First of all please let it be noted that I am a Star Wars fan, not a Star Trek fan, and so I’m not going to get all pissy about this latest Star Trek film even though it was pretty wretched. I went in with low expectations and was mildly entertained for an hour or so. I left with a smile on my face rather than a scowl and it seems these days that’s all one can hope for from a film. Also please note there are some spoilers below (like ‘the film sucks so don’t see it’ wasn’t enough of a spoiler!).
For this instalment of the franchise the bromance between Captain Kirk and Spock is put to one side in favour of giving more screen time to a ‘reluctant buddy’ dynamic between Spock and McCoy and an overall ‘strength in unity’ message that’ll really appeal to the US audience but not so much the Brexit contingent in my local cinema.
Performances vary and once again co-writer Simon Pegg is perhaps the weakest link among all the now well-established reboot cast. His Scottish accent wavers badly and his repetition of the patronizing term ‘lassie’ begins to grate very quickly. I did however smile to myself, as a Spaced fan, when Kirk tells Spock in a later scene in which our pointed eared hero explains a rather complex plan to ‘skip to the end’.
The film is full of CG effects which vary in quality, plot holes, inconsistencies and poor editing. There’s actually too much to go into in any great detail. Captain Kirk ends up riding a motorbike in one key scene (we saw the bike earlier and I let out a groan because I knew what was coming) and having a one-on-one fight with the bad guy by the end of the film. It’s real popcorn stuff with an emphasis on the 12A ‘fun’, being much less dark and having less of a coherent plot than Edge of Darkness.
I have to admit that one of the silliest parts of the film was for me, a Beastie Boys fan, one of the best bits – a scene in which they fight the bad guy’s swarm of killer spaceships by blasting out the track ‘Sabotage’ into space; which they quite rightly describe as ‘classical music’.
At the end of the film, Kirk takes an elevator up to the top of a building, which the bad guy Krall (played by Idris Elba) has magically climbed as quickly as a rat up a drainpipe, rather than being transported. Transporters are shown to be available on the huge space station complex – why the inhabitants need the trains or spacecraft we see in early establishing shots is a mystery.
Elba is wasted under a ton of prosthetics and makeup, playing the villain whose face changes over the course of the film and never quite gets back to the distinctive visage we know and love from Luther and The Wire. Why his face changes is frankly beyond me. In fact a lot of the story was beyond me.
Also as a final point I’d like to suggest to whoever makes the next film that destroying the USS Enterprise, as I am pretty sure has happened in every one of the three new films so far, needs to be avoided unless it happens in such a mind-boggling fashion as to appear original.