Star Trek Beyond
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"Star Trek Beyond," the highly anticipated next installment in the globally popular Star Trek franchise, created by Gene Roddenberry and reintroduced by J.J. Abrams in 2009, returns with director Justin Lin (“The Fast and the Furious” franchise) at the helm of this epic voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise and her intrepid crew. In “Beyond," the Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
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Since then it's like a throw away gag....blow up the Enterprise like every other movie. So in this installment we pretty much just just start with destroying the Enterprise-and who knows how many people were killed (no one even talks about it). The original Captain Kirk had serious anguish if he lost even one crew member. This Captain Kirk doesn't even mention the dozens that where lost in the vacuum of space when the ship was cut to ribbons.
Then there are lot's of wtf moments. For example, Dr McCoy barely saves metal impaled Spocks life after crash landing. Seriously, bleeding Spock reveals he's going to leave starfleet. It was as if they're having a cozy conversation in McDonalds. For all they know everyone is dead or dying. They do know of course, that they're stranded on a rocky barren planet with no apparent way of leaving. Dr McCoy, instead of telling Spock that they're most likely not going to survive the night, reply's with what's Jim going to do without you. Is Jim even alive at this point? Are you going to finish those fries?
Then there are what appears to be hundreds (if not thousands) of aliens on this planet all willing to follow the bad guy across the galaxy to kill federation folks in hundreds/thousands of tiny ships. But i didn't see any place for these hundreds or thousands of people to get lunch, or even sleep. Who trains them? Who sews the uniforms? Who charges the guns or fuels the ships and with what. Where's the fueling stations?
In the very first star trek tv episode "the cage" Captain Pike tells his Dr Boyce that he's thinking of leaving Star Fleet because he is no longer excited about Star Fleet. When the episode is over his excitement is renewed.
In this latest story Captain Kirk tells Dr McCoy that he's thinking of leaving the Enterprise because he is no longer excited about space. When the movie is over his excitement is renewed.
Well at least they didn't bring Kahn back.
The story picks up in the middle of the Enterprises famous 5 year journey. And amazingly they hit it head on. Discussing and bringing forth the fatigue, the boredom, the routine that comes on from such a long journey. But luckily the ship is getting a resupply and shore leave stop at the Federations newest Starbase. The massive space snowglobe that is Yorktown station. From there they are dispatched on an emergency rescue mission (in full on Trek tradition the Enterprise is as always the ONLY ship in range.)
And thus begins the movies first major action sequence. Like all such action sequences in modern movies, goes on far far longer than it is able to hold the viewers attention. To give ST Beyond credit, it is actually less guilty of this than most other modern movies. This one goes on only almost too long as opposed to much too long. Battle, destruction, running on walls, things falling, Enough Explosions to satiate Michael Bay.
From there the crew are scattered on a remote planet. Most captured and enslaved by a nasty alien race. It is during this period that we get a tremendous amount of really really good character moments. The Spock/McCoy interactions are some of the best moments in any Trek movie, going back to the Shatner/Nimor/Kelly era. we meet the new badass alien battle chick (who I hope becomes a franchise regular. She was that much fun.) And we get to watch Star Trek being Star Trek and Kirk being Kirk. of a particular delight to Star Trek fans is the story draws heavily not simply from the original 1960's Star Trek, but it also ties it together incredibly well with the 2000's era Star Trek Enterprise prequel TV show. It bridges the gap unexpectedly.
Negatives, yeah there are a few. The biggest involves the use of some glaring 20th century anachronisms far far too much. Much like the annoying Corvette scene at the begining of Star Trek 2009, we have a Kirk on a motorcycle scene that both feels wildly out of place, and does once again go on minutes too long. And the final climax or solution to the problem seems to come straight out of "Mars Attacks". It's jaw droppingly stupid. Although you can't hate it too much as it knows it is stupid, and fully takes ownership of the stupid, which makes it both more ok and rather meta.
The only other flaw with the movie revolves around Idris Alba's bad guy. he feels under developed. Which is heartbreaking once we finally learn his backstory. Further add to this that they layered Alba under tons of prosthetics. Alba is one of the worlds current finest actors. But acting through prosthetics is a special skillset. Actors such as Ron Perlman have made a career of mastering it. Alba much like the similarly taleneted Oscar Issacs over in X-Men Apocalypse was far to confined and restricted in the makeup and suit. It muffled too much of what he brought to the role. It turned him into a mediocre throwaway villain instead of the more memorable Khan like antagonist he should have been.
Given Anton Yeltsin's tragic death after making the movie, the final scene is amazing, heartrending and the perfect goodbye. Overall the movie is a much watch for Star Trek fans. And was one of the more fun genre movies in an overly crowded summer. Well worth owning and watching at home.