Directed by Justin Lin and produced by J. J. Abrams, starring Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, John Cho and others, Star Trek Beyond is nothing short of a high-action, fast paced and suspenseful film with aliens, starships, and new worlds. This movie moved on from where we left off in Star Trek Into Darkness and throws obstacles such as gazillions of ship swarms and a dangerous nebula in the way of the crew on board the USS Enterprise.
Things get monotonous during the 5-year long voyage, and Kirk’s crew encounter a much bigger break in the boredom then they were hoping for; during a short visit to the Federation starbase planet Yorktown to replenish supplies, Captain James Kirk receives a distress call; an escape pod, containing a female alien named Kalara, claims her ship and crew is stranded in a nebula. The USS Enterprise decides to go on this rescue mission, but their ship undergoes massive destruction as Krall and his aliens meet Kirk’s ship head on, causing them to also get stranded on the nearby planet Altamid. Turns out, Krall has attacked the Enterprise for a reason; he’s after an alien artifact which turns out to be a bioweapon that is only good for destruction, and it is on the Enterprise. On Altamid, the crew gets split up, most of them held in captivity by Krall, and it’s up to James Kirk, Spock, Chekov, and Doctor McCoy to save the crew and, eventually, Yorktown from destruction from Krall’s hands with the help of scavenger Jaylah and her “house,” an old Starfleet ship, which also contains the secret as to who Krall really is … spoilers excluded.
Before seeing Star Trek Beyond last Saturday, I had just finished seeing the first two movies, giving me an opportunity to practically see each of the three films back to back and compare them. This review could have ended up as a review and comparison of all three, but Star Trek Beyond is the only movie that matters here (disregarding archive viewers in the distant future). I was a bit disappointed with Star Trek (2009) and highly satisfied with Star Trek Into Darkness, but a lot of us had been anticpating as to whether Beyond would be a success, a flop, or neither.
Beyond nearly exceeded my expectations.
The characters were great. I thought it was creative to have James Kirk narrarating in the beginning. Overall, I actually really enjoyed Chris Pine’s performance in this movie; Unlike the first two Star Trek films, where he struck me as a sleazy womanizer who seemed to finally change for the better towards the end of Into Darkness, Kirk’s character in this film came across to me as an honorable, mature hero, respected by the ship as a responsible, open captain of the ship, but still retaining that sense of humor that keeps his personality in check.
Spock was as awesome as ever (who doesn’t like Spock anyways?) and his character kept developing in this movie alongside hilarious scenes with his Vulcan logic drive during communication with Doctor McCoy; you’d think those two are an unlikely pair, but turns out, a unique friendship grows between the two near opposites, and I loved both characters all the more.
Uhura definitely could have been worse (which means she was pretty good; I liked her better) and had more of a lead role. Just like Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, all the other familiar characters received more character development as far as relationships, personality, and background goes. Sulu is now becoming my new favorite, and Chekov (may he live long and prosper!) was still the highly excitable techie, and will always be beloved among Trek fans. Scotty? His character, to my pleasant surprise, also got more attention. His accent alone proves his awesomeness. The Starfleet’s crew also takes in a new member, Jayla, an alien scavenger girl, with a heart bent on revenge against Krall for destroying her people and killing her father. She befriends Scotty and helps him find his friends in return for him fixing her ship, an old abandoned vessel that proves itself worthy as something more than a piece of junk.
The USS Enterprise was a favorite character of mine … in fact, all three movies treat the spaceship as a character. Think about it; every time you first see it appear, the epic, sweeping soundtrack plays like it plays for no one else. In the last half of Into Darkness, the crew was going crazy not only to save their lives, but to save their ship. Plus, you know you’ve heard the saying “the captain goes down with his ship.” As we all know, James Kirk gave his life to keep her going and all the souls inside her that were precious to him. In Beyond, something happens to the Enterprise, but I don’t know how extreme some people go with spoilers. You have to watch the movie to find out for yourself.
The villain was pretty cool, but it took me reading the plot right after watching the movie for me to realize it. Krall first appears to us as some random, stereotypical alien guy who just wants some weird monolith thingie and will kill tons of innocent people without thinking twice to get it. Turns out, there’s a lot more to the villain than that, and I could talk all about it, but that would be spoiling it. As I’ve said before, the artifact turns out to be a bioweapon that disintegrates humanoids in seconds, and this is the very thing that Krall uses to destroy a certain planet (and guess who tries to stop him?). His character is nearly as intriguing as Sherlo—I mean, Kahn, from Into Darkness and I thought that both these two villains were more three dimensional than Nero (though let’s admit, Nero’s spaceship was pretty cool).
The starbase planet Yorktown was also incredible; it is basically Star Trek’s Coruscant. The city itself is sprawled out in a strange pattern, with highways and city lines going every which way from the center. It’s all contained in what looks from space a giant clear bubble, which generates some type of artifical gravity. From inside, it may seem a bit disorienting, walking on an urban sidewalk and seeing upside down skyscrapers across the way. It’s a very uniqe design.
Personally, the action in the movie was a bit tense, and constant suspense and anticipation in scenes of inevitable danger really wore on me. Not that the movie was lacking in humor and buoyancy, however (you put Spock and Doc McCoy together, and you know there’s going to be plenty). Fortunately, I felt that the violence wasn’t too overused, as some movies tend to be, and there were only a couple gory shots. Unlike the first two movies, there were no unnecessary promiscuous scenes, which made the viewing comfortable. The language was very mild. I think it would make for a good family movie if the action was toned down a bit and the aliens weren’t so freaky, but it’s sci-fi (strange and creative creatures are expected and appreciated by particular audiences). Some of us who saw the movie noticed that the lighting was slightly off in at least the beginning of the movie; some scenes were very low lit, but it didn’t effect the viewing too harshly.
The end credits, as usual, were amazing. I’ll always look forward to the beautiful shots of stars, planets, and nebulas at the end of the movie to accompany Michael Giacchino’s sweeping main theme. At the end of the first round of end credits was a tribute to Leonard Nimoy (died 2015), the actor for future Ambassador Spock, and Anton Yelchin (died June 2016), the irreplcable actor for Chekov.
Overall, the story for Beyond was unique and intriguing. New characters, new challenges, new enemies, and a warm, wonderful ending where relationships (and ships) are built and revived, within the crew and with the inhabitants of Yorktown, which makes discovery of the unknown possible; to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before … and, well, beyond.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think, in comparison to the earlier films? Your thoughts on new characters such as Jayla? I look forward to hearing readers’ opinions. Don’t forget to check out this cool YouTube video review of Star Trek Beyond at Constant Collectible!
May the Force be with you May you live long and prosper.