When you've been around for 50 years, as Star Trek has, you have to find new ways to reinvent yourself, and continuously appeal to new (read: younger) demographics. This helps explain why Justin Lin's Star Trek Beyond is rocking a new track, "Sledgehammer," by Rihanna. Obviously, Rihanna is a massive music sensation, and if you can get her to record a song -- and an accompanying video -- for your upcoming movie, you jump all over that... even if the song and video have nothing at all to do with your movie. And are really, really strange.
Truthfully, this new song could be a James Bond theme, without having to change a single thing. It's a moody, broody and soulful track, with Rihanna crooning about hitting a wall, feeling low, bracing for pain and needing to find... something. It's all laid over a repetitive beat, and a catchy piano riff that lends itself nicely to Rihanna's vocal stylings. But I've listened to it a number of times, and I don't get how this connects to Star Trek Beyond, at all. Granted, I haven't seen the movie, so it might be about Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) needing to explore a pool of Rihanna's tears after she hit a wall. (She says "I hit a wall" a lot in this song.)
How about the video? It does have a few galactic visual cues. Rihanna appears to be standing on a distant planet as he sings about hitting that wall. Then, things get super weird.
And really, I wouldn't know that this video, or the song, had anything at all to do with Star Trek if not for the brief glimpses of the Enterprise at the beginning and the end of the video. I do like how this shot uses Rihanna's face, similar to the way the actors are portrayed in the original one-sheet poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Good reference, Rihanna.
Not that the Bond theme songs ever really have anything to do with the movies in question. They usually reference the title on the movie (Rihanna doesn't do that here), but they are mainly excuses to have a trendy pop act singing a song that's part of the movie, laid over the opening or end credits.
Star Trek Beyond will find Kirk and his crew in the middle of their five-year expedition, then they encounter a villain (played by a disguised Idris Elba) who has beef with the Federation. The movie opens in theaters on July 22. Does the song make you want to see the movie?