(Note: I’m so late in posting my review…this has been sitting in my draft folder for a few weeks now. Life has just consumed me and not really in a great way. This blog is my way of keeping my sanity and sharing my love of all things gaming, sci-fi, comics and all that in between since most of my friends don’t share that love and neither have my kids despite my best efforts in trying to get them into it.)
September 8, 1966 gave birth to a universe that I honestly have loved my entire life and will continue to until I’m no longer here. With this year being its 50th anniversary and the passing of Leonard Nimoy in February 2015, I was anticipating a huge marketing push with the new movie and celebration of this long-running franchise.
I say this because as a Trek fan I will read, see and hear anything connected to this world because there are many who have continued the spirit of Gene Roddenberry’s vision. So far that vision has not been seen by JJ Abrams and Co. with the 2009 Star Trek and Into Darkness. While I kinda enjoyed the 2009 movie, giving it some major leeway, I thoroughly hated Into Darkness. With this new release, I was slightly optimistic that it would be a real Star Trek movie.
So I will give my review of Star Trek Beyond having had three days to really think about what I saw. I will not give out any spoilers (as I hate that but Paramount already gave away the story in their idiotic marketing) so look elsewhere for that.
Star Trek Beyond is hyped as having more of the Trek persona than the two previous films. That’s clearly on display in one of the poster designs for the movie. What’s that you say? It looks just like the design for Star Trek The Motion Picture? Are they trying to rip off another classic Trek movie? Nah! It’s inspired by the classic (and if you can’t tell, that’s sarcasm folks).
The movie begins with Kirk on a diplomatic mission to give back an artifact to a random species (but does tie into the plot) that just feels too cartoony and created to inject some humor. Kirk is surprised when face to face with the king of this species. As a true Trek film, Captain Kirk would not have been surprised because they would have had information about the civilization and species and thus known what they were going to see. Once back on board, Kirk’s monologue let’s you know the crew of the Enterprise are two and a half years into their five-year mission. Kirk and Spock are questioning their life choices—ooh, mid-life crisis at 30—and are heading back to the Yorktown. While stationed at Yorktown—a world masked as a space station on steroids—there’s a distress beacon that comes in. A lone survivor is rescued and claims the rest of her crew are trapped within a nebula. Obviously, the Enterprise warps out to investigate. No precaution, no investigation of the survivor’s claim before warping. Sounds believable to me…let’s go. No surprise what happens next—the Enterprise is caught with her shields down, so to speak. And once again, the Enterprise is fucking ass-kicked and literally ripped to shreds. Does Bad Robot even like the fucking Enterprise? Clearly not. If it was the Millennium Falcon,
It’s at this point, Beyond becomes a straight action flick. You know the formula: beat down good guys, team splits up, lead(s) get injured, an ally is found, ally will help you if you help then but up to a point, token team member killed, give ally inspirational speech, chase scene with henchmen, bad guy start evil plan early, right-hand evil guy faces down new ally, a no-way out scenario finds a way out, chase scene with bad guy destroying shit, bad guy explaining why to good guy, good guy defeat bad guy, world saved.
All the shit in between are some awkwardly placed nods from Trek canon to pacify us Trekkies and studio heads to be able to justify their bastardizing of the franchise. Overall, this was not a Star Trek movie. What it really was is an okay, action movie that just happened to be in space.
Honestly, I just don’t know why the studio can’t find some truly remarkable screenwriters that believe in the Trek philosophy, know the franchise and knows how to write a compelling story. There are plenty out there—why can’t they seem to find them. The only things I have liked in any of the J.J. Abrams films are the score by Michael Giacchino and the cast. They just haven’t had a good script yet. Opportunities were wasted in this film from the talents of Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella, whose character had badassness all on it but the story just didn’t make me care about her, to a plot twist that just wasn’t set up right for a truly mouth-dropping surprise.
Sadly, I’m about done with the feature film aspect of Star Trek, as it is now. Until they get a writing team that really understands what this franchise is all about, I’ll just have to hope the new series, Star Trek Discovery, will give us Trek fans what we really deserve.