I was wrong to have reservations about ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Director, Justin Lin. It’s the ridiculously ‘drunk’ moments from the writers that are to blame.
[Mild Spoilers] With J.J. Abrams diverting his directorial attentions from Star Trek to Star Wars my expectations of ‘Star Trek Beyond’ were low when Justin Lin was appointed to helm the third instalment of the rebooted franchise.
Highlights of the Taiwanese director’s career prior to Star Trek include directing three episodes of ‘Community’ and a couple of episodes of ‘True Detective’. Most notably Lin has built his career on a long-running affiliation with the Fast & Furious franchise beginning in 2006 with ‘Tokyo Drift’ and continuing with ‘Fast & Furious’, Fast Five and ‘Fast & Furious 6’.
When trailers appeared online for ‘Star Trek Beyond’ showing James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) speeding around an alien planet on a motorcycle, it was easy to assume Lin’s proven skillset was being crowbarred into the sci-fi blockbuster, and to an extent that probably isn’t an unfair assumption. My reservations surrounding the director’s ability to present Star Trek on the big screen though were unfounded.
A long standing criticism of Star Trek is that it’s too slow-paced. A preconception that the most recent reboot has done well to shed. ‘Star Trek Beyond’ is no exception, in fact – with a runtime around the two hour mark – the film zips along at such a pace you’ll barely notice the time passing at all.
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, the late Anton Yelchin and Simon Pegg all reprise their roles as the command crew of the starship Enterprise which is faced with a formidable enemy under the command of Krall (Idris Elba).
Establishing the main plot early on, the Enterprise and her crew find themselves in a hopeless situation, strewn across an alien terrain, many held captive by the planet’s aggressors. The crew must unite to develop a plan to escape the planet before Krall’s next target falls victim to a devastating attack.
Whilst Chris Pine as ‘James Kirk’ takes centre stage much of the time, it comes as no surprise that Simon Pegg’s ‘Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott’ features heavily in plot progression alongside a resilient alien ally ‘Jaylah’ (Sofia Boutella). No surprise because alongside Doug Jung, Simon Pegg takes a shared writing credit. His influence is evident with comic moments between the pulse of the action.
Justin Lin creates a film that barely takes time to breath, and that’s a good thing, because if you take a moment to analyse the plot too closely you start to find plenty of threads to unravel. Even the most forgiving viewer will surely concede that the ‘great escape’ from the planet’s surface is a leap of faith too far.
Call me a sceptic, but even as a long-time fan of the Beastie Boys, I don’t believe their music is powerful enough to destroy an armada of spacecraft that pulverised a starship earlier in the movie through sheer brute force. Read that last sentence back. It’s so ridiculous you have to assume the writers were drunk when they conceived the idea.
Idiocy aside, and as far fetched as this pivotal moment in the movie is. Oddly, it’s still presented with enough charm to be amusing, and I have to credit Director, Justin Lin, for working some kind of black magic to achieve this. Because the writing of that particular scene is simply terrible.
Aesthetically the film fits into the rebooted series of films very well and Karl Urban as ‘Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy’ once again delivers the best lines with his enthusiastic portrayal of the character.
Star Trek Beyond is available to buy and rent digitally and is available on DVD and Blu Ray now.