Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Star Trek Beyond (2016) (Movie Review – First Impressions)

     Boldly going for 13 theatrical movies is 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond”, and the third installment in the post-reboot franchise. Now 13 films is quiet the accomplishment, and it’s around this point that things usually run out of steam and get tired. Thankfully that is not the case with “Star Trek Beyond”, because this is yet another excellent, fast paced outing with the crew of the Enterprise. It didn’t exactly knock my socks off, but I went in with an open mind, and decided to just have fun with yet another space adventure from my personal favorite franchise. I’d go so far as to say that this film was leaps and bounds better than the previous film “Star Trek Into Darkness”, but it’s too early for me to say if I like it more than the first reboot “Star Trek” that came out back in 2009. My biggest issue with the previous film is that it trudged over to many familiar grounds and plot lines from previous films, “Star Trek Beyond” thankfully takes advantage of this rebooted series, and gives us something we haven’t seen yet ... at least from the movies.

    The Enterprise has just completed its third year of its scheduled five year mission, and things are going well, all except for Kirk and Spock who are both feeling a little tired and are considering a change in carrier. Already I liked this opening because the original series only ran for three years, and now it’s like picking off where the show ended. It’s an especially nice touch how Kirk refers to their past adventures as very “episodic”. Soon an alien woman is rescued from deep space and relies a message to the captain that her ship crashed on a nearby planet and need aid. Naturally the Enterprise goes to investigate, only to be lured into a trap by a massive armada commanded by a nasty new enemy called Krall. After a deeply thrilling space battle, the Enterprise is reduced to space debris, and crashes on the planet. Now the valiant crew are scattered, and have to work together with some new allies to escape the planet, discover why this new enemy attacked them, and more importantly find a way to defeat them.Visually the film is a gorgeous Marvel to behold. From the planets landscapes to the special effects, everything is one big feast for the eyes. Early on in the film we see a space station called “Starbase Yorktown”, and it is one of the coolest, most original designs I’ve ever seen in a science fiction movie.

     I love that this adventure takes place entirely on a planet, and it allowed us to spend more time with the crew as they work with each other, and develop stronger bonds through the experience. Scotty is given a lot more screen time, and it was a really nice treat to see Spock and McCoy together for most of the film. Their chemistry was always my favorite element of the original series, and I’m happy to say that it carries over into this film beautifully. We also have a new character named Jaylah, who’s a female alien scavenger and was also stranded on the planet. This character stole every scene she was in, and I really hope we can see more of her in future films or maybe even in a new TV show. The only character that didn’t grab me was the new villain Krall. He’s a character with a good back story, and I liked the twist at the end, but for the most part, I just found him kind of generic and dull, although his design was kind of cool. The rest of the cast reprise their roles respectively, and naturally I savored every moment with the late Anton Yelchin in the role of Pavel Chekov, who was taken way too soon. This movie is also dedicated to the memory of the late Leonard Nimoy who played the original Spck, and in a very nice touch this film also works the death of the older Spock into the film, and it works surprisingly well. 

     The action scenes were mostly good,  I think the shaky cam got really out of hand, but the film made up for that with some originality, most notably this one scene in which Kirk is driving around on a motorcycle. The epilogue was also very touching, and probably the best ending we’ve had sense “Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home”. In the end, I can’t make a persuasive argument “Star Trek Beyond” is a big game changer for the series, but it was perfectly enjoyable, and will likely stand over time as a strong entry in the revenant Sci-Fi series.

                                                  I give “Star Trek Beyond” 4 Stars out of 5.               

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