DIRECTOR: Justin Lin
I honestly don’t know where to start with this one. After the disappointments which were meted out by the severely overrated J.J. Abrams and his Star Wars audition reels which he just happened to call Star Trek (2009) and Into Darkness (2013), we finally have our first REAL Trek movie in 14 years!
From the opening scenes, to the finale, this felt completely different to previous two, proving once and for all, that Abrams did not really understand Trek as much as he liked us to think, even William Shatner’s failed Star Trek V (1989), the worst Trek film to date, understood Star Trek, maybe a little too well. Justin Lin on the other hand, seemed to be a ludicrous choice of director, making his name with the later Fast And Furious movies, but in retrospect, what a great choice.
He has already managed to infuse his last franchise with a lot of sentimentality and camoradary, a franchise which is essentially about racing fast cars. But this ironically is a big part of the Star Trek formula and here we have it all. A sense of the nature of the original series and beyond, better characterisations, no doubt thanks to Simon Pegg taking over the writing duties.
The action is phenomenal from start to finish, with great 3D cinematography without over doing it, out of this world concept designs, a plot right out of the best episodes of Star Trek and finally a Chris Pine incarnation of Kirk who I would happily think of a Captain, at last! The comedy is sharp and affectionate and there are so many Trek references and Easter eggs throughout, it will keep us occupied for some time to come.
But that is at the heart of this film’s success. The screenplay is leagues beyond the work of the last two, with a real understanding of what made Star Trek tick without the condescending tone which Abrams brought, as well as allowing for an epic blockbuster adventure, making the most of the big screen but never afraid of small, tender or comedic moments to hold this tent-pole movie up.
There were well handled moments, both in the pilot and the film itself where respects are paid to both the late Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov), which were handled perfectly. Credit to Lin and his team for that, bit this is not, unfortunately the first that he has been faced with losing a cast member during production, though in case, it was post. Though it must be said that Chekov well never so well represented in these new films until this one, so it does serve a worthy farewell for his character from the Trek movies.
In short, this is the best of the rebooted Star Trek franchise to date and even with the many quibbles which I had with the previous two movies, I do like them, but I do not love them. This, on the other hand has the potential to be a Trek classic by tapping into what makes classic Star Trek such.
As I have already posted before, Star Trek Beyond is one of the first films to be produced in the Barco Escape format, a new take on the Cinerama three panel immersive widescreen format of the 1950’s. For more of this check out my other post here.
In memory of Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015) and Anton Yelchin (1989 -2016)