Director J.J. Abrams resurrected the moribund Star Trek movie series by invigorating the previous characters with new actors, all well suited to their respective roles.
The second film took the series darker and whilst successful, was not universally liked by “Trekkies”.
With Abram’s away directing a small independent film called “Star Wars”, a new director was required. Despite huge success guiding the “Fast and Furious” franchise, Justin Lin was arguably not the most obvious choice to Trek fans.
However the film has moved back towards the original TV series and presents a more might light hearted fun episode, which aims to broaden the appeal from the usual Trek fan-base.
All of the previous cast are present and correct, with Simon Pegg (Scottie) also sharing writing duties with Doug Jung, as Pegg’s real life power within the movie industry increases.
The film is more character driven with an opportunity for actors to actually talk to each other. There are interesting scenes with “Spock” (Zachary Quinto) and “Bones” (Karl Urban) as two opposites but clearly enjoying their time together both as actors and characters.
Chris Pine as “Kirk” is more introspective with initial doubts as to whether this whole space ship captain thing, is getting a bit passée. It is also poignant to see Anton Yelchin “Chekov” in one of his last performances, before his off set tragic accident, he will be missed.
The story as with most Trek movies is not that important, the crew get to go places they have not been before, there is destruction aplenty and the usual uber villain “Krall” (Idris Elba). Not the most effective nemesis for Kirk but effectively breaks him out of his existential funk and moves him away from his father’s long shadow.
If there is a theme which resonates with the real world, maybe all pulling together to fight a common enemy, to preserve a treasured way of life. There may be some parallels there if we care to look.
The effects are state of the art, as you would expect and we are introduced to a new character to assist the trusty crew, Sofia Boutella, almost unrecognisable in full make up. A denouement involving a motorcycle seems underwritten, another Trek entry where despite all the technology, battles are solved with fists and basic machinery.
There is never any real sense of danger for anyone not wearing a red crewman shirt, although providing Sulu (John Cho) with a deeper back story does add some depth to the later scenes, as worlds extinctions are threatened.
Whilst unlikely to convert true non sci-fi types, there is much to enjoy here and indicates there are plenty of galaxies the team can still explore, before phasers are set to boredom.
Good clean fun, a return to the the original shows roots, including a first scene tribute to the Tribbles which only real Trekkies will “get”.