Star Trek Beyond Review

I am a big Star Trek fan. I used to watch the original show when I was younger and I have seen most of the films. I know I should have seen all of them by now, but I have skipped the ones people regard to as the worst of the series (for now at least). I even liked both of JJ Abrams’ rebooted films. So how does Star Trek Beyond stack up? Well, it is an enjoyable but rather simple Star Trek film.
Fear of death is illogical
The strongest aspect of this film is the cast. Each and every character/actor has his or her moment to shine. The first two Star Trek films of this rebooted franchise paid heavy focus to the relationship between Kirk and Spock, but this time around the film has some fun by pairing up characters. The best pairing is Spock and Bones. Karl Urban has been underutilized in the past two films, seeing as though he was my favorite aspect of both. This time around he gets much more screen time and pretty much steals every scene he is in. Zachary Quinto has always been good as Spock and this time is no different. He is not given as much dramatic material as the first two films, but he still brings a lot of humor and charisma to his interpretation of Spock. Chris Pine really comes to his own as Kirk in this film. In the first two films Kirk always felt like a hybrid of the Kirk from the original series and a new edgier version of Kirk. In Star Trek Beyond Pine feels like he is simply portraying Kirk and that was refreshing to see. Sofia Boutella plays a new character called Jaylah and she was pretty cool. She was given a strong backstory and had a solid comradery with the rest of the crew. This film is very simply good old fashioned blockbuster entertainment. It is light on plot, but heavy on fun through the interactions of the crew members. This is perhaps why I like the first two films more than this one. Even though they were more action packed than Star Trek used to be, they still dealt with interesting problems and made me think as an audience member. This film did not require much thinking, but it did delve into several interesting aspects once in a while. For instance: Kirk’s own mortality. This is touched on a bit during the film, but I would have liked to see it expanded.
Fear of death is what keeps us alive
Sofia Boutella is not the only new addition in this film. Idris Elba suits up as the main antagonist: Krall. Now, say what you will about Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness. I still believe he is a solid villain, one with which you can sympathize with. The film tries to make you sympathize with Krall but I never did. I felt like his whole plot was convoluted and bland. It is a shame because Idris Elba is one of the finest working actors today. Perhaps I will enjoy his character more on a second viewing, but as it stand I was not impressed. The special effects this time around were also very hit or miss. Sometimes they looked great, sometimes they did not. I could not explain why it was this way, but perhaps they rushed the film out so they could make it in time for the 50th anniversary. As I mentioned earlier, the film is very simple. There is not much substance to the plot which I find a bit disconcerting. Star Trek is supposed to be all about the story, not about the spectacle. It seems that this film focussed a bit too much on the spectacle and left the story aside. I hope that with the upcoming films they do not rehash old plot points like the Abrams films, or treat the plot like an afterthought like this film did. I would also be remiss if I did not pay homage to both Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. I know Nimoy primarily for his portrayal of Spock, but it is a portrayal that will never be forgotten. Yelchin on the other hand is an actor I have thoroughly loved since I saw him in Charlie Bartlett. He had amazing talent and I was devastated to hear of his passing. Thankfully he has a few upcoming films so this will not be the last time we see him on screen.
Closing Remarks
Is Star Trek Beyond a great film? No, but it is an enjoyable one. In some ways it feels a lot like a Star Trek episode, but in others it feels like an overblown blockbuster extravaganza. The cast does a remarkable job but it is really the plot that lets them down. With a fourth Star Trek film being inevitable, let us hope that they create a more compelling plot.


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