the majority of the shaken crew are held hostage by the crazed Krall who wants to destroy the Federation, for reasons that I cannot disclose here.

Of course our main characters fortuitously land out of Krall’s clutches, and set about trying to rescue everyone in what makes up the better chunk of the film. The banter between Spock and the doctor, and Kirk and Chekov, as they wander about on Altamid reigns as the funniest, most engrossing parts of the film. Scottie too does not disappoint as he sets out to try to find his friends, instead bumping into the fierce but lovely Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an alien whose family has been killed by Krall. She takes him under her wing, adorably calling him Montgomery Scottie by a comedy of errors that illustrates what is largely missing in this overly action-packed film.

This review is purposely fully vague on exact details, partly to stay away from spoilers, but mainly because the narrative is based on very classical tropes that are deathly boring to both viewer and reviewer.

This film is for the fans, the ones who miss that universe where the bold break through the final frontier of space. It is a shame the makers are not as courageous when it comes to writing a truly exciting script worthy of these awesome adventurers.

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