Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella

Directed by Justin Lin

Star Trek. My final frontier.

While Disney and Marvel make enough money to buy the spotlight and keep it on themselves, the others continue to fight over second place. Then there’s this other, other series that just doesn’t seem to care about the high-profile glitz. It shows great faith in its audience by not audaciously attracting attention to itself. It’s arguably the most reliable franchise out there today.

Star Trek is the little franchise that could. It just chugs along, delivering consistently without anywhere near the same amount of fan-fare as its contemporaries. It feels as though the film-makers would rather keep things low-key than feed it into the hype machine. Should the bottom fall out the media are quick to swarm like alien spaceships, but keep it out of the headlines and nobody seems to notice. Thankfully a steadfast crew of writers and producers are on-board to make certain that the faith is maintained.

It gives Star Trek fans the confidence that their product is in safe, well-measured hands. I’m not up on it personally. Star Trek has just never been my thing. But their fan-base is probably the most rabid and loyal of all I’ve come across. To me Star Trek Beyond feels and looks like a purists dream come true, and that’s the most important thing. It gets one hell of a technological upgrade and it’s not a note-for-note cover, but it remains ardent to all that makes Star Trek sui generis (I learned that today, and I just had to use it) .

This devotion to tradition and film-making craft is exactly what makes Beyond tick. The sequence on-board the Enterprise is the major highlight, and from a general standpoint is perhaps the best action sequence I’ve seen this year. But after the come-down it doesn’t quite return to the dizzying heights that a sci-fi drama could promise. Much like the crew it pushes along steadily until reaching its finale and signing off. It left a lot of space to breath, and I was disappointed that a two-hour film couldn’t focus more on the themes and interpersonal relationships it nudged but never explored. However it is a rather full cast of characters, and where a bit of development could be squeezed in they managed without curtailing the film’s pace.

Speaking as a film-goer it leaves some desires, but Star Trek fans can (as far as I know) be rest assured their expectations are being met. It’s not a stand-out, but that’s because Star Trek indefatigable in taking only what is necessary from Hollywood. These people are not greedy, so forget first place, or even second. The recognition from their audience is what matters most, but it’s not an exclusive niche. Starfleet doesn’t discriminate. Climb aboard.

MRD 6 of 10

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