Star Trek Beyond is Almost as Generic as its Title

Star Trek Beyond (2016)STB1

Directed by Justin Lin

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba

The Basics:

The Enterprise is in year three of its five-year mission to explore strange new worlds and Kirk is a bit tired of the whole “seeking out new life” routine.  Particularly when that new life is constantly costing you uniforms.  On a stop-over at Yorktown – a massive, globular, Escheresque starbase – Kirk is offered the chance to relinquish the captain’s chair and turn the reigns over to Spock.  Spock, of course, has plans of his own to leave Starfleet after learning that Ambassador Spock (from the alternate timeline) has died.  Before either can speak about their future plans, the Enterprise and its crew are sent on a rescue mission to the planet, Altamid, located in the heart of a nebula (which will mess with communications, leaving  the Enterprise crew without backup, as nebulae do).  Before they can even start the rescue however, they are ambushed by Krall – a very irate alien looking for a specific artifact that is conveniently located on the Enterprise.  The ambush is incredibly successful and the Enterprise is destroyed and most of her crew is taken captive by Krall.  The remaining scattered members of the bridge crew must work together to rescue the captives, defeat Krall and escape the planet.  The Beastie Boys help.


The Good:

Very cool poster – I like the callback to The Motion Picture, even thought the story really has no parallel to that movie. I have to say, the trailers for this film did not spark any interest in me.  And I’m a life-long Star Trek fan, who actually enjoyed the first two films of the “reimagining”.  The trailers showed nothing of the plot and it just seemed like mindless action drivel set to a Beastie Boys soundtrack.  I’m happy to say the film isn’t as bad as the trailers made it out to be, though there is quite a lot of action and Beastie Boys. Thankfully, there was also some good acting.  The cast is, once again, quite superb.  In particular, Quinto and  Urban as Spock and McCoy.  Their character interplay was probably the best thing about the film.   Chris Pine is, once again, a very serviceable Kirk. Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) have minor roles, but they do shine.  Sofia Boutella is a nice addition as Jayla, and alien scavenger Scotty finds on the planet.  Her character is quite the badass – though I do have some issues (see below).  The effects are amazing, as usual.  The “swarm” effect of Krall’s fleet is quite a visual feast.  I saw this in 2-D, I’m sure it was even more effective in 3-D.  The makeup is excellent.  Even the directing was good, if not spectacular.  Some of the small,character points – Spock/Uhura’s relationship troubles, Sulu’s husband, Kirk’s daddy issues – were handled well.  It’s nice to see some depth being brought to these versions of the characters.  Overall, it was a good movie…

The Bad

: …but not a great movie.  This film has some nice stuff, but it’s all so generic.  There are no real surprises.  I guessed the big “twist” early on, so when it was uncovered, I wasn’t shocked.    Jayla, while a badass, just seemed so convenient to the plot, with her knowledge of her “home” and her outlandishly effective traps (seriously, where did she get that stuff?), I couldn’t figure out why she was still planet bound.  Convenience is the name of the game in this movie – from the last Enterprise mission to Spock’s choice of jewelry – everything seems unbelievably convenient.  That being said, it was an okay film – that could have been fantastic with some script tweaking.


The Ugly:

Idris Elba isn’t given enough to do and really fails to be an effective villain.  This makes me sad, because I loves me some Idris Elba.  I can’t imagine how good he would have been if given a well-written, substantial villain role.  Most of the time he’s stuck growling menacingly at Uhura, who he drags around everywhere for some reason.  When his motives were revealed, my initial reaction was “really?  That’s it?”  Such a waste of an excellent actor.

On a side note – the film is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.  This was a nice touch.  I am saddened that Yelchin did not get a chance to really dig into the Chekov character.  We really don’t get to know him all that well.  Gone far too soon.  If you want to see a film that highlights Yelchin – I suggest renting Green Room.  He is fantastic in it.

Rating –  B-


About Carol the Cat 36 Articles
Carol is another member of Guardians of the Geekery (official podcast of The Charlotte Geeks) and is a voracious reader and lover of geekery. She helped launch and run The Carolina Renaissance Festival for over 14 years (and the sister festival in Arizona) and was the programming director for ConCarolinas for another 14 years. She helps out faithfully with our own Geek Gala - often traveling to various cons to man tables and host parties.