Star Trek Beyond review – engagingly nerdy

Star Trek Beyond

A touch of existential disillusionment and some father issues notwithstanding, this latest instalment of the space adventure doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Humour, rather than the Enterprise’s warp thrust, is the driving force here. And with a screenplay that was co-scripted by Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty), the gags tend towards the engagingly nerdy, self-referential variety that will best connect with the fanbase, particularly those who cherish the slightly clunky tone of the original television series.

The key to the film’s success is knowing what to change – the scale of the special effects is worlds away from that of the original – and what to cling to. In the latter category, the costumes are key: in a colour palette reminiscent of 1960s Formica, and made from a fabric that looks like it was specifically engineered to generate static electricity and body odour, they are a touchstone of familiarity. The film-makers also crank out an old-school particle transporter, much to the horror of resident doom merchant Dr “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban).

Where the film stumbles is in the framework of the plotting, particularly during the action sequences. The film relies too heavily on the “shout something incomprehensible, do something inexplicable” technique. Too often, we are left feeling battered by asteroids and not entirely sure what’s going on.

Powered by article was written by Wendy Ide, for The Observer on Sunday 24th July 2016 08.00 Europe/London

Star Trek Beyond star Simon Pegg: ‘The entire crew would have voted Remain’ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010