MOVIE REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond is fun, fast and furious
STAR Trek Beyond is fun, fast and, at times, furious thanks to new direction from Justin Lin.
The third instalment in the rebooted sci-fi franchise, hitting cinemas in the same month as the Star Trek's 50th anniversary, continues with the same tone as JJ Abrams' first two films, drawing plenty of humour from the relationships between the USS Enterprise's motley crew.
Lin appears to have made a seamless transition from fast cars, in the Fast & Furious franchise, to spaceships.
He brings plenty of action to this new chapter, which sees the Enterprise attacked and pretty much destroyed by a mysterious alien horde near a remote Federation outpost called Yorktown.
During the ship's decimation the main characters are scattered. Some are captured by Krall while others do their best to remain hidden on the strange planet with the help of newcomer Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).
There is a sense that none of the Enterprise crew are radically different at the end of this film than the start, with some critics declaring it a placeholder for the next instalment (Pine and Quinto are already confirmed to be returning for a fourth film).
What I think Beyond does well is to give Kirk a chance to come out from his father's shadow and finally be his own man. He's proven himself worthy of the chair and he's not fighting for his place in Starfleet anymore.
My only real gripe with the film is with its villain, played by Idris Elba. I'm a huge fan of Elba's work, but his mysterious Krall feels under-baked.
The eventual reveal of his identity and backstory feels rushed and isn't really explained that quickly.
Krall certainly pales in comparison to Benedict Cumberbatch's well-rounded Khan from Into Darkness.
Much has been made of the decision to make John Cho's Sulu gay. It's been blown out of proportion, in my opinion, considering the detail is revealed in such a short scene and in such a matter-of-fact way.
None of the other characters make anything of it, so why should we?
The real highlight of the film are the scenes between Bones (Karl Urban) and Spock (Zachary Quinto), who haven't spent much screen time together in the past two films.
Star Trek Beyond is an entertaining two hours at the cinema and stays true to the themes dear to many a Trekkie's heart.
The film opens nationally today.
Star Trek Beyond
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Karl Urban, Idris Elba.
Director: Justin Lin
Verdict: 4/5 stars