Star Trek Beyond review: Captures the spirit and fun of the original series
Film review: Star Trek Beyond

Matthew Turner delivers his verdict on the latest entry in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, directed by Justin Lin

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The crew of the Enterprise encounter a fearsome adversary when they become stranded on a barren planet after responding to a distress call in deep space

Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Lydia Wilson, Joe Taslim, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
Country: USA
Release date: July 22, 2016
Cert: 12A
Running time: 122 mins

With the man behind the 2009 Star Trek reboot understandably busy with a certain other space-franchise, directing duties on the latest instalment have been transferred to action maestro Justin Lin, already feted in Hollywood for his work on the Fast and Furious movies.

Thankfully, the Star Trek franchise remains in safe hands, which will come as something as a relief to fans who were disappointed by the previous entry in the series, Into Darkness.

Indeed, Star Trek: Beyond is a return to the form of J.J. Abram’s first Star Trek movie, capturing the spirit and the fun of the original series.

The performances are the highlight

When the crew of the Enterprise answer a mysterious distress call in deep space, they are attacked by Krall (Idris Elba), a fearsome alien intent on recovering an ancient artefact that Kirk (Chris Pine) has in his possession.

With the Enterprise destroyed, the crew are stranded on a barren planet: Kirk and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) attempt to retrieve the artefact; Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are captured by Krall’s soldiers; an injured Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) investigate the planet’s surface; and Scotty (Simon Pegg) encounters Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), a similarly stranded alien warrior living in an abandoned Federation ship.

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The masterstroke of J.J. Abrams’ reboot was in casting actors who were able to flawlessly inhabit the characters from the original series while still making the roles their own.

Accordingly, the performances, and the interactions between these much-loved characters, are the undisputed highlight here, particularly Pine’s Kirk (with a knowing dash of Shatner), Quinto’s Spock and Urban’s McCoy (who gets much more to do this time round).

Similarly, Elba makes a suitably stompy villain, while Boutella brings a combination of strength and vulnerability to her eye-catching role as Jayla.

Delivers when it comes to the action

Clearly, Lin was handed the directing gig because he knows his way around a thrilling set-piece and the film certainly delivers when it comes to the action sequences – highlights include the initial attack on the Enterprise and an exciting take-off scene, as well as a pulse-pounding climax involving a punch-up in artificial gravity.

The script (co-written by Simon Pegg) gives each character their moment to shine, while also underlining the central message (strength in unity, the cornerstone of the Federation) with a series of engagingly written scenes that emphasise the crew working together as a team.

Similarly, the script captures the humour and the warmth of the show, while the relatively simple plot means that the film often feels like an extended episode of the original series (in a good way), right down to the pleasingly polystyrene-looking planet exteriors.

Worth seeing?

This is an enjoyable return to form for the Star Trek franchise, thanks to note-perfect performances, thrilling action sequences and a script that strikes exactly the right balance between homage and reboot.

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