Summer 2016 has so far seen mixed results (critically and commercially) when it comes to sequels; for every Finding Dory, there's been an Alice Though the Looking Glass and Independence Day: Resurgence. That could change this month though, should Paramount Pictures' Star Trek Beyond and then Universal Pictures' Jason Bourne manage to land a one-two punch.
The marketing push for Star Trek Beyond - the third installment in what's now dubbed the Kelvin Star Trek timeline that began with the 2009 Star Trek reboot - is currently firing on all cylinders, ahead of the film's theatrical bow. In addition to the release of a final Beyond theatrical trailer and Rihanna's tie-in music video "Sledgehammer", Paramount has unveiled multiple TV spots highlighting the next adventure with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Yet another Beyond commercial has now been released online and it only differs from TV spots past thanks to a cameo from the movie's central antagonist: the alien Krall (Idris Elba).
"Unity is not your strength" says Krall in the above Star Trek Beyond TV spot - something that reflects the character's anti-Federation stance in the film. Beyond is arriving in time to commemorate Star Trek's 50th anniversary and aims to "deconstruct" the very philosophical backbone of the sci-fi franchise. It's fitting, then, that the movie's villain is someone who forces audiences and the heroes of Star Trek to ask themselves the question: is the Federation's (and, in turn, the Star Trek property's) call for unity in the name of peace and progress all that it's cracked up to be?
Star Trek is a franchise that has always been willing to explore sociopolitical themes and wrestle with timely subject matter and, by the sound of it, Star Trek Beyond will remain true to the series' classic form in that respect (real-life events such as "Brexit" will no doubt be referenced in many a Star Trek Beyond review). The recent revelation that Sulu (John Cho) will officially become Star Trek's first openly gay main character in Beyond has already prompted much in the way of discussion ahead of the film's release. And not just among Trekkies, but even the movie's cast members, costar/co-writer Simon Pegg, and the original actor who brough Sulu to life on the small screen, George Takei.
Whatever one's personal feelings are towards the Sulu news, the fact that Star Trek Beyond is even including such a reveal shows that Pegg, his co-writer Doug Jung, and director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) are serious about delivering a Star Trek film that is both action-packed and thought-provoking. For Trekkies who have appreciated the last two Star Trek films (Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness) for the thrill rides they are but would prefer that the series go back to its progressive sci-fi allegory roots as it turns 50, Star Trek Beyond may yet deliver the goods.
Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 22nd, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures