Pick Of The Month: Star Trek Beyond

To boldly go where no-one has gone before. You don’t need to be a Trekkie (or a Trekker if you’re so inclined) to know that this comes from Star Trek. Only a few things have had such an impact on pop culture as Star Trek has and this year sees the franchise celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Although the cast and setting may have changed over the years as the torch was passed from the original 1966 series to the next generation, the message of Star Trek has stayed the same; be compassionate to your fellow human.

You can imagine then that fans were a little more than concerned that this legacy and message may be lost when it was announced that J.J. Abrams would be rebooting the franchise for the big screen. But luckily Abrams found the balance between the heart of the series and an action blockbuster, much to the fans’ (and studios’) delight.

This month sees the latest entry in the series being released but just what is the newest instalment exactly about?

So far we’ve seen the crew of the U.S.S. enterprise stop planet destroying Romulans from the future as well as prevent an intergalactic war orchestrated by a psychotic super soldier and an insane admiral. So now what? Well it turns out the crew is actually half way through its five-year voyage into deep space. Surely nothing could go wrong?

Of course it does, the ship is attacked by an unknown alien fleet and destroys the ship, forcing all surviving crew to land on an unknown planet. Cut off from the federation with no chance of rescue, the crew must face this new threat whilst trying to figure how they can escape the planet and make it back to federation space.

What can we expect from this, the thirteenth movie in the series? Well the full cast is returning, so don’t expect any weird recasts to pop up; from Chris Pine as Captain Kirk to Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Uhura to Karl Urban as Dr. ‘Bones’ McCoy, everyone is on board including the recently sadly passed Anton Yelchin as Chekov.

New additions on the other hand are Sofia Boutella as an alien warrior trapped alongside the crew on the planet and the big bad will be played by the outstanding Idris Elba as the alien warlord Krall.

Expect the action to be brought up a few levels in the latest entry. Justin Lin is at the directing helm this time round with J.J. Abrams in the producer’s seat and we should be ready for a shift in the focus of action. For those unaware Lin is the man behind the majority of the Fast and Furious Franchise, directing Tokyo Drift to Fast and Furious Six, all of which are considered some of the best in the series.

We’ve already seen the same level of action in the trailers with Kirk zooming about on a bike but it’s on an even greater scale with the space ships as they open fire and collide in the cold of space. In short, the action is going to be on point.

Secondly the film is going to be a lot of fun. The story and script has been written by none other than Simon Pegg and Doug Jung and you can bet they’ve made sure that the thing isn’t a snooze fest. For you purists out there, Pegg is a self-confessed Trekkie so don’t expect anything that will bastardise the core of what Star Trek means or the characters doing things completely out of the ordinary (looking at you Dawn of Justice).

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Finally expect the characters to be a lot closer in spirit to the originals as we have seen the crew evolve from a young inexperienced group to a well-drilled and seasoned crew and as such far closer to the originals, more so than before. Kirk will be more of a leader and captain, Spock will be the ever suffering voice of reason and Bones will, well Bones is going to be Bones.

Will it be successful at the box office? It’s not an easy case of yes or no. On one hand its Star Trek, it’s going to draw in the fan base as well as casual film goers but many have expressed fear that the amount of action has turned the series closer to Star Wars than Star Trek.

Of course this could be attributed to the initial trailer reaction and a hard to please fan base but the change in director and choice of original story with no fan service safety net could backfire but there’s little risk of the movie being a complete flop.

So, set your phasers to fun (that’s right I said it) and see what’s Beyond the final frontier.

Star Trek Beyond is in UK cinemas 22 July.

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