Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

(M) Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban

The last Star Trek sequel, Into Darkness (2013), was an underwhelming adventure. So, will frequent Fast & Furious director Justin Lin revitalise the Star Trek franchise?

There is a sense of fulfillment in the lives of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and crew of the USS Enterprise as they perform their duties where no-one has gone before. But, as things move into their third year of the current intergalactic journey, Kirk and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are on the precipice of life-altering decisions that will have implications for their professional and personal lives. While wrestling through these decisions, their legendary spaceship docks at the newest Federation space station. During this short respite, the station leadership receives a distress call from beyond the edge of the known frontier that requires a rescue effort. The Enterprise crew is enlisted to find the crew of a lost ship. As it crosses the line into this uncharted part of the galaxy, the Enterprise is immediately attacked and nearly destroyed. The vicious assault attack is led by Krall (Idris Elba), who is in search of the ultimate weapon and has an uncanny ability to anticipate the plans and movements of all things involved with the Federation. Kirk, Spock and co. must work with other space refugees on a desolate planet to rescue the remaining crew, deter Krall from his savage plans, and attempt to escape their current situation and get home.

 

From the opening sequence, director Justin Lin’s interpretation of the Star Trek story provides a fresh perspective on this familiar franchise. He utilises inventive camera angles to give a unique look to this space drama, as well as challenging the equilibrium of audiences. Additionally, Lin’s choreography of the action sequences and his eye for detail make each scene push the story along.

These elements are to be celebrated, but the component that supports Lin’s direction and lifts this outing above the plethora of Star Trek adventures is the writing from Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. This script-writing team brings the story back to the original ingredients which have allowed this franchise to endure for so many years. Star Trek Beyond does contain the heart-stopping action and the special effects needed to keep the attention of audiences, but the script finds the human element and humour to provide the balance for some quality entertainment. Pegg and Jung masterfully develop the friendship between Spock and Bones (Karl Urban) and provide Chris Pine with one of his best performances in this series.

The exceptional writing cannot hide some  of the challenges of the film. There are noticeable plot holes, cringeworthy elements in the action and dialogue and the unmistakable political correctness of the Star Trek heritage. But these issues are incidental and do not derail the overall experience. Lin, Pegg and Jung provide a measured response to some of the self-righteous components. They seem to be self-aware enough to use the weaknesses of the franchise and make up for them in comedy and action. This provides an enjoyable entertainment experience that still provides something to look forward to in this world of fantasy.

Star Trek Beyond brings this franchise back to its roots and redeems it from the debacle of Star Trek: Into Darkness.

 

What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?

At the heart of Star Trek Beyond is the tension of war or peace. The Federation stands for universal peace, but still flies around in war machines. So what is the answer to this challenging subject? Should we resolve our problems forcefully or peacefully? The answer may seem obvious, but human history proves otherwise. Throughout the Bible, both war and peace are considered and experienced. It is a topic worth studying out and seeking the answer through God’s Word.

 

  1. What does the Bible say about war?  (Psalm 144:1,Ecclesiastes 3:8)
  2. What does the Bible have to say about peace? (Matthew 5:9, John 18:36)
  3. Can mankind’s hearts change from evil to good? (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Timothy 2:21)

Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger

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