Action, action, action…and…action!!
by Martin Hafer
Whether you like the newest Star Trek movie will really depend a lot on what you like in a movie. If you love near-constant action, tons of amazing special effects and explosions, then there is more than enough to delight you. On the other hand, if you want a film that is more plot-driven and a multidimensional villain whose actions make any sense, then you are in for a big letdown.
The plot is very, very simple. Enterprise is sent on a rescue mission that turns out to be a trap. A baddie and his minions attack and blow up a lot of stuff. Most of the crew is taken prisoner or killed and it’s up to the rest of the crew to figure out a way to rescue them and save the quadrant. There really isn’t much more to it than this.
Apart from the breathtaking special effects, the film is nice because like all the newer Trek films, it doesn’t all rest on the big three–Kirk, Spock and McCoy. There is a nice ensemble feel to it and everyone contributes about equally. Additionally, the crew’s new friend, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), is an excellent character–strikingly beautiful and amazingly tough as well as likable. I anticipate you’ll be seeing more of her in upcoming installments of the franchise.
As far as the bad elements of the film go, the baddie is wasted. He is played by the excellent actor, Idris Elba. However, he’s hidden under such thick prosthetics through most of the film that you couldn’t tell who he was. Additionally, his character’s actions and motivations just seemed confusing and muddled. Also confusing was the big confrontation scene at the end where he and Kirk square off. Now considering if Elba’s character wins, he might be able to kill millions…or more. So what does Kirk do? Instead of instantly killing the guy once he’s gotten the upper hand, they stop and chat a bit! What?! Kirk’s spent the entire film trying to defeat the guy and the villain is nearly invincible and hell-bent on genocide…you talk and give him a chance to escape?! It just came off as anticlimactic and a bit silly.
Keep in mind that my lackluster feelings about the film are based on a 50+ year-old die-hard Trekkie. I did much prefer the previous two installments. My experience clearly might not be yours–especially if you really love a lot of action. But I just would have preferred more depth to this film and a few less explosions. And, speaking of explosions, the film is available in 3-D or standard format and if you are prone to motion sickness, I strongly advise against the 3-D version.