Pine’s handsomeness (just to harp on a little longer) is almost an old-fashioned, matinee-idol handsomeness, and this is significant because Star Trek Beyond is an old-fashioned, matinee kind of film. In previous decades it would have been a cowboys-and-Indians flick, complete with painted mountains in the background and stiff expository dialogue that can be safely drowned out by popcorn rustling. And, just like Star Trek Beyond, it would have been entirely carried along by its handsome lead, his steep tan face filling the screen, mural-size but still mathematically flawless.
The film itself will age about as well as those hokey now-forgotten Westerns. One of its problems is that everything that happens in it, plot-wise, feels inconsequential. Unlike Star Wars, which was always intended to be an epic saga, Star Trek is a TV show that has to be distended to fit a feature-length template. When Star Trek Beyond opens with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine – did we mention him?) complaining that life aboard the USS Enterprise has become ‘episodic’, we know that something disruptive and cinema-sized is about to happen.
And so it does. There’s a crash-landing, a capture by enemies, an important world-ending device. There’s a scene in which Chris Pine gets to ride a motorbike (a space motorbike!) in an understandable concession to the fact that he looks very cool doing so. Idris Elba plays the villain under so much alien-face make-up that he’s entirely unrecognisable and incomprehensible. It’s like he’s wearing a seal as a balaclava.
The screenplay, by Simon Pegg (who stars as Scotty) and Doug Jung, is a ream of technical spaceship-doodad blather interspersed with some great buddy-film jokes. You can tell that someone read the script and demanded that multiple funnies be sprinkled over the top. God bless that person. The jokes have a very sitcom feel to them, and combined with the chemistry of its stars – Zachary Quinto (rational, baffled), Karl Urban (excellent, exasperated), and Pine (handsome, handsome) – it explains why Star Trek is returning to the TV format next year, on Netflix. It’s where it belongs.
If only they could get Chris Pine to star in it.
|What||Star Trek Beyond film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
22 Jul 16 – 22 Sep 16, Event times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|