July 24, 2016
The vastness of outer space really gave the Star Trek franchise a very long lifespan indeed, 50 years now and going strong. Aside from its origins on television in the 1960s, Star Trek is also a thriving film franchise, now on its thirteenth film already, and third installment in the current reboot series, starting with "Star Trek" in 2009 (MY REVIEW) and "Star Trek Into Darkness" in 2013 (MY REVIEW).
While docked on the Starbase Yorktown for supplies and shore leave, the USS Enterprise and its crew respond to a desperate call for help in an uncharted nebula, taking them on the most deadly adventure of their career. A beelike swarm of small but destructive spacecraft to attack the fabled starship and force it to crash land on remote planet. The main perpetrator was an alien named Krall, who seemed to have deeper issues of vengeance he wanted to address than meets the eye.
Stars Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Karl Urban (Bones), John Cho (Sulu) and the late Anton Yelchin (Chekov) reprise their respective roles in the crew aboard the USS Enterprise. They have really settled in comfortably into their characters. They do not feel like they were doing any acting anymore, all like second skin already, especially in their interaction with each other. They are convincing as a team who knew their roles and who genuinely cared for one another.
There are two new characters introduced in this installment. One was an antagonist, while the other would prove to be an ally. The intimidating Idris Elba played the vindictive Krall with formidable intensity, something he can do even by just standing still. Up-and-coming Algerian actress and hip-hop dancer Sofia Boutella gets a major featured role here as an alien warrior named Jaylah. Her martial arts skills were as graceful as they were deadly.
I liked the cool depiction of Starbase Yorktown with its ultramodern transport technology and antigravity features within a transparent glass sphere. The attack of the Bees was very scary to watch because it was just too relentless. It was painful to witness a beloved icon being blasted apart. However, many fight scenes were shot so closely, they can be difficult to watch. There were also moments when the CG was not too convincing, like there were scenes when Kirk's motorcycle (yes, he actually rode one!) was not touching the ground.
Overall, this film is another entertaining episode in the Star Trek canon, though the story felt lighter than the first two. Really, the Beastie Boys as a deadly weapon?? Anyhow, the humorous interaction of Bones and Spock even in the face of danger was fun to watch, as well as Spock's version of romance with Uhura. There was a brief yet touching reference to the original TV cast. The closing credits contained a dedication to the memories of Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. It would be interesting to see how the production would handle the character of Chekov with Yelchin's untimely passing. 8/10.