Star Trek is one of the many things that my late father shared with me when I was young, and it maintains a special place in my heart to this day. We would spend hours upon hours watching VHS tapes of The Next Generation (still my favorite) and the Original Series. The older I became, the more I appreciated this wonderful blend of science and science fiction. “Star Trek Beyond” is the third instalment in the current rebooted franchise. This time around, Justin Lin was at the helm (Fast & Furious) while J.J. Abrams worked as a producer. The crew of the Enterprise is in the 3rd year of its 5 year mission to search for new life and new civilization. After responding to a distress call, the enterprise falls under attack by a mysterious enemy with strange ships and weaponry. Being vastly out gunned and outnumbered, the Enterprise was nearly destroyed and crashed onto a supposedly uninhabited planet. What’s left of the crew must now work together to reunite and over-come their staggering odds.
Admittedly, I went into this movie loaded with doubt. Having never been a big fan of the Fast & Furious movies, I wasn’t sure Lin would be able to carry the torch passed on to him by Abrams. Also, none of the trailers were very appealing, which I took as a bad omen considering how much I love this franchise. I’ve never been happier to have been proven wrong. “Star Trek Beyond” has the potential to be my new favorite of this series. It may possibly even be the best of the franchise. It’s full of witty fun dialogue, enormously likable characters with excellent chemistry, magical action sequences, and a surprising amount of heart and originality. Furthermore, “Beyond” definitely smashed the nostalgia button, but in the best most loving way possible. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear throughout the majority of its runtime.
All of the returning cast have become very comfortable in their roles. Everyone’s performance was spot on and highly enjoyable. Two characters however, did manage to stand out just slightly more than the rest. Fate would have it that Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) were paired together after the crash. Anybody who’s seen the Original Series, or even the last couple of movies, know that these two don’t exactly see eye to eye. Their opposing personalities made for some uproariously funny banter that eventually led to the reluctant development of a deep friendship. It was pure joy seeing this chemistry perfectly recaptured by these wonderful performances.
Newcomer to not only this franchise, but to Star Trek in general is Jaylah, played by Sofia Boutella. This completely original character was a terrific addition, and Boutella did a spectacular job with her performance. She was an insanely adorable, smart, and charismatic warrior who managed to hold her own against the already established (and iconic) Star Trek characters. Her interactions with Scottie were a lot of fun as well. The two of them made a great duo, and they produced several sincere and heartfelt scenes together. Jaylah is a perfect opportunity for them to add their own character to the permanent roster of Star Trek, which has yet to be done. I just can’t stress enough how likable this character is, and I genuinely hope to see her in future installments.
With “Star Trek” and “Star Trek Into Darkness”, we have been conditioned to expect wondrous action set pieces that are filled with awe and spectacle. Thankfully, “Beyond” doesn’t disappoint. Although there may not be quite as many as the previous entries, the ones on show were lengthy and very impressive. The final act in particular has a space sequence that was absolutely bonkers, and I loved every second of it.
The only thing “Beyond” struggles with is its villain, and its villain’s motivations. Idris Elba plays the part of Krall, and along with everyone else in this movie, his performance was top notch. That’s not where the problem lies though. His motivation wasn’t clear or well portrayed, and the situation we find him in is overly confusing and not properly explained. Once more light was shed on him further along in the movie, it did answer some questions, but brought up several more. After repeat viewings it may become clearer, but as of now it’s by far the weakest part of the movie.
Nostalgia is positively dripping from every aspect of this film, but in all the right ways. Even the movie posters resembled the ones used in 1979 for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (see below). This movie celebrates the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and manages to pay respect to the originals without sacrificing the integrity of this movie and its story. There were multiple occasions to which I actually teared up because a moment was so reminiscent to my childhood. They paid homage with both subtle and direct approaches. An example being practical set designs that resembled the sets used 50 years ago. I would love to go into detail about the more direct portions, but that would put me into spoiler territory. “Beyond” demonstrates the proper use of nostalgia in a sequel/reboot…….That’s right, I’m looking at you Independence Day Resurgence.
“Star Trek Beyond” was by far the biggest surprise I’ve had this year at the theater. It’s a much more personalized movie than its predecessors, and really concentrates on character development and relationships. I truly enjoyed the first two entries in this series, but neither of them triggered the same emotional response I experienced for this movie. The action was spectacular and a lot of fun, while the effects (both computer generated and practical) were astounding. They may have stumbled a little with the villain, but towards the end it all came together quite nicely. This magnificent trip into space is definitely worth the price of admission and much more.
Final Score: A
Beyond is probably my favorite film of the year so far. I’m so happy that Justin Lin knocked it out of the park. Are you excited for this movie? If you’ve already seen it, do you agree with my opinions? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section. As always, thanks for reading.