Star Trek Beyond 3D

Out Now On-Demand

The 13th Star Trek film, the third in the newly rebooted series. JJ Abrams, director of Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), steps aside for Fast & Furious stalwart Justin Lin.

Halfway through their five-year mission to boldy go where no-one has gone before, the crew of the USS Enterprise is forced to abandon ship and battle for their survival on an unknown planet. Hidden inside a nebula, this is where Krall (Idris Elba) has been planning an audacious attack on the Federation. Simon Pegg wrote the screenplay alongside Doug Jung after the initial effort by Roberto Orci (at one point set to direct) was rejected for being "a little bit too Star Trek-y", according to Pegg.

Early on in Star Trek Beyond, we hear Kirk, via his Captain's Log, amusingly describe things on the Enterprise as having become "episodic" after several years in space. It's an articulation of the film's stated intention to evoke the spirit of the original series, a goal the film achieves without devolving into a nostalgia run.

It's just so darn refreshing to see the Enterprise crew go on an actual mission for once. The story here is a welcome respite from the over-reaching, status quo-challenging plots of the two previous films. Indeed, this kind of leaves both of those films for dust, displaying a spry, sardonic touch they both notably lacked.

Everyone is in fine form, performance-wise, but "our" Karl pretty much strolls away with the movie, which benefits greatly from his interplay with Zachary Quinto's Spock. John Cho (Sulu) also totally kills it - somebody needs to put that guy in an action-comedy already. Pine is more at ease as Kirk, and makes a bountiful meal of his inventive action set-pieces.

Things simply gel in this film in a way we always hoped they would in this new Star Trek universe. The entire film is a delight, but whoever came up with the fist pump-inducing finalé gambit deserves a medal - it's quite possibly the coolest big screen Star Trek moment since Spock zapped those punks on the bus in The Voyage Home.

The sense of a massive universe with infinite possibilities permeates Star Trek Beyond. It's a thrilling and honourable ode to what makes the property special that will leave you excited for what its future holds.

Total Film (UK)

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Powered by a spirited sense of adventure and a nice teamwork dynamic, it’s fun, but not essential, summer viewing.

Hollywood Reporter

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A highly entertaining entry guaranteed to give the franchise continuing life.

Empire (UK)

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A return to fun, and a return to form for the new version of the old Trek.

Variety (USA)

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It’s a sturdily built movie that gets the job done, and it’s got a likable retro vibe.

Guardian (UK)

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It is the inter-relationship of the Enterprise’s crew which is the real source of drama. An entertaining adventure.

Time Out London

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This is all fun all the time, a dizzying carnival of wisecracks, fisticuffs, explosions, chases and truly eye-popping effects.

FilmInk (Australia)

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A bold, entertaining spectacle.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

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Star Trek Beyond is exactly what a Star Trek movie only ever really needs to be – a great episode. No more, no less.

Keep on Trekkin'

Boldly putting the fun back into the franchise, this 13th STAR TREK film, the third in the rebooted and CGI-suited Trekiverse, is pretty entertaining. Littered with laughs, action and cool CG, what it lacks in character development, story, subtlety, sci-fi chops or intellect it tries, a little too desperately (for me at least), to make up for in hip, flip, whizz-bang schtick.

Justin Lin, fresh off the braindead, macho fun and frenzy of THE FAST AND FURIOUS franchise, (where he directed 5 and 6 and FAST AND FURIOUS), is a proven action director, who can handle light comedy drama very well indeed. Here he does just that, pleasing the crowds with some spectacular space stuff, including a stand out set piece featuring The Enterprise, in a fight, set to the music of The Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’. Cool, right? Hip, flip, whizz-bang schtick.

Harking back to the well-established characters, undergoing a self-contained adventure format of the original STAR TREK TV series, BEYOND sets up our heroes as good guys, and Idris Elba’s alien as plain bad. No room for subtlety in characterization, no room for complexity in the plot.

Still, the script, by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, has plenty of heart and humour, relying on interesting pairings of our heroes to milk the fun of mismatched buddies and get back to what that old, original TV show did so well. Which was, in essence, to set up characters we got to know and love, and have them explore the odd moral dilemma, in the certain knowledge that, though they may stray on occasion, they’ll wind up doing the right thing.

Stand-out comedy buddies here are Spock (an otherwise underutilized Zachary Quinto), and Bones (Kiwi star, Karl Urban), the oddest of odd couples making the funniest duo since Shatner and his hairpiece. Talking of Kirk, Chris Pine plays a more mature ship’s Captain, and whilst his acting remains pretty wooden, he at least appears to be relaxing into the role. Pegg, as Scotty, plays the comic relief role JJ Abrams set him up to be in the first two movies in his rebooted timeline, and seeing the late Anton Yelchin in his final Trek evokes memories of how good he was in GREEN ROOM and what might have been.

Of the newbies, Sofia Boutella as the alien, Jaylah, kicks ass as a fiery warrior, while a masked Idris Elba does his best to threaten and emote behind all that latex.

There are plot holes a-plenty, and character depth is ejected in favour of beaming up gags and action set-pieces. That said, it remains a fun, if limited, voyage with some much loved characters. Let’s hope their next adventure sees the crew go boldly forth with a better script, a fiercer villain and a less contrived, slightly more complex narrative.

Still, if it’s escapist, big screen adventure you seek, you could do far worse than BEYOND’s popcorn-crunching fun, and, whilst the 3D's pretty impressive during space battles, it adds little to the rest of the experience.