New ‘Star Trek’ hits right notes

Tinashe Kusema The Big & Small Screen —
“Star Trek Beyond” is not a special movie. The flaws flow thick and fast, not least because Idris Elba is such a terrible villain: his motives are vague at best, his character “Krall” does not have a proper backstory, and his monologues are ghastly.

The film once again centres its entire story on Kirk (Chris Pine), Spook (Zachary Quinto) and McCoy (Karl Urban), all the while neglecting other key characters of the star-studded ensemble.

However, all this does not take away from the superb emotional beats and the simple “return to basics” that writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung employ to make this film deep, enjoyable and fun to watch.

“Star Trek Beyond” picks up from the last instalment “Into The Darkness”.

Three years into their five-year mission, the crew of the USS Enterprise dock at Starbase Yorktown to refuel and restock. Upon arrival, the crew intercept a distress call from a mysterious stranger, Kalara, who asks them to travel with her into unchartered space to rescue her ship and team.

It is there that they encounter the menacing Krall (Elba). Watch it for yourself to see how matters unfold in this dark corner of the universe. I think Simon Pegg was a good addition to the writing staff as his sense of humour is quite evident throughout the film.

He keeps things flowing with gags, and finds a balance between heavy action scenes and emotional beats. Elba is not the best of villains and deserved better material.

I could expand a bit more on this but it is hard to give Krall a proper critique without spoiling the movie for those yet to watch it. Suffice to say Benedict Cumberbatch did a better job as Khan in the 2013 “Star Trek into the Darkness” — and we all know how that movie tanked.

The action sequences are what one would expect of “Star Trek”, albeit with toned down CGI. The film’s biggest merit is how they tug at viewers’ heartstrings from the opening scene right up to the climax.

One of the things that the rebooted series has failed to do, in three instalments so far, is create on-screen chemistry between its two lead characters, Kirk and Spock.

What Pegg and Jung do well is formulate separate characters for the larger part of the film and give them separate sub-plots. There is a great tribute to actors Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin who died before the release of “Star Trek Beyond”.

Blink and you could also miss some of the warm tributes in the film, including a group photo of George Takei, Walter Koenig, William Shatner, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley and Nichelle Nichols.

The aforementioned are the original cast of the “Star Trek” movies and as an old school fan myself, I would have dropped a tear or two if my heart were more malleable. News flash: it’s not.

Overall, this is a good movie that pulls hard at the heartstrings without diluting the action. It feels more like an episode rather than a movie, and this builds anticipation for the next chapter.

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