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Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (Spoiler Free)
I am a shallow fan of Star Trek, knowing bits and pieces of some of the two biggest shows back in the day (with Kirk and Picard mostly) and having seen all films relating to J. J. Abrams' reboot. I immensely enjoyed the first but found the second entry far too predicated on a single twist that made the homage moments feel cheap and lackluster (I really didn't care about hiding the reveal about Khan that much).
Going into this film, I had reasonable expectations from a fantastically cast crew and stellar special effects. All I was worried about was the story.
After being moderately disappointed by the second film but heavily enjoying the cast and first film, I am pleased to say I really enjoyed this one. A lot of the previous two films were dedicated as a kind of time-altered reboot, forcing itself to deal with the legacy already present in some form of media. This film breaks away from that, exploring more of Star Trek's most basic theme, exploration. Sure, there are a couple of character arcs that deal with death of father-like individuals, but especially Kirk's revolves around him becoming his own person, independent of the one he's set before himself (his father in the series, the previous series and films as a meta).
Basically, it feels a bit fresh. perhaps not as exciting as the first film, but it's a solid film.
While many of the characters have their own arc, I'll discuss the overarching plot specifically. The Enterprise is in the middle of its 5 year journey to explore the unknown reaches of the galaxy. Kirk and others feel a bit restless. But while Kirk contemplates a Vice Admiral position, he decides to answer a distress call with his ship to navigate through a dangerous nebula. It's here where things go wrong and the strength of the Enterprise's unity is called into question.
The plot works well enough. I had a minor complaint about knowing who was playing the main villain before seeing the film, making my expectations anticipating a specific outcome (but that's more a fault of mine rather than the film itself). Also, a lot of the villain's background is quickly glossed over and his appearance is left largely unspoken but can be assumed by reading through the lines.
The cast is absolutely fantastic as always. Karl Urban steals the show as Dr. Bones (but did he always have such an offputting southern accent? It comes across strained). Chris Pine does a great job as Captain Kirk, and some of the supporting cast do a fantastic job in their one or two minutes of fame (they shine brighter in the first film).
Newcomers are Idris Elba, who does a serviceable but not necessarily exciting role as the main villain, and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah, the white alien with black eye markings. Jaylah is a fun character who comes across as the adept-child archetype, young and naive but capable of protecting herself and survive on their own.
There's violence, a couple of scenes implying sexual relations (though this all happens in the span of 3 seconds and has no effect on the film), and some arguably disturbing scenes of 'torture kills' performed by the main villain. If you're fine with the previous entries, you'll be fine with this.
It's a very solid film with few complaints. Some of the music is pretty great (as opposed to the Ghostbusters film) and as always, the cast and special effects are top notch. It's not groundbreaking, but what summer film truly challenges anything further over ticket sales?
Basically, it's a fun film if you're not looking to be impressed. Check it out if you're wanting to see something in theatres this summer.
- Free from attempting to live up to its legacy of Star Trek
- Revisits the most basic theme of Stark Trek, exploration
- Still wonderfully cast and well acted with great special effects
- Solid overall but not as exciting as the first of their rebooted series