Monday, 14 December 2015


Monday, 14 December 2015

Let me restate my 'Trekking' background, for those unaware. I'm a huge Star Trek fan. Not dress-like-a-Klingon huge, or even house-filled-with-merchandise huge, but I've seen all of the shows and films since being introduced to it as a boy in the mid-'80s. The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were formative TV experiences for me. I still tear up over Spock's death scene in Wrath of Khan. And I loved J.J Abrams' Star Trek reboot from 2009. I even enjoyed his sequel from 2013, Into Darkness, which I know rubbed a lot of fans up the wrong way. It made some missteps, sure, but I still think it was very entertaining.

Star Trek Beyond is the latest film, due out next summer, and J.J Abrams has stepped down as director (I have no idea what he's doing now, ahem). In his place is Justin Lin from The Fast & The Furious franchise, and star Simon Pegg is co-writing the script. The trailer hit the Internet today and it looks... I don't know, really. A mess? Sort of. I think that's probably unfair, but the trailer certainly doesn't tell a very coherent story. I have no idea what this film is about, beyond the basic idea that the U.S.S Enterprise crash lands (uh, AGAIN?) and the crew become stranded on a hostile alien world. It's Trek-does-The 100? I can't discern much more than that, without laboriously inching my way through the trailer frame-by-frame.

It looks fast and furious, ironically. These new Star Trek movies are obviously trying to grab the interest of casual moviegoers, who think of Trek as being very serious and "not fun". J.J Abrams certainly Star Wars'd the franchise up a little, and every movie is more action spectacle than sci-fi drama, but that's fine with me. The original series this is (sort of) mimicking was also a fun romp, really. I'm just glad Trek is successful again, and these films have undoubtedly led to CBS deciding to make another Star Trek TV series for 2017 (the show's natural home, let's be honest). I'll get my true Trek fix there, but these films are a good companion in their own way—mainly because they're so fantastically designed, and the cast's performances and chemistry together is excellent.

But is Justin Lin taking things a bit too far? It's only a trailer, I know, but the use of the Beastie Boys track throughout this footage reeks of a studio exec trying to give it a slight Guardians of the Galaxy vibe. And Kirk does a stunt on an old-fashioned motorcycle? Anachronisms have their place, but it all feels a bit unnecessary. I wish we didn't live in a world where Star Trek had to keep aping other 'space movies' that have been hits, to justify its own existence. It's a granddaddy of modern sci-fi adventures, so it should be the one taking the lead. Wouldn't it be cool if a director like Christopher Nolan did a Star Trek?

What do YOU all think? (Still psyched for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, right? Okay, moving on...)

Star Trek Beyond warps into U.S cinemas 22 July 2016.