I may be somewhat in the minority on this, but I enjoyed the Star Trek reboot and it’s sequel, Into Darkness. But, even liking and enjoying them, I could tell they could have been something more than they were, especially the second one. This, and the trailers, left me feeling a little lackluster about the third reboot installment. I am happy to report, however, that Star Trek Beyond is pretty darn good! 🙂
Set three years into the Enterprise‘s classic five-year mission of exploration, the movie manages to tell a story that, for lack of another way of putting this, truly feels like a favorite Star Trek tale. Skating around spoilers as much as possible, there’s plenty of action, mystery, wonder, and self-reflection as the heroes work together, using their wits to survive and overcome a brutal struggle against a determined enemy.
It’s very personal to the characters without venturing into mopey, brooding territory. Through the crisis that hits them, the characters, two in particular, are able to come to some self-realization and make important decisions about what to do with their lives. Spock’s arc, in particular, was cultivated into what I would call a touching tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy.
Some things that take Star Trek Beyond a step above its predecessors include:
The enemy is a new one, or at least one I’ve never heard of before, completely original to this movie, rather than something rehashed from the original series. Yet he is a surprisingly intimate foe, not only to the crew of the Enterprise, but to the entire Federation as a whole.
I just mentioned the crew survives and wins through use of their wits, right? That was something which was lacking in Into Darkness, where, in the end, defeating Khan was just a matter of making Spock angry. Here, we had some quick analysis and brainstorming under pressure to achieve magnificent results.
This includes what may be my most favorite scene yet in the franchise, where they use a certain rock song as a weapon. 🙂
When the crew gets split up, they fall into groups of two or three that aren’t your typical partnerships for this franchise, but which rise to their respective challenges most admirably! And humorously! 🙂
The alien female who befriends the crew is something more than just “the exotic female.” The trailers left me fearing that she was just Kirk’s latest conquest, but, to my relief, things never even went in that direction! Yay! Instead, she is strong and capable, with a real role to fulfill and her own personal arc.
Mind you, the rest of the Enterprise crew were, once again, mostly a plot device. They get abducted or killed, like usual, and the captain has to save as many as possible, and those very few (like, one or two) who we see alongside the main cast are just red shirts, playing a part, then dying or otherwise vanishing from the scene. There aren’t many times when the normal crew are actually very important on their own, are there? That’s always been a little detail about Star Trek that I think could be improved.
Of course, there were some other things wrong with this movie. To sum them up all at once: it features a one-shot space vampire attacking a badly-designed space city with an ancient superweapon that is easily foiled. So! Not a perfect movie, even by Star Trek standards.
Still, I absolutely loved watching this movie! It is definitely going into my personal collection! 🙂
Rating: I’ll give this 8 stars out of 10