The second sequel to 2009’s Star Trek reboot has JJ Abrams handing over the directing chair to Justin Linn (best known for directing three of the Fast & Furious movies), while Simon Pegg – who costars as Scotty, of course – co-writes the script (with Doug Jung).
With Pegg at the writing helm it comes as no surprise that this outing is zippier and funnier than the last two. It seems the crew of the Enterprise have been boldly going (etc etc) around the universe for three years of their five-year mission, and things have got rather tedious (on board romances and fall outs, that sort of thing). After docking at a flashy new space station called Yorktown, they are finally sent off on a more interesting journey – to find a missing ship and crew – but it all goes wrong pretty fast when they are attacked by a mysterious creature called Krall (Idris Elba) and his swarm-like fleet, who quickly disable the Enterprise and scatter the crew.
Linn is obviously experienced at delivering action sequences from his previous movies, and the attack on the Enterprise is pretty impressive, while the fragmenting of the crew leads to some witty pairings as they all try to survive and get back together. Kirk (Pine) is with Chekov (Yelchin, who sadly died before the film was released), Bones (Urban) and Spock (Quinto) make a terrific double act and Scotty (Pegg) gets to spar with newcomer Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), a butt-kicking, ivory-haired alien gal who will hopefully become a permanent member of the crew, because, well, she kicks ass.
The problem here is that, for most of the movie, we have no idea why Krall wants to kill/capture/growl at everyone or what his final evil plan might be. So things splutter along a bit during the middle third and only truly get going again once he’s delivered the long-awaited expositional speech and our Starfleet heroes figure out just what they have to do to save the day. You also do question why Linn hired an actor of the calibre of Elba, only to bury him under three inches of prosthetics, not even allowing his expressive eyes to be shown behind alien contact lenses.
That being said, fans of Bones, Scotty, Spock and Kirk will be pleased their characters get some decent screen time, even if Uhura, Sulu and Chekov are sidelined, and the Enterprise herself – always the biggest star of any Star Trek movie – gets some memorable screen time in this sci-fi adventure, too.
Is Star Trek Beyond suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate and is aimed at older children and teens. Younger viewers may be scared by scenes featuring Krall and his army.
There is also a scene where one character disintegrates that would be distressing for the under-11s.