Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

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Justin Lin directs Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban in this third / thirteenth entry in the Starship Enterprise based series.

Star Trek means much more to me than even I consider. Natalie and I have started rewatching the Original Series, and I constantly find myself surprised at how many moments I can recall from my childhood cuddled up on the sofa with my Dad and sister after work / school, in the BBC2 slot that had this, a good western or Laurel & Hardy every early evening. Real nostalgic deja vu! I must have watched some of those episode half a dozen times in my youth, yet I would not have considered myself a true fan. The films maybe have never really lived up to the primary coloured philosophical takes on what it means to be human in space, what it means to be part of a society (the crew / ensemble) when such a thing seems alien to you. The plot of the telly episodes often is the small scale, big theme stuff like a stray mimics humans or a crew member loses their humanity, something or someone develops god like powers. Meaty chew for a Western in space with a kick ass cast. The films have always been at their best when they just try to be romps, not stretching the morality play format that hit the spot at 45 minutes but seem overwrought at 120. Sorry Trekkers,  but no one ever expects a Trek to be the best film of the year (the balance between what a rabid fan base and the majority of people who just want a good night at the multiplex is impossible to get perfect – the formers’ demands and nitpicking makes everything else second guessed), and Beyond still doesn’t come close. But it possibly is now my favourite Star Trek flick as it is the most simply entertaining and satisfying. Three films in and these guys have their chemistry down pat – one part mimicry, two parts kids in the playground getting to play their favourite character again (none of that X-Men end of their contractual obligations laziness either!). Karl Urban’s Bones really stands out, his gruff pragmatist’s incredulous reaction getting the big laughs. And Lin brings some 3Dimensional verve to the action. Both the destruction of the iconic ship, and a chase around the wreckage soon after, are series highs in terms of set pieces and exactly the kind of pulse quickening thrills a big summer movie should deliver. So the plot ain’t nothing new, the MacGuffin looks like a toilet cleaner you stick on the rim and Idris Elba’s unrecognisable villain is an afterthought… This is still going to make you leave with a big smile on your face, especially when that magical theme music kicks in.

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