Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella
Directed by: Justin Lin
Written by: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2 hrs.
On this trip to the movies I was joined by my friend, Tyler. We both consider ourselves fans of Star Trek, but fall short of wearing pointy ears and attending conventions.
To be honest, I was not looking forward to this film. After the last installment, Into Darkness, I had pretty much written off the rebooted series. It was no longer the thoughtful science fiction show I grew up with, and had become a big brainless fireworks display. Into Darkness also plagiarized the best film in the long running franchise (The Wrath of Khan), which just pissed me off.
Then the trailer for Beyond came out. Blasting Sabotage by the Beastie Boys while Kirk rides around on a motorcycle. Boldly boasting “from the director of Fast & Furious” like that was supposed to reassure us this action director knew or cared about this series enough to create something worth watching. Things were not looking good at all.
So is it any good? Sure. It’s a big step up from Star Trek: Into Darkness in that it tells a new story, and actually tries to give its character’s arcs as they ponder the future. None of this is as well developed or as moving as say, Kirks midlife crisis during Khan, but the attempt was appreciated. Beyond also feels more like an old episode of the classic TV show than the other films, and the central conflict at the heart of this story actually focuses on the ideals Gene Roddenberry cherished—a positive outlook for the future—rather than some dull plot to end all humanity, again.
Director Justin Lin keeps the pace frenetic, but knows when it’s time to slow down and properly set up the pieces before each firework show. The space action is exciting and cool to watch, but the close quarter battles are damn near incomprehensible. Idris Elba makes for a compelling villain and some of the best moments in the film happen when he’s properly getting to grind that axe.
So yeah, this was a nice surprise, but nothing that I’d want to own on Blu-ray. It’s not as much fun as 2009’s Star Trek, but a big improvement over Into Darkness. Kudos to Simon Pegg and Doug Jung for writing a screenplay that honors the old, while pushing forward with some new material. This film has somewhat restored my faith in the rebooted series, and I look forward to the next installment.
I believe this film will work for Trekkies and non-trekkies alike. It’s an exciting action sci-fi adventure, that honors the original TV show enough to keep longtime fans happy.
I was initially worried about including Sabotage by the Beastie Boys, but as it’s used in the film it works well during the final fireworks show.