star trek beyond review
It’s been 7 years since Director JJ Abrams, Paramount Pictures, and Production company Bad Robot blasted off a legendary franchise in a new direction with the release of Star Trek (2009). Star Trek, the legendary long-running sci-fi series, has interwoven itself into global culture, through television, movies, and even real-world science. The series, created by Gene Rodenberry, began as a 1960’s CBS series, which then grew exponentially into various new shows and a multitude of films, some of which are widely regarded as the best of all time.
In 2009, Star Trek received a reboot that paid tribute to the legacy of the franchise, while introducing an entirely new audience to its stellar adventure. This was met with extremely high critical and commercial acclaim, prompting a sequel in 2013, Star Trek: Into Darkness. While the sequel suffered some criticism, it nonetheless was another smashing success.
These two works, among others, motivated Disney to choose JJ for spearheading the new generation of Star Wars with 2015’s generation smashing film, Star Wars Episode VII, the Force Awakens. With JJ acting as a producer, the Fast and Furious director Justin Lin has been tapped to helm the third installment of the new star trek, Star Trek Beyond. In a Summer bloated with sequels and continuing installments, the expectations were high for Star Trek Beyond. The results are in and Star Trek Beyond is an interstellar blast, and perhaps the best of the new trilogy.
Star Trek Beyond revisits the crew of the enterprise, with Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban as Bones. It has been three years since the events of Into Darkness, and the crew is on a massive, deep-space exploration mission into uncharted regions of outer space. It is a five-year mission that sees the crew millions of light years away from the home of Earth, but able to visit Federation Starbases and new civilizations. The prolonged exposure to deep-space has made the crew of the Enterprise a more fluid crew, able to pick on emotions and feelings to make for a better work environment. At the same time, it hasn’t been perfect.
While on a temporary R&R leave at Starbase Yorktown, a strange visitor frantically flees from deep-space to the station. She pleas to Starfleet for help as her crew are stranded on an alien world. As the crew orbits the planet, they are ambushed by an unforeseen and terrifying new enemy. The Enterprise is, literally, ripped, apart, sending surviving crew down to the planet surface. What embarks is an adventure of survival, comradery, and decisions at the edges of outer space.
One of the great takeaways with Star Trek Beyond is the fact that is actually calls back to older star treks and feels more weighted in its words. The first two films were more reliant on spectacle and fun, with good tales to tell. However, Beyond has significant and emotional story to tell, in between the phase pulses and explosions. This time Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew are no longer inexperienced officers fresh out of the Federation academy, but now men and women of experience.
This provides a bit of growth for the main characters, they are coming to question their own mortality and purpose. Captain Kirk joined the fleet on a dare. Spock joined out of spite. After their encounters and battles, they are having revelations as crew members. Seeing them cope with these issues with each other isn’t just positive but healing and well into the spirit of the original Star Trek films.
This is most especially true during a scene between Spock and Bones sometime toward the middle of the film. It calls to mind humanity and the mind versus the human heart. Seeing these stories not only makes the movie more rewarding to see but also bring into focus why we viewers love this franchise. The ships, space travel, science, and combat are all fun but it’s the human story that matters. It furthers the connection to the audience and makes the viewers care for what is happening on-screen.
Part of this is may be due to the fact that Star Trek Beyond comes on the heels of sudden passing within the real-life Star Trek family. In 2015, having lived a remarkable and culturally defining career, Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. One month ago, Anton Yelchin, who portrays Chekov in the films, died in a freak accident at the age of 27.
In that sense, beyond is a nice sendoff to Leonard Nimoy and a tribute to his role in the franchise. While Bittersweet, it is also nice to see a shout-out to the talented Anton Yelchin as well. The story makes the movie feel like an entirely new, fresh film and the series is set for a new direction going forward.
Another is the fact that actor Simon Pegg actually wrote part of the script for Star Trek Beyond. In movies, script writing is absolutely everything and I can safely say that Simon Pegg’s contribution was not only needed but much appreciated. I hope to see more work here.
The other crew members are very enjoyable to watch. Karl Urban, whom will always be Judge Dredd to me, does a stellar job as Bones, getting plenty of good laughs and even cheers from the audience. Zoe Saldana as Uhura actually has more of a role in the film, including some action sequences. Idris Elba plays the primary antagonist, Krall, once again demonstration a towering presence and firmness as a villain. Sofia Boutella plays as the alien ally Jaylah, who is central to the story and a great action character.
As for the rest of the movie, the action is incredible, the music is phenomenal, and the visuals are, of course, astounding. Star Base Yorktown is an absolute sight to behold, while the on-the-ground actions sequences and space shots are a wonderful sight to behold. Several scenes had my hair raised, and smiling with a big grin, simply because of how well these scenes were done. Michael Giacchino, who has scored many video game and movie soundtracks, once again delivers a score that harkens back to the classics of Star Trek while making it modern.
With a fourth film already on the way, there is no telling where a fourth Star Trek film will go in this new timelines. But after three films, it is safe to say the franchise is going in a great direction. There’s no telling if it will boldly go where no man has gone before, however, it doesn’t mean it won’t be a great ride. Star Trek Beyond is an amazing sci-fi adventure that will not disappoint. It pays tribute to its legacy while allowing new fans to enjoy everything that is enjoyable about the series. Don’t miss this one!