Star Trek Beyond, the third of the new, younger-ized cinematic entries in the venerable sci-fi franchise, feels a lot like one of those after-the-pilot episodes of a TV show: now that it’s got your attention with a flashy introduction, it’s going to expend just a little less energy trying to be that good every week.
Co-written by Simon Pegg (who plays engineer Scotty), it features an alien bad guy named Krall (Idris Elba), who wrecks the Enterprise and takes most of its crew hostage in an attempt to locate an ancient device that will help him and his people conquer the galaxy. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his people, naturally, try their best to stop him.
J.J. Abrams, who oversaw the first two reboots, left to revive Star Wars, taking his sleek ‘n’ shiny, lens-flare-filled style with him. In his place we get four-time Fast & Furious orchestrator Justin Lin, who didn’t direct those movies so much as make sure the camera was pointed in the right direction. To say he lacks style would be an understatement.
He nonetheless imbues the proceedings here with some nice rough ‘n’ tumble energy, tilting the franchise ever more into action territory (best embodied by Pine zipping into battle atop a motorcycle). He employs some dazzling effects, too, though they do become a bit much at times, especially during the frenetic finale as Kirk and crew fight swarms of small ships.
The flawless casting remains the most appealing aspect of these reboots, with Pine firmly in command of Kirk as he contemplates his future, while Zachary Quinto, as Spock, earns both laughs and empathy, and Karl Urban, as Dr. McCoy, effortlessly toggles between amusingly pessimistic and being a compassionate sounding board for Pine.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Beyond is how Pegg and his co-writer manage to give everybody something interesting to do — Pegg helps an alien scavenger (Sofia Boutella), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) proves a thorn in Krall’s side, etc. This even applies to the late Anton Yelchin, whose increased presence here as navigator Chekov demonstrates why he will be missed — in these films and beyond. – [DVD] [Blu-Ray]
DVD Release Date: 11/1/16