So first allow me to apologize for this review being a touch late. I have been double checking a few things to make sure that I got one or 2 references correct. That being said allow me to give a brief..and even though it has been out for a week, a hopefully, spoiler free review of Star Trek: Beyond.
First let me lay my personal opinion out, I have always loved Star Trek. I grew up watching re-runs of TOS and watching the entirety of TNG, DS9 etc. I have seen every film, and the best are still the first three originals, the last original and Generations; most of the TNG films kind of fell flat. Needless to say these 3 current reboot/ Alt. Universe Star Trek films had their work cut out for them. With that, I can safely say that Beyond is the BEST of the current films, to me.
Beyond fixes many things that were wrong with the earlier 2 installments. THey set up the new ST universe’s mythos, yet they were also action films with a Star Trek skin stretched badly across them. Don’t read into that as me not enjoying them, because I certainly did, but a straight up action flick does not Star Trek make. Beyond however, dials back the action (its still very prevalent, but does not overwhelm) to venture more into the toils of long term space voyage and the interpersonal drama it can create. I felt this slice of Enterprise life angle was really something that the films needed. This truly helped to develop the crew characters into a close knit family. I attribute this to Simon Pegg co-writing the script. He is known for his pop-culture sensibilities and wanting to do things true to the source material and I believe that shows without being overly on the nose.
As for the plot, the film follows the usual tropes which one would expect of a Star Trek film or episode; the ship is on a long journey, it stops for routine resupply etc., there is a distress call/ escape ship from some unknown nebula, Enterprise goes in to do work, excrement hits fan. I could go on, but if I do it will spoil things and I would prefer not do so. All I can say is that even though it runs rife with the usual cliches, they are used deftly to make the film enjoyable without falling prey to becoming camp. Also, this story is interspersed with many things which build up the rich tapestry of this Star Trek’s universe and make it seem more engaging.
The characters are more fleshed out, and it is written in a way that truly shows how they have grown close like that original set they are based on. The banter between them, the bickering, it comes off verfy organically and not shoehorned in like it felt at times in the previous 2. Still though, things like this feel rushed in the film, only because we dont have an accompanying series where we could see these relationships grow in stages, thus we have to really infer things as the viewer and use past knowledge of the series to build our own opinions. Also, there have been some small character changes that have been done as an homage to certain individuals which while as a series purist I dont agree with, its not a deal breaker. However, the way in which it is done is very deft and makes the future in which they live seem very alive. One big thing akin to this is that you really get to see the diverse nature of the crew and the starbase populations. There are aliens aplenty and it really makes the federations seem more inclusive than we have seen in the past.
Finally, let me just say that any Star Trek fan should pay attention for references in what seem like throw away lines said by characters. There were a couple that I saw in particular, those being references to “The Doomsday Machine” and “Who Mourns for Adonais” from TOS. Very well done and great easter eggs for fans of the classic stuff. Also, spoiler alert, prepare for a good heartstring pull during the flick…it got me to tear up a touch.
In summation I cant say more about how much this film improved on and expanded on the first 2 films in the new franchise. They really got it right this time. It is by no means perfect however, and I do hope that they dial back the action just a little more so that they can have a more exploratory pace so that the films come off as a journey as opposed to a glut of sensory assaulting action. Beyond did a great job slowing things down, yet the series could definitely handle being turned down another half-step in the action department. Don’t let this color your opinions of this movie at all, it is well worth the price of admission, and if they keep up with working on their approach to the ST universe as they have I believe the films will just get better! Barring that they can keep the principle actors coming back…most have fulfilled there 3 film agreements and some have already expressed interest in moving away from the roles. Let us hope this does not happen.
Finally let me just say this;
GO SEE IT!
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