With J.J.Abrams having abandoned ship for Star Wars in favour of Star Trek, could a third instalment with new director be beyond expectation ?
So we reach number three in so far a surprisingly successful reboot of Star Trek. Two films have successfully engaged more than the faithful trekkies, now with the third in the hands of a guy who’s CV shouts loudest of a couple of Fast and Furious under his belt.
I am delighted to say that although this doesn’t reach for the stars as effectively as JJ managed, it catapults well beyond my expectations. We have an observedly familiar team reassembled, experienced and comfortably playing off each other. It breaks your heart to see Anton Yelchin giving it his all, knowing he has tragically passed.
Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Bones, Mr Sulu, Chekhov and Scotty are all now part of the furniture. The banter, bravado and bravery of this band of brothers, sisters and other beings are the key strength of the film. Pine’s Kirk continues to strike a nice balance between cocky and charismatic. Quinto’s Spock consistently excellent, and Bones and Scotty our stooges with a purpose. Simon Pegg, undoubtedly the biggest geek on the set, has been promoted to the writing team too.
Great effects and visual trickery are on show, although this does occasionally slip into grandscale CGI carnage and disaster fatigue. A set piece involving Kirk with a motorbike is phenomenal. Mixed with vintage style episodic Star Trek story telling, this is where the the film hits the sweet spot for the second time. We have a formidable villain and impossible odds that ramp up the drama. Linn’s creation has a feel of a mix tape with some Matrix, Mission Impossible and X-men on the playlist.
There are moments, certain points in the film where the inventiveness and the bond between the crew surpass the more recent X-men, even Star Wars, wholly due to the developed and bonded character relationships that have had space (literally) and time to mature and grow. We are made to feel like we are part of the crew, looking on as the action and drama unfolds. No awards here for individual perfomaces here, it is a team effort where even newcomers adjust well and quickly, contributing to the action, humour and the charm of the film.
The weak spots are overuse of CGI, points where the film could be tightened up and shorter in running time, and Linn not at JJ’s level.
Although this doesn’t reach beyond 3.5/5 from me overall, when it’s good, it’s really rather good and represents a genuine challenge to the other big franchises out there.