Beyond takes place three years after the wrath of Khan, in Into Darkness (2013). That’s also three years into the USS Enterprise’s five-year mission. After dropping anchor at a Starfleet base called Yorktown, Kirk and co dabble into unchartered space. After all, this is Star Trek and they’re explorers. They explore new worlds and new civilizations. The Enterprise travels into this unknown place where a ruthless and vicious new enemy lurks in the shadows. His name is Krall, played by the formidable Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation) and he has gut-busting hatred for the Federation, destroying the Enterprise with a new and efficient weapon thus marooning Kirk, Spock, Bones and company on a remote planet. Kirk (Chris Pine) has now reached his midlife crisis, in trying to live up to his old man, George Kirk who (Chris Hemsworth in Star Trek). But also now faced with the reality that he is older now, than his father ever was.
Kirk has been so busy trying to live up to daddy dearest, that he hasn’t forged his own identity. He is now feeling and seeing the gravity of his situation. “You spent all this time trying to be your father, and now you’re wondering just what it means to be you” says Bones (Karl Urban) to Captain James T. Now he’s considering leaving the whole space life behind him. We’ve followed Kirk since the first movie. He started out as this ostentatious, intelligent yet obnoxious and talent young man. Kirk was that kid in school we all hate because he gets A* grades without putting the work in, while we get a C and spend whole nights revising. He’s no longer that person. He’s grown into a great man and to be frank, he’s no longer an asshole. In Beyond, he has embraced leadership and truly understands what it means to be captain. I suppose this could be comparable to Spock’s test in the first movie. His crew is his family and he’d do anything for them. He even gave his life in the last movie to save them and our pointy-eared friend even says that “a captain cannot cheat death.” in Star Trek (2009).
On the other side of the spectrum, Spock is ‘feeling.’ Yes, you heard that correctly. Spock is feeling. He’s tapped into the half-human side and it is common knowledge that Leonard Nimoy died last year and that means so did his character. Spock learns of the death of Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and this has a deep impact on his character. Spock must go to New Vulcan to help rebuild their race after the Alderaan-esque destruction of Vulcan in the 2009 feature film. This causes a wall to come up between Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and her pointy-eared boyfriend.
Everyone has to put their personal, and emotional problems on hold when a big issue arises. The ship is assaulted by a nanotech-esque ships. The Enterprise is attacked by these tiny projectile-like ships. The crew must abandon ship and most are taken hostage on the unknown planet by an unknown race led by the evil Krall (Idris Elba). This nemesis, seems to have some serious beef with Kirk’s Federation and is concocting a cancerous cocktail that’ll make Kirk and crew rue the day they’d decided to embark on this final frontier.
The aftermath is quite simple to be honest. Kirk must assemble his crew and prevent Krall from pulling off his murderous scheme. The film wins not just with its badass action and intelligently executed visuals. Oh no, it also wins with characterisation, banter and emotional impact. I also enjoyed that in the first half of the movie, the main crew had their own sort of side quests. Spock (Quinto) and McCoy (Urban) have some friendly banter in their own mission. It’s a good bit of fun. An passionless Vulcan and the cynical McCoy make a very amusing combination. Then we had Captain Kirk and Chekov (Yelchin) on their own action-packed mission as well as Mr Scott (Simon Pegg) with newcomer Jaylah played by Kingsman’s Sofia Boutella with Sulu (Jon Cho) and Uhura (Saldana) showing us their perspective of things at Krall’s headquarters.
The writers, Simon Pegg and Doug Jung (Banshee) introduce Jaylah. She’s an alien who has spent her life marooned on this planet and has been subjected to Krall’s tyranny and dictatorial ideologies. Boutella is great in the role. Her character is charming and funny, yet can be rigid. She’s a hybrid character between the personalities of Scotty, Spock and Bones. A great scene is when she sits in the captain’s chair; an awesome thuglife moment if there ever was one.
Unlike the previous two Star Trek movies in this universe, I wouldn’t show this to young kids. It’s darker, scarier and more gritty. It shows us the moral dilemmas as well as the horrors within each of us, human beings. In addition, Krall will scare the living daylights out of children. He is haunting. He will haunt you in your dreams and I wouldn’t risk showing it to an eight year old unless they’re made of stern stuff. Idris Elba as Krall…the voice gave me chills and I left the cinema with goosebumps up both arms. His voice was so menacing that it runs chills up your spine. We’ve had Cumberbatch and Elba play villains in this universe as well as Peter Weller. Which masterclass talent will we have next? Elba is in his prime and it is evident as Krall. All in all, Krall is the stuff of nightmares; a spawn of satan, if you will. I will leave Krall’s look to the imagination or you’ll see it when you go to the cinema to watch the movie.
I’m just going to go ahead and say it, this is the best blockbuster of 2016 and the best Star Trek movie to date. Punch it! It stays true to its origins, exploring themes like: morality, ethics and philosophy whilst being enjoyable to non-Trekkies. I’m just going to put my shields up before I get assaulted by the hardcore Trekkies. Justin Lin and Abrams’ direction styles are very different. Abrams’ started this alternate universe but I actually prefer Lin, despite him merely embellishing on an already established franchise made by JJ.
Amidst the great action sequences, thought-provoking themes and acting performances, there’s a great score and soundtrack. I did revel in the revelation of Public Enemy’s classic hit, Fight The Power as well as The Beastie Boys during the battle scene. 2016, despite the sad current affairs of late, marks fifty years of Star Trek and this movie does it homage. All in all a wonderful movie and I tip my hat to Justin Lin, who so many had doubted. It’s my favourite Star Trek movie to date and my favourite blockbuster of 2016. This a great end to the trilogy but I’ve also heard Chris Hemsworth (Avengers) will be returning as George Kirk for Star Trek IV which I can only hope will be the war with the Klingon Empire which may have sort of spacetime paradoxical twist to it. Fascinating!!
Darker, grittier and more realistic, yet pleasing to geeks and film casuals alike