All-action trek with odd couples in danger
STAR TREK BEYOND (PG13)
Science fiction adventure/
123 minutes/ Opens today
The Starship Enterprise is three years into its mission
to explore the furthest reaches
of uncharted space.
A series of events leads to the crew being stranded on the planet Altamid, where they encounter the evil Krall (Idris Elba). An accident splits the crew into pairs - Kirk (Chris Pine) is paired with
Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin)
and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is
partnered with Bones (Karl Urban).
THE old Star Trek movies blended adventure and mystery with lots of talky bits about the Prime Directive and aspirations to explore strange new worlds.
J.J. Abrams and his 2009 retooling gave a boot to all that and the series was reborn as a big-budget non-stop action spectacular. It was a direction that Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) took even further.
Star Trek Beyond is indeed all about battles, on land and in space. Under the hand of new director Justin Lin, veteran of the Fast & Furious franchise, it even squeezes in a James Kirk motorcycle stunt, thanks to a plot convolution that ushers in a 20th-century antique.
Not that the action is done poorly - this third film of the rebooted series is all slick spectacle, created for 3D cinema.
The enemy Bees - single-occupant attack ships that swirl and swarm like insects - are a fresh touch.
The odd couples bicker and plot and fight their way to safety.
This is where this third movie makes an attempt to go back to its character-driven roots.
It's not entirely successful but the bits that work will bring a pang of nostalgia for the days when crew members lived not just in Captain Kirk's world, but also had lives independent of the leading male hero.
There are a few memorable moments of interplay between the crew members of the Enterprise but the scriptwriters struggle with giving supporting characters any agency.
John Cho's Sulu and Zoe Saldana's Uhura are still criminally underused, for example.
Sulu is the all-rounded helpful guy and Uhura is the same, but with love interest Spock in her portfolio.