Space, the final frontier…. Ah, who am I kidding? You know the drill. So let’s get into Star Trek Beyond and let’s bask in the glory that is James Tiberius Kirk and the crew of the Federation Starship Enterprise. Also, Idris Elba.
Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) of the Federation Starship Enterprise is bored. Sure, the odd diplomatic mission here and there is going haywire and some minor action ensues, but he’s bored. He wonders if that is it. Him flying his ship from mission to mission, achieving peace here and there, same thing every day. He wants something new, he wants adventure, he wants a life of adrenaline and the life of a pilot who goes where no man has gone before, performing feats that no man has performed before. This is who he is, a thrillseeker, an adventurer.
Yet here he is, fighting creatures that are barely knee high. And losing.
He hopes that a stay aboard the Federation starbase Yorktown will give him a break, something to break his routine and a chance to go in for a job interview as the position of Vice Admiral aboard Yorktown has just opened. But it’s all not to be just yet. Shortly after the Enterprise has docked, an unidentified ship approaches. Aboard is a beautiful alien who reports that her crew is being held captive by an evil man named Krall (Idris Elba). Would the Federation be so kind as to assist her in freeing her crew?
The Enterprise sets sail through a nebula that jams all communication to Starfleet.
Freed from its Legacy
This is the first movie in the Star Trek trilogy after the reboot of 2009 that does not deal with continuity snarls or attempts to remake a movie. So there’s no Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) or any other sort of familiar character from the old movies. This is something that does the franchise a lot of good, because it feels a lot lighter. Aided by the direction of Justin Lin of Fast and Furious fame, the movie really takes off once the Enterprise flies towards the nebula.
Because upon arrival, the ship is attacked by a swarm of spaceships. Outgunned, outnumbered and outmatched, the Federation’s mightiest ship with the registry number NCC-1701 is going down. Kirk manages to separate the saucer section from the destroyed body of the ship and have that crash while most of the crew manages to escape in life rafts but ends up being captured by Krall.
With no ship and basically no weapons to speak of, spread out over a large area, the crew of the Enterprise has to find a way back home. And a way to stop Krall’s diabolical plan.
The plot is pretty straight-forward and doesn’t really offer a lot of big surprises. What it does have, though, is the unmistakable charm and humour that fans are used to from the Star Trek TOS aka. The Original Series. The humour is quite distinctive, as Simon Pegg, who plays the role of the Enterprise’s engineer Montgomery Scott aka. Scotty co-wrote the movie.
The movie is a joy to sit through, well-paced and manages to never be boring despite the occasionally thin plot and the odd subplot that vanishes for a while only to then resurface at the oddest time just so that we’ve had a bit of it again in order to not forget that it was there.
And then there’s that scene. A scene that just might become the stuff of legend. It comes out of the blue, is perfectly set up and just really, really rocks.
The Hell Yeah Scene
In Hollywood, there’s a thing that fans refer to by a variety of names. I choose to call it the Hell Yeah scene, or occasionally the Fuck Yeah scene. It’s a scene where the hero or heroes of the movie play their hand. They have been beaten by their enemy during round one and against all odds, they are not defeated. Through ingenuity and sheer will bordering on the idiotic, they manage to get another shot at the villain.
In Star Trek Beyond, the scene has been building for the entire movie, with occasional bits of it strewn in here and there, but never making sense outside of a smile. But it all comes back during that one scene where the crew around James T. Kirk and his newfound ally Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) fly out of the nebula on a ship that is more broken than whole and horribly outdated at that to engage a fleet of extremely coordinated, well-armed and advanced fighter spacecrafts.
The scene is executed perfectly and it shows that Justin Lin knows how to do action. What also plays into the hand of the scene that lasts about two minutes is that the absolutely brilliant and unexpected soundtrack accompanying the scene – it’s not really a soundtrack as the characters in the movie hear it too and visibly react to it – is coordinated with the shots we see on screen, making this a very successful hybrid of the best genre of music video and an action movie there’s ever been. It’s balls-to-the-wall, edge-of-the-seat awesomeness for every second it lasts. The few words spoken during this scene are to the point, barely more than what’s needed and I’m glad that nobody interfered and said something along the lines of “This needs a one-liner” or something along these lines.
The Hell Yeah scene is difficult to pull off, often either completely neglected or buggered up by incompetent writing or direction. Star Trek Beyond is one of the very few cases where everything fits together and it rocks.
All in all, Star Trek Beyond is a great summer movie. It’s refreshingly short, clocking in at exactly two hours and doesn’t waste space. If you feel like good entertainment, great action, endearing characters and one scene that is essentially made of pure glory, then Star Trek Beyond is a must-see. the movie opens in Swiss cinemas on Thursday, July 21st. Enjoy!