WITH the reins changing hands on the Star Trek reboot series comes a change in focus.
J.J. Abrams directed the first two instalments (written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman), which built and fleshed out characters and their relationships and gave a grittier feel to the franchise.
The third has less of that.
Three years into a monotonous five-year voyage, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew on the USS Enterprise find themselves being attacked during a rescue attempt and crashlanding on a remote planet.
They were lured by Krall (Idris Alba), who enslaves several of the crew and has plans for destruction once he gets his hands on an artefact which Kirk possesses.
The remaining crew, who were scattered across the planet in pairs, must re-team to take him on.
Director Justin Lin’s very capable hands have received the reins this time, having sharpened his action skills on a string of Fast and Furious instalments. He knows how to get the pulse racing.
While his sense of scale in these sequences is impressive, he does not quite capture the excitement and urgency that Abrams did, despite his lean towards dizzying camera spinning movements.
Perhaps the issue lies in the script, with writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung halting character development.
That is not to say this isn’t a fun ride. It definitely is; Pegg’s involvement behind and in front of the camera ensures there is plenty of humour for those after a laugh.
There is also the welcome addition of butt-kicking female warrior Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and the subtle revelation of Sulu’s (John Cho) sexuality in a touching moment.
This Star Trek entry is warp speed ahead with action and spectacle but does not go anywhere boldly.
Star Trek Beyond (M)
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
Three and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now