Friday, 22 July 2016
REVIEW: STAR TREK-BEYOND
Frontier & Furious
122 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella & Idris Elba. Director: Justin Lin.
50 years! Half a century. That's how long 'Star Trek' has been in space. The final frontier. All for the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Continuing it's mission. Seeking out new lives and new civilisations. Boldy going where no one has gone before. Except the late, great forefather Gene Roddenberry. Who from the outstanding, original series to next generation and those in 'Deep Space Nine' continuing Enterprise's voyager, all the way to the warp speed streaming of a new Netflix show in the next dimension has influenced it all. But nothing has seemed quite as inspired as J.J. Abrams original Kirk and Spock series movie reboot classic in 2009 from the moment a before 'Thor' Chris Hemsworth introduced himself to the world he sacraficed his fathering George Kirk character for so poignantly and every pure emotion evoking powerfully. Before the script flipped elation of the Kirk kid going all Thelma no Louise in a drop-top classic Cadillac through the cornfields of vintage/futuristic Iowa to the 'Sabotage' of the Beastie Boys illest communication now as synomynous to this series as it is iconic too it. And those who love a good nostalgic retro throw and call back will just love riding along with this hip-hop gem again like another powerful fight song from Public Enemy. Almost as much as they'll love seeing one of this series' best characters-albeit in the few minutes of one act-Hemsworth back in the chair for 'Star Trek 4'. Now that film will be a beast boy. But let's not go beyond 'Beyond'. After going boldly but bleakly 'Into Darkness' with Benedict 'Cumberhench's' Khan character for the supped up sequel that was fellow 'Bard Brit Hiddleston's glass celled Loki 'Avengers' inspired, J.J. ended his five year mission by going against what all die hard fans could ever imagine out of this world by directing the new 'Star Wars' film with what now looks like his 'The Force Awakens' audition. But boy did he knock it far, far away and out the galaxy as the science fiction master is now the go to genius when it comes to rebooting iconic cult classics for their own maiden voyages in space...FACT! Now when it comes to the wild west versus spaces seven seas twin rivaling sci-fi space franchises how can you choose between 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek'? Like choosing between Stallone or Schwarzenegger. The Lakers and Celtics. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Batman or Superman. It's like being asked which of your kids you love more. It just has to be equally...even if you do favour the eldest. It's too close to call. You can't have one without the other. And as Abrams goes from lens-flare director to executive producers chair he gives the comm to the Linsanity of Justin Lin. The famed 'Fast and Furious' director that's taking J.J.'s Enterprise beyond warp speed and hitting the Nitrus.
Beyond 'Darkness', drifting through the solar system like it was the neon of downtown Tokyo, Japan, Justin Lin pulls off his biggest job since the 'Fast Five' heist in Rio. Now we're one string vest away from Vin Diesel pulling up alongside the Starship Enterprise in some American Muscle you know can fly (if you saw it Burj Khalifa in Dubai like it was Tom Cruise), and challenging Kirk to one last ride. But what would get hit first? The nitrus or warp? Still Justin has shown he's not just about the cereal box cars-although in this craft he does bring bikes worthy of Bourne-directing the first couple of Colin Farrell formidable episodes in season two of the cruelly wrote off but still critically disappointing 'True Detective', for your filmography evidence. Plus with all joking aside however this franchise has had to race against a lot of loss and we're not talking about the directors driving seat. The halfway to 100 'Star Trek' franchise itself has been hit by many a seismic shift over the last year as tragic as 2016 has been. First we said Live Long and Prosper one last time forever to the original Mr. Spock Leonard Nimoy who passed away early last year and then all too tragically and accidentally we lost one of our youngest and best. The sweet soul of Anton Yelchin who made Chekov beloved again. Passing just weeks before this and many more films the versatile character created were set to be released. And beyond this film as the cast and crew pay tribute to Nimoy on screen with a testament tribute, Lin trademark toast to those we love who we have lost, the look on Anton's a million stories able to tell actors face is almost as powerfully poignant as his no longer able to be funny, meta joke, red shirt reaction in 'Into Darkness' is now cruelly so. But still in his final Trek his buddy dynamic with Pine's Kirk reminds us that when it comes to losing the people we love after the mourning they live forever and are to be remembered in the happy and good memories. But oh to hear him say "Captain On The Bridge" one more time. To add insult to tragedy almost like Shatner, original crew member George Takei snubbed 'Star Trek: Beyond's' John Cho's compelling character and arc in finally revealing Sulu as having a husband and family. An actual amazing tribute to Takei and all he had to put up with and go through, even on a show that was multi-cultural and accepting in almost all relations in a future leading methaphor for the changing times which we actually still need now more than ever. The still gracious George thinks it skews Gene's original vision. But with all overdue respect does he not know what this new timeline reboot series alongside the original is all about? Or how tastefully and subtley beautiful the moment to be seen on screen is handled with respectful care and no trace of any kind of Hollywood bulls###? At least Zachary Quinto in his defense does more than admirablly honor Spock and Nimoy. Like two fingers together...for always.
With so much damage to report like the Enterprise spoon splitting like an egg opening carnage of Linsane breakthrough, 'Star Trek' had to hit back with phasers set to more than stun. And they did...with a 'Sledgehammer'. The Sia 'Chandelier' smashing Rihanna delivered monster which was just the huge hit this franchise needed to stonecut a concrete Summer of blockbusters solid, but ones not breaking any new ground. Building everything back up brick by brick all hands are on deck for the classic crew of this new generation. Even if 'Darkness' screaming stereotype Alice Eve and her potential for more is missing off the ships log. They have to be to take on 'Beasts Of No Nation' bad man Idris Elba, breaking free of 'Apocalypse', Oscar Issac, pathetic prostetic constraints. As this Lutheran that could even beat Macklemore in a dance off breaks new ground as Krall, a Khan like threat to an 'Elysium' like community of space station humans. The 'Thor' star who is one 'I Love Taylor Swift' t-shirt away from passing and shaking co-star Tom Hiddleston's martini bar to be the new Bond is exactly the star power the third part of this trilogy needs. Like his forthcoming 'The Dark Tower' from the King of horror, he is stirring. Just like Quinto's quintessential modern Spock...always the logical choice. Or Karl Urban being both the flesh and bones of Doc McCoy. Complete with scotch and conversation on the rocks in place of Bruce Greenwood's last called Pike. 'Dammit Jim I'm a Doctor not a barman!' (I'm sorry I couldn't resist) Not to mention Galaxy Guardian Zoe Saldana leaving everyone green the way she can switch from Avatar blue to showing true. And of course 'Star Trek's Steve Rogers, your Captain oh Captain Chris Pine. Unstoppable in his finest hours as James T. Oh so charismatic and oh so Kirk even down to the wig homaging comb over hair. Slick! Comm complete with his helmsmen in front, Cho and Yelchin meaning so much with everywhere they take us. And if you want more power, the beaming Simon Pegg has it as Scotty. Even hilariously serving as screenwriter here even if you canny believe it. Like the number of times he calls Sophie Boutella "lassie", passing annoying for endearing. You'd almost think her unrecognisable alien character was canine. But the former Madonna back-up dancer that moved us so convincingly in 'Kingsman' that everyone thought she actually had metal skewering spikes for feet steals every scene she cuts. Now you know why she's here...why we're all here. To enjoy new captain Lin in the directors chair ("he likes that seat") give us an anniversary tribute to more than just everything 'Star Trek' that plays like a retro, classic episode from the old series. Frontier awakening fun and entertainment on a solar system epic scale. And not just for everyone. For Anton. Live long like your life prospered. TIM DAVID HARVEY.