To boldly go where the Kelvin Universe (Geek-speak for the JJ rebooted universe) has never gone before . . . back to the old feel of Star Trek’s Original Series. That was the mission statement following Trekkies dislike of Star Trek Into Darkness. Were they right to moan? Has the movie pulled it off?
Well, they were a little out of order slating JJ Abrams for paying too much homage to the source material (ring any bells, Star Wars fans?). But to be fair, no film should tamper with The Wrath of Khan. Into Darkness doesn’t deserve the bad press, mind. With the latest movie, Simon Pegg stated they had heard the complaints, loud and clear, and had addressed them.
That can’t be argued with. Star Trek Beyond moves past any pretentiousness (not that I personally had a problem with any aspect of the rebooted universe) and feels very much like an updated episode of the Original Series. Even the bad guy, Krall (Idris Elba under a ton of prosthetics) has a base that could have been lifted from the sixties show.
That’s not to say it looked dated or old fashioned – it was nostalgic, in all the right ways. It understands the styling of the day, the attitudes, the simple approach to honest sci-fi.
It isn’t soft, either. In the opening battle scene, you realise the Enterprise crew are in serious peril. And you can’t see a way for them, their fear is felt in the cinema seat. It’s just the bright costumes, buddy-buddy atmosphere, and one-dimensional villains, are all so swinging sixties.
Teaming the crew off in mini-groups once they are abandoned, allows them to finally get the screen time required for character exploration.
The standout performers are Karl Urban as Bones and Zachary Quinto as Spock. The former has the voice of DeForest Kelley’s McCoy down to a tee. His grislily demeanour that is hiding a good heart comes through. Thankfully, this extended appearance should put to bed talk of him wanting to leave due to being under-utilised.
The new Spock receives word that Prime Spock, our beloved Leonard Nimoy, has passed away. Both on and off screen, it is a call to take on the mantle now. Honour the name and respect the man that came before.
Chris Pine plays James T. Kirk with a better mix of Shatner and his own take than he managed previous. There are signs he will fill the big shoes and do the role justice. Whereas Zoe Saldana, will go on to expand the part of Uhura in ways denied to the original actress, Nichelle Nichols.
Sofia Boutella, made a strong impression in a supporting role as a lonely survivor on the planet that aides the crew. It is possible she could return in future instalments. That would be a welcome addition to this version of Star Trek.
Ultimately, the last action scene aside, it relies on the crew rather than special effects to make its impact. Okay, Justin Lin does repeat that absurd, diving through the air, grab hands act, lifted straight from the saving Letty scene in Fast & Furious 6, but he shows there is more to him than cars. He is a Trekkie.
With that, we get classic Star Trek. Which means, while the curse of the odd-numbered films is avoided once again, it is wholesome fun but fails to leave a lasting impression.
It will be one of the best films of this summer . . . but you won’t remember it ten years from now.