Confusion and adrenaline reigned during a recent screening of “Star Trek Beyond”, the latest installment of the iconic franchise. And after two earlier films in this new cast, the Enterprise has finally fallen back to Earth. No, not literally; they’re way out in uncharted space like usual; but qualitatively, “Beyond” is a step back from the two J.J.Abrams-helmed flicks.
One thing lacking here is the pause button. The action is relentless, like alongside previous iterations of Star Trek, director Justin Lin and the screenwriters (which included Simon Pegg) screened “Crank” on loop. If ya stop, you die! But unlike Chev Chelios’s rampage, this unremitting movement became tiresome.
While the action doesn’t necessarily separate it from the Abrams action-heavy films, it is starting to get a little wary. This movie is a 2-hour long climactic battle, punctuated by a couple conversations, rather than the other way around. The backstory and motivations are rushed and unsatisfying, like they were an after-thought to the fighting.
“Star Trek Beyond” is in solidly dollar territory, typified by the life force-drainage of star fleet members by the villain, Krall (played here by an utterly wasted Idris Elba). Benedict Cumberbatch, the baddie from “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, was given a cool character, no make-up and a dozen trailer-worthy lines (e.g. “you think you’re safe” BWAAAAAAAAAAAA “you are not.” BWAAAAAAAAA) but here Elba was given… a mask, a bad motivation, jumbled lines and a seemingly undersized spaceship that reminded me of the really tall guy Nelson insulted on the Simpsons. Imagine Kirk saying “Krall” instead of “Crud” and you got the idea.
Despite my lukewarm response, “Beyond” was far from the worst Star Trek film, and was more of a step down than a tumble into the depths. The cast is still great, and there were a few moments showcasing la familia of the Enterprise, but it just wasn’t enough. If they employ 20th century music again, they BETTER choose Tupac, who himself sampled a line from “Star Trek V: The Fivenal Frontier”.
I’d pay $1.25. Bring some honey sticks to celebrate Krall’s swarm.