Long-time Trekkie Simon Pegg (The World’s End, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) took over writing duties on the latest Trek outing after others dropped out. He was helped out by Doug Jung (best known for TV series Dark Blue) and, again after others dropped out, directing duties went to Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Fast Five & 6).
It’s this latter appointment that I was always unsure about and I can confirm I was right to be. If I see another ‘floaty, swirly’ camera movement I’ll poke my own eyes out. We get it, it’s space, you don’t have to keep bashing us over the head with it. Particularly not in IMAX 3D, the results were just stomach churning and in no-way was that a good thing.
Then there was the small matter of the action sequences. Well, I’d like to say the small matter, however the action pieces are quite a large part of Star Trek Beyond and Lin mashes them all like a kid playing Street Fighter hitting any buttons. The camera is shaky cam mark 3 (so it’s no surprise he’s been given directing duty on the next Jeremy Renner/Bourne Sequel that’s been announced). The camera is way too close to see any of the fight sequences so I can’t comment on how good the choreography was. For all I know they may have been sitting down to a game of 3-dimensional chess to settle things.
Taking those things out, and they’re quite large things to try and ignore, the movie stands up well to the other Star Trek movies that have gone before it. There’s some light comedy, some corny lines, and some corny action sequences, but this is in a good way. It’s harking back to the fun times of Trek.
The dialogue is good, nice and snappy. Idris Elba is good as the bad guy, you can tell it’s him even under all the makeup, I’m unsure if this is good or not. I’d like to say Sofia Boutella (she of silver-blades-for-legs in Kingsman: The Secret Service) was very good as the, ‘I’ll help, having done this before’ heroin. However, some of her lines and, in fact, her character, felt a little week. She’s all action and hard to begin with but very quickly becomes the woman needing a pep-talk before she’ll fully commit.
This also applies to the woman who sends the Enterprise into danger in the first place. Kalara, played by Lydia Wilson (About Time, Never Let Me Go) is also a bit week and, just as she’s supposed to become kick-ass, she gets squished.
Leonard Nimoy gets a nice little send off, Anton Yelchin doesn’t have a large part in this film but does get a mention at the end which is a nice touch.
So, overall it’s a mixed bag. I think it would have been a lot better had someone else been behind the camera (I’m thinking Neill Blomkamp would be good, though he discounted doing it for this one back in 2013 saying he didn’t think he would ever do a franchise). However, we have what we have and, personally, I was left thinking it was fun, but could be forgotten in the Star Trek universe, which is a shame.