It's not hard for some characters to disappear in a film with many characters, and it's to Taiwanese director Justin Lin's credit that he lets each of them have their day in the sun. Lin's proficiency in this department could be due to the fact that he has marshalled a few of the Fast and Furious films.
Dr "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban) cracks jokes about saving Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto), who is mourning the death of Spock Prime (the late Leonard Nimoy) and dealing with his break up with Lt Uhura (Zoe Saldana).
Uhura has one great scene to show what she would do to save her colleagues from being cooped up with baddie Krall (Idris Elba). Incidentally, Krall gets into debates about "unity" with crew members. "Unity" often crops up in Hollywood films and it could be the US telling the world that its unity is something viewers should look up to.
Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote this film) gets to hang out with Jaylah (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service), who is the stand-out performer in this film.
Jaylah is adept at negotiation (she scratches Scotty's back and he has to scratch her back) and has a nifty digital trick to deceive baddies. She's also adept at kicking men's asses. I understand Star Trek requires funny-headed aliens, but this is one character that should have been displayed in all her natural glory.
Sulu (John Cho) is the only one with a spouse (male) and child, and Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin) blasts a few laser guns and run roughshod with Capt James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).
|Pining for safety.|
Kirk isn't as muscular and gravelly-voiced as Toretto, but he exudes confidence. Pine imbues his character with compassion and shows him struggling with uncertainty about his position in the world when applying for a high-ranking desk job.
Kirk's other conflict is living up to his late father. Bones tells him that he's been living his father's life but not his own. The father died on his birthday, so Kirk has daddy issues.
The Enterprise, in the third year of a five-year mission, docks at a distant space station called Yorktown, which looks similar to that in Elysium and Tomorrowland). The sweeping camera of Stephen F. Windon and rousing music of Michael Giacchino convinced me that this is a film to be reckoned with.
However, the plot is a downer. My antennas were raised when a female alien pleaded with the Federation to save the crew of her ship that had crashed in a distant nebula, so I was surprised when Kirk and Co flew headlong into the unknown without verifying the story. Then the great Enterprise crashes on a planet that looks like the Rocky Mountains.
|Jaylah lights up the film.|
Kirk and Co's task is to break into an enclosure to free Enterprise personnel, who look neither dishevelled nor distressed with the predicament they're in.
Breaking into a building to free people is the staple of Hollywood films, and this shows a lack of imagination on the writers' part.
But since it's blue-eyed Kirk leading the pack, I'm willing to close one eye to the film's faults. Kirk becomes more commanding and barks out orders at breakneck speed, though I wish he'd say more to Scotty than just "do something" when they're in a spot of bother.
In all, the film's collective spirit, like its multiethnic cast, will just get it over the finish line with enough oomph.
3 out of 5 stars
|All hell breaks loose.|
|A great body of work, but this is from another Star Trek film.|