Wed | Aug 23, 2017

'Star Trek Beyond' saves the summer

Published:Monday | July 25, 2016 | 7:00 AM
The USS Enterprise crew returns in ‘Star Trek Beyond’.
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Set three years into the five- year journey of the USS Enterprise, 'Star Trek Beyond' is a really solid movie. This time around, Chris Pine's (Captain Kirk) isn't exactly sure if he even wants to be a captain. His heart just isn't in the dangerous, exciting adventure game anymore. Before he has a chance to contemplate that though, he's thrust into another dangerous, exciting adventure. Starfleet has no room for existentialism.

That's not to say that this film is devoid of character. After a crash landing leaves the characters momentarily separated, the movie focuses on a few smaller groups, rather than one big one. This gets around the problem ensemble films usually have, giving a more character focused film. Following the duo of Karl Urban's 'Bones' and Zachary Quinto's 'Spock', is a highlight, as the sarcastic one of the group, bounces quips off the abnormally genuine alien.

Aside from stellar performances from the regular cast, the movie introduces Sofia Boutella's 'Jayla', an alien that our heroes meet on their journey. Her introduction is remarkably well done, instantly feeling like she belongs and a treat whenever she's on screen. Another stand out is Idris Elba's villainous 'Krall'. He's an imposing figure that feels like a genuine threat. It's a testament to Elba's performance that I was able to feel his charisma underneath all his character's alien make up.

Action wise, this movie is quite focused. It has an energy that never really goes away. It's the type of action movie that feels as though it has a degree of thought behind it. 'Star Trek Beyond' isn't just coherent, it's inventive. Justin Lin was an unlikely choice for the movie, but the shots he chooses to tell his story, have a sense of genuine creativity behind them. Not at all the type of stuff you'd expect from a big franchise film like this one.

'Star Trek Beyond' is a lot like the 'Star Trek' of 2009. It's exciting, clever, and thoughtful when it needs to be. It has an excellent grasp of its tone, never feeling too dark or too light. If you'd told me at the beginning of the summer that this would be one of my favourite movies, I'd call you crazy. Now, with a summer that's been mostly a mixed bag, it's a lot easier to believe. 'Star Trek Beyond' is a definite Big Screen Watch.

damianmichaellevy@gmail.com