Star Trek team deliver the goods

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Star Trek: Beyond | Director: Justin Lin | Rated M | ★★★

The rebooted Star Trek team are back for their third outing. Now that we’ve gotten to know these new versions of Kirk, Spock, Chekov, Scotty, Uhura, McCoy and Sulu, it’s time to just dive into action overdrive.

The Enterprise’s crew  takes a break from their five year long mission of exploring deep space and visits Yorktown, the federation’s new giant space station.

After three years of exploring deep space, brokering peace deals, and dealing with unusual aliens, some of the crew are pondering their futures and wondering if there are other roles for them beyond life on the Enterprise.

But before they can head off to job interviews or leap into new romances they’re sent back into action to rescue the crew of another star-ship lost within a cloudy and treacherous nebula.

Its not long before the Enterprise is attacked by a swarm of aliens. The crew find themselves separated from each other on an alien world and under threat from an evil alien overlord named Krall.

The scattered crew create some entertaining match ups, Checkov and Kirk work together, Bones and Spock are a comedy duo, Sulu works with Uhura, and Scotty makes friends with an distinctive alien covered in black and white war paint – who loves old skool rap music.

It’s a standard sci-fi tale where the crew have to use their wits and ingenuity to battle an uber bad guy, all the ingredients of a good Star Trek adventure, which is serves up to perfection. It’s a lot of fun.

The drawback of this film is simply that we’ve seen it all before, and while highly enjoyable – it’s a little ‘paint by numbers’ and nothing surprises.

In a classic get-a-Brit-to-play-the-baddie move, Idris Elba has been selected to portray the menacing Krall. His performance is flawless, but completely fails to break the mold. You’ll probably struggle to remember who the bad dude was in a few months time. It’s unlikely his character is going be going down in the almanac of Star Trek’s great villains.

Sulu

Much as been made out of the revelation that the character of Mr Sulu (in this reality) is gay and has a same sex partner, and a daughter. This fleeting scene is a welcomed moment. Star Trek’s embarrassingly long overdue example of sexuality inclusion is subtly played.

Furthermore, later in the movie when the Enterprise crew launch into battle against the evil alien attackers you feel that there are serious stakes at play for the crew members. Something that has felt lacking in previous films.

Casting a new series of actors for these iconic characters must have been a mammoth tasks when this franchise was relaunched. Three films in, and you can be sure that at a sci-fi convention somewhere, there’s a rigorous debate going on comparing the old and new casts. It would be a tough debate.

Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Karl Urban (Bones), John Cho (Sulu), Zoe Saldana (Uhura) and the late Anton Yelchin (Checkov) all deliver solid performances and own their roles.

It’s a fun film, its completely’ on point’ Star Trek, but it’s not going to blow your mind. Neither is it going to do any damage to the popular franchise which is sure to live long and prosper for many movies to come.

Star Trek: Beyond opens in cinemas today.

Graeme Watson

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