Star Trek Beyond (M)

In a word: Satisfying

Star Trek Beyond

Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah and Simon Pegg plays Scotty in Star Trek Beyond. PICTURE: © 2016 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

And so the saga continues. In this, the 13th film in the Star Trek franchise and the 3rd since the timeline reboot, we find the USS Enterprise three years after we last left it, continuing to travel through the outer reaches of the universe on its five year quest to bring peace to the strange worlds it encounters.

But monotony has set in – and Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine) and Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) are both contemplating a change of career. They’re also welcoming the chance to visit the newest Federation space station, the Yorktown, for some different human contact.

Their time of R ‘n R is, however, short-lived and, before you know it, the USS Enterprise has been dispatched on a mission to rescue the crew of a spacecraft stranded on an uncharted planet. It’s on that journey that they encounter the mysterious (and evil) reptilian Krall (Idris Elba), a warlord desperate to regain an artifact picked up by the Enterprise crew in their travels.

This is not the strongest of the last three films – the first takes that title – and amid the frantic action there’s little time for much character development but director Justin Lin (who has stepped in where JJ Abram left off) has made sure the film does have pretty much all else we can expect from a Star Trek film – familiar faces, strange aliens (including new ally Jaylah, played by Sofia Boutella), and new worlds to explore (not to mention wrecked starships, which seems to be a trope of the latest films).

It’s an entertaining and humorous film – Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Bones (Karl Urban) continue to provide some comic relief, and there are plenty of nostalgic moments for those who pine for the original films and TV series as well as an added poignancy given the dedications during the closing credits to Leonard Nimoy, who died in February last year, and Anton Yelchin, who played Pavel Chekov and who sadly died in June this year in an automobile accident.

The visuals, as has been the trend in the last three films, are spectacular and leave the viewer hungering for more – some more time poking around the Yorktown would have been fun.

Trekkies should find it a solid enough next chapter while more casual observers and newcomers will enjoy what is a slickly put together and fun show.  That said, there is a sense of being overly familiar with what’s coming and it’s probably time to chart a more adventurous course with the next instalment.