When I heard that Justin Lin was directing the latest Star Trek installment, I was concerned that the franchise was going to veer away from the traditional Star Trek formula and become a pure action movie. After watching the trailer, I became even more concerned with all of the action sequences that were showcased. Having seen the movie, I am relieved to say that the movie was well balanced and provided something for every type of Star Trek fan (new and old).
The chemistry between the cast members seems genuine and effortless. After the Kirk near-death episode/Wrath of Khan reversal, the relationship between Kirk and Spock was well established. In this movie, Karl Urban's Bones character was finally used effectively to establish the strong relationship with his character and Spock as well as Kirk. It was a nice touch that was not fleshed out well in the previous two movies.
Idris Elba did a good job as the villain Krall and the story line was original and interesting. The Enterprise crew is in the third year of their five year mission and The Federation is expanding throughout the galaxy. It is refreshing to see the movies introduce original plots and characters and move away from the safety of "Old Spock" and "Khan" and I really liked the tribute to Leonard Nimoy's iconic Spock revealing the death of the character and giving it the weight that it deserved. I look forward to more original movies in the years to come.
I had really super low expectations for this film thanks to Into Darkness and the awful trailers but man did it surpass them. I'd forgotten how great a good Star Trek film could be. It's been so long. So very long. Sure, the reboot was a good film, but it never really felt like a full Star Trek film. And Into Darkness failed in exactly the area this one succeeded: the sense of optimism. Star Trek has always been quite utopian, at least as far as human society is concerned. One of the recurring themes of the series has been that we've evolved as a species. We've moved beyond wars of conquest and petty violence. While many of the best episodes dealt with human weaknesses, they did so in an enlightened context. And that's one of the basic premises of this film. We used to be unable to contain our violence. Now we've gotten better. The theme is one of teamwork and unity, which is another wonderful improvement on the last ones. The first two films had basically no sense of teamwork or responsibility. Here it feels like a real crew. While they are still individuals it's the team that matters. And that's great.
Better still, the film is filled with Star Trek backstory. Simon Pegg knows his stuff and it really shows. Gone are the awkward faux pas (Starfleet and the Federation being confused, transporters with multi-system ranges, etc.). In their place are flawless references to the films and series. The history in this film is built off the TV series rather than from scratch. We hear reference to the Romulan and Xindi wars. When they bring in an ancient Federation starship it looks a lot like the one from Enterprise (it's even an NX) and has a polarized hull and phase cannons. None of this is vital to the plot and not knowing the backstory won't hurt your understanding of the film, but I feel that even the uninitiated can feel when a movie's working off developed background and when it's winging it. Simon, I'll never question you again.
As a story it's a major improvement over Into Darkness, although it lacks the origin story punch of the first one. One of the best elements (and again, this is in great contrast to Into Darkness) is its placement of characters. Teaming McCoy and Spock up was brilliant as the two can always be relied upon to hit the right notes. In a welcome change, McCoy isn't even underused. Uhura is, unfortunately, although there is at least a reason for it. Kirk and Chekov make a good team too (Chekov even gets one of his 'invented in Russia' moments), and Scotty works well on his own thanks to an external monologue. Our villain also gets some substantial screen time and a good backstory, although I totally called it. I'm a bit less impressed with Kirk's character arc, although a toned down version would have satisfied me. The original series had little room for self-doubt and this one a bit much. Ah well, it does work in the end. The overall question for all characters is whether to move on and go their separate ways or find a reason to stay together. At this stage that works. Much later and it'd seem odd.
The writing here is very good. We never see our heroes fail without seeing them dynamically trying to handle it. Successes feel similarly earned. Kirk's a lot more clever than he has been in the past and actually finds a way to improvise a solution before we even realize the problem. And the final solution to what seems an unsolvable problem is both clever and believable. Even if it's a bit simplistic. Direction is good too, despite the trailers trying to sell us a Fast & Furious style adventure film. But the sense of scale and adventure is well handled. There are several inventive action sequences, including one where the camera takes us in and out of a disintegrating Enterprise to follow different crew members fighting.
There were things I disliked of course. The destruction of the Enterprise is one. Already? Is that just a thing that always happens in the third movie? At any rate, it's not likely to be permanent. Another is the limited sense of scale. We do very little traveling and have a very limited scope. And the endings seem to last a bit too long. But these aren't major issues. I'll gladly put up with them to get a real Star Trek film again. I hadn't realized just how much I needed that in my life until I got it.
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For fans of the original series this movie hits all the right notes. While previous iterations of the reboot focus heavily on space combat and gratuitous cgi of explosions,Beyond is a breath of fresh air with it’s emphasis on the camaraderie of the enterprise crew. This is the first post reboot film that places a […]
This is a great film that takes everything from the new franchise, as well as the original television show that was loved by many people. The film was directed by Justin Lin and he did an incredible job, especially when it comes to the action sequences. The performances are great all the way around the […]