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Star Trek Beyond

Year: 2016
Studio: Paramount
Director: Justin Lin
Producer: JJ Abrams
Writer: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Sofia Boutella, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba, Deep Roy, Greg Grunberg, Jeff Bezos

The most notable element of the rebooted Star Trek films is the way they've been built for the big screen, filling it with the scope that conveys size rather than just making everything bigger than it is on TV.

Incoming director Justin Lin is certainly no slouch at it thanks to his experience with the Fast and the Furious films, and with former franchise director JJ Abrams now producing, an appreciation for the unique language of modern cinema sci-fi was a given.

Other than that there's nothing really outstanding or memorable about the story itself. There's a new challenge, a new villain, new stakes and new set pieces that are just as effective as (and adhere to the tone of) the first two movies.

This time it's a fearsome alien being called Krall (Idris Elba) who takes a disliking to the Federation. Along with his backstory, the reason why is actually pretty interesting and says something about geopolitical concepts like infinite war for infinite peace and the role of the military in society, but the reveal comes late in the story, rendering the rest of it a big screen version of the 'despot alien of the week' style of the TV show.

Like Optimus Prime, the Enterprise is attacked and destroyed for the umpteenth time (we all know it comes back more times than a dodgy vindaloo curry) by Krall's fearsome swarms of space-borne drone robots, sending it crashing to the surface of the planet below and leaving the crew scattered.

We cut back and forth between the gang and the new friends they make as they all try to get out of the various fixes the plot's put them in, all while exploring their own relationship idiosyncrasies.

It all culminates in a space station city called Yorktown, a very cool location that lends the story an exciting climactic set piece, playing with the physics of artificial gravity to great effect.

In the end it's as fun, colourful and exciting as any entry into the Star Trek canon can be, and they've once again used the mythology as the basis for a big screen thrill ride even if you're not a rabid fan. As always, there was a lot of conversation about the characters going to dark places and their relationships being put to the test, but so far the franchise is characterised by colour and fun, not darkness.

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