Star Trek Beyond (2016) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

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Star Trek Beyond (2016) 


Directed by Justin Lin


With Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban and Idris Elba


Fast and Furious director Justin Lin takes the Captain’s chair for Star Trek Beyond, the third installment in the rebooted timeline of Kirk, Spock and co, during which the USS Enterprise is sent on a dangerous search and rescue mission. Co-written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, the film is a hollow, shop-fitted Star Trek experience for a theme park crowd, complete with all the proper ingredients and nothing new in-between.

While Beyond is every bit as slick and action-packed as J.J. Abrams’s incarnations, it’s also locked in their cycle, seeking little originality and worse, insists on telegraphed plot points that are explained with eye-rolling exposition, moments before they occur. While much of the character interplay is fun (Karl Urban being the pick of the bunch), the writing does nothing to make the Trek universe a more interesting place, rather, what should have been a bold leap into the unknown is more akin to jogging on the spot for two forgettable hours in the company of expensive CGI.

After an intriguing opening and a thrilling first act set-piece involving the Enterprise, the film hits a huge middle act slump that it never quite recovers from, as the story increasingly behaves like a bland rehash of a recycled Star Trek TV show. With a one-note baddie in tow, Lin is working with a story that is widely bereft of genuine peril (even when perilous stuff happens) – join-the-dots cinema, playing all the right beats and cues in a way that never challenges and seldom excites. It’s Star Trek by-the-numbers – safe and tidy in its determination to not stray from a certain path. While the idea of Trek playing it safe might be enough to satisfy some, it does nothing for the its future, and ultimately puts a question mark next to the overall health of the series.

If you like your sci-fi fantasy loud and inflated, Star Trek Beyond is a snack that might temporarily fill a hole. Many of the latter action sequences are boring and repetitive as character development is kept to a bare minimum in favour of stuff blowing up and all the things you knew were going to happen…happening. A par for a much loved sci-fi series that has always thrived most on the small screen…and should boldly go there again to find new life.

3/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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8 Responses to Star Trek Beyond (2016) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. jimbelton says:

    I totally agree with your review, but not the 3 star rating. This film was a 2 for me. BTW, there is a new Star Trek series coming to Netflix, set 10 years before the classic.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Yes, I’ve seen the trailer for the series. I question the decision not to take Star Trek into uncharted territory…isn’t that supposed to be part of the fun of adventure. I hope they remember to make the show fun.

  2. yggdrasille says:

    I’d give the movie 3/5 as well but I’ve enjoyed it more than you have – I agree about the weaknesses as far as the story is concerned but I still love the cast and their interactions.

  3. Chris Evans says:

    Ouch, sorry to hear you weren’t a fan of this Gareth. You make some fair points but whilst I’d say the Abrams outings were stronger on the whole but I still enjoyed Beyond… guess I was just happy that we got a new Trek film at all!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Hello my friend. I’ll level with you, I was in a foul mood when I wrote this review and may have let my irritations boil over somewhat without praising the things that were good. Ultimately, I felt like I was watching a film I’d seen a dozen times over. I hated that it made me bored.

  4. Great review! Although I actually really enjoyed this film. 😉 To me it felt like a jumbo episode of the original series and I actually really liked that about the movie. The character interactions were fun and I had a great time watching this.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you. I’m a big Star Trek fan (TNG is my go-to series) but this felt more like Star Treading than Star Trekking. I enjoyed bits of it, but I wanted so much more. Maybe I’ll soften with subsequent viewings. I’m hoping the series can thrive on TV again.

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