Star Trek is silly. That is an established and a well documented fact. What distinguishes it from other Sci-Fi properties is creator Gene Roddenberry’s optimism on how humanity overcomes its differences to live long and prosper and its thinly veiled social commentary with its messages of acceptance.
The JJ Abrams movies have not lived up to portraying those ideals well enough on the big screen. After his departure and handling over the writing duties to uber-fanboy Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, the third movie does really well to show us another important factor, that made the original series work so well, the characters.
Star Trek Beyond is all about chemistry. Karl Urban channels the late, great DeForest Kelley to the bone(pun intended). He steals the show with his constant complaints and a barrage of one liners. His scenes with Spock are an absolute delight. It’s hard not to see why Anton Yelchin will be irreplaceable, as Chekov. The actor tragically passed away a few days before the film’s release and it’s a good decision not to recast his role.
It was great to see this movie begin with some classic Shatner-ism, the act of overplaying your scene with some slapstick comedy. I was glad that it wasn’t a huge action set piece like the previous two movies. Star Trek is about morality and should have a much smaller scope and the screenplay was solid enough to make it so for two-thirds of the movie.
The third act devolves into a generic ‘Save the planet’ plot yet the tremendously fun screenplay makes it anything but tedious. Star Wars can get away with The Force but Trek has the responsibility of giving us some Grade-A scientific mumbo jumbo, which should just be believable enough and it was a relief to know that it actually worked in the movie. Also adding Beastie Boys’ Sabotage to any scene instantly makes it badass.
Idris Elba was slightly disappointing and unrecognizable as Krall under heavy prosthetic make-up, also terribly under utilised, in my opinion. Justin Lin, the director has been reportedly hired to remake Akira. With the right screenplay, I’m pretty sure he could nail it.