During an on-going expedition into deep space, the crew of the Starship Enterprise arrive on a colonized ‘city planet’ where they stumble upon the plight of a female alien who requests help to journey to an uncharted planet to rescue her stranded crew mates. However once there Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew discover a powerful enemy.
The creators of this newly rebooted franchise in the Star Trek universe have indeed done a great deal right … the casting alone is excellent with actors not only doing fine impressions of the earlier incarnations, but also bringing their own personality to the characters. I got a serious kick out of the last two movies, so it’s with a (slight) heavy heart that I found this one left me wanting. That’s not to say it isn’t good – at times very good, with some spectacular action and again great chemistry between the main actors, something that made those old movies so watchable in the first place. However three movies into this new era, we find the writing getting a little lazy with a generic villain once again going all megalomaniac after being wronged by the federation (er…we get it, the federation are assholes). All that stuff with the artefact got a tad confusing at times also. Heavily advertised bad-ass female warrior ‘Jaylah‘ who despite looking cool, also has very little depth and really, pluck her out of the movie, would the experience be any worse off? Someone like that should have been pivotal, not disposable to the plot.
Yet what remains is a couple of hours of fast-paced, action packed, fun entertainment. Justin Lin’s direction perhaps lacks the ‘class’ of J J Abrams … but doesn’t detract from great casting and some fun nods to yesteryear and nice in-jokes. Chris Pine is the perfect new Kirk and suitably supported by Zackary Quinto’s Spock and Simon Pegg’s Scotty is also excellent, not that there’s a bum note amongst the ‘crew’. However Idris Elba’s bitter ‘Krall’ is one-note and doesn’t get all that interesting until the end and even then its a bit deja-vu. With that said, as a Trek fan I still enjoyed this, but it’s clear to me the franchise should be taking a few risks by now, especially if it wants that ‘Beyond’ in the title to be anything more that a good name for a sequel.
Although far from calling myself a Trekkie, I have enjoyed the movies and grew up with a brother who is quite passionate about them along with the various TV shows. When learning that director J J Abrams was bringing the franchise up to date with an all new, younger cast – I could understand why fans were somewhat nervous what the creator of Lost may do with their beloved saga. Rest assured though that 2009’s Star Trek was a resounding success and with a (mostly) perfect cast breathing new life into very old characters – I came away rather impressed.
This second outing had much to prove – could Abrams nail it twice in a row? The simple answer to that is … yes. We return to the crew of the Starship Enterprise who get caught up in a terrorist attack on Star Fleet and accept a mission to hunt down a rogue officer who seems responsible. Joining the likes of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg this time is British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as the mysterious terrorist, who brings no shortage of sinister intensity to his role and really gives Kirk & co a run for their money.
The big-budget FX laden look of this is just gorgeous, set-design and locations all adding a wow factor (including London). Pegg has a little more to do this time around as engineer ‘Scottie’ and Quinto’s Spock is just excellent, capturing the spirit of the character as well as adding a few quirks of his own. Yet the sultry Zoe Saldana is a little side-lined, as is John Cho’s Sulu. Although not a big fan of Chris Pine, I think he is a perfect Kirk, arrogant but charming just like Shatner in his heyday, and the friendship between him and Spock is really well observed. For me the frequent nods and winks to Star Trek of old got a bit much, (“I’m a doctor, not a torpedo technician!”) bordering on satire, but were still fun. Also the script borrows a little too much from the older movies, yet still manages to make it work regardless … especially towards the end.
So a worthy sequel that in some aspects surpasses the last movie, whilst also managing to be a fine tribute to the Trek legacy as a whole. Recommended.
I just finished watching the final episode of what was one of my favourite TV shows, namely NBC’s much maligned HEROES. Now I have written on here before about my severe disappointment with the news that it had been cancelled, and that we will not be getting a fifth season. So now having watched the last episode, I admit to feeling quite sad to see it go.
I finally received the Blu-ray box set in the mail the other day and was charged a whopping £14.29 by customs. Grr. Oh well. This is still my favourite TV show regardless of its recent cancellation by network big wigs NBC.
Watched the first feature-length episode and boy, it was good to have the ol’ gang back … Claire, Peter, Sylar etc. I will never really understand why this show became so unpopular as the seasons came and went. Sure the writers made a few mistakes and had some missed opportunities, but overall Seasons 1-3 were very enjoyable. I will report a little more on this alleged final season the more I watch; just my thoughts really on how it all plays out, and wait, with bated breath an announcement of the rumoured mini-series that Tim Kring recently spoke of in an interview with TV Guide.
For now though here’s my thoughts on some of my favourite Heroes characters and how they have progressed since the show began:
It’s a sad day for television as news comes in that one of my favourite TV shows has not been renewed for a fifth season. The troubled super-powered drama HEROES by NBC and producer / creator Tim Kring has suffered rapidly falling ratings since the cut-short second season where writers had to meet the 11 episode run due to the writer’s strike. Season 3 failed to measure up to the highly acclaimed first season, and although the quality of the wrting improved for the second half and also for season 4, the viewers had already jumped ship. This is sad news as on a whole the show was still a great deal of fun with memorable characters and some good action and special effects. It also launched the careers of Zachary Quinto (Sylar) and Hayden Panettiere (Claire). I have yet to watch the fourth season, which I hear is very good, and hope that NBC do deliver the rumourred feature length spin off to wrap up some of the storylines.
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