[Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Kimberley French, courtesy Paramount Pictures]
Star Trek Beyond
Written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung
Directed by Justin Lin
I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the now named Kelvin timeline Star Trek movies. They were OK, they just weren’t really Star Trek. The first one in the series was a lot of world building with no real moral or message and a lot of lens flair. The second one, Into Darkness, was…darker with a nonsensical plot about Kahn wedged in. It was a good action movie, but not much message and again a ton of lens flair. Star Trek Beyond, the thirteenth movie to bear the name Star Trek, makes up for the previous two in spades.
The story begins a little over half way into the five-year mission Kirk and crew started on at the end of Into Darkness; Kirk is just not feeling like being the Commanding Officer of a starship is what he wants to do and he asks command for a promotion to Vice Admiral. The Enterprise puts in for shore leave at Yorktown, a space station with a million residents at the edge of the frontier. While there an alien ship emerges from a nearby nebula with a woman claiming to be a survivor of a ship that crashed on a planet inside the nebula, and she wants help rescuing her crew from the planet. Kirk volunteers the Enterprise for the rescue mission.
This film is fantastic. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung really whipped this script into shape. The perfect amounts of comedy, the actors come off sounding like what the characters are supposed to sound like. The lens flare is almost non-existent. The effects are stunning. They even use original sound effects from the series. There are a few plot holes here and there, but they can be forgiven.
Let me talk to the effects. The ship going through warp space is awesome to see on the big screen. Seeing space just physically warp around the ship is the best warp effect I’ve ever seen, and it makes perfect sense. Yorktown is a fantastic station, a “giant snow globe” in space with variable gravity so buildings can exist at all angles, like a small Dyson sphere. This is a place that Gene Roddenberry would have loved. Bravo to the people who designed this station.
The effects of the ship getting shredded by the bad guys’ drones was fantastic, too. It also made a great argument against having long pylons holding your warp nacelles.
Let me say one thing about the new uniforms: they don’t look like shiny pajama tops anymore. They look closer like the classic Star Trek uniforms, no tiny little delta shields all over them. This is a uniform I would happily buy.
In Star Trek Beyond, the characters have finally solidified. You know who each of these characters are, you know how they operate, there are no wild character swings. The actors have confidence in the script and story to act it, instead of being unsteady on how these words are supposed to come out of their mouths.
The story is fantastic. Kirk and Spock have come to personal crossroads and are trying to decide the best way forward. Scotty has a HUGE part in this film and Simon Pegg does a splendid job with it. The one thing really missing is an sort of love interest story in the movie, but it’s absence is not noticeable. Plot holes are small. If they’ve been on their five-year mission for this long, how are they just now reaching the edge of Federation space? Are people going into that nebula that often that the villain has had plenty of victims, after a few ships disappeared, wouldn’t you go in there to investigate before now?
I highly recommend that you go see Star Trek Beyond. This is, again, the best of the Kelvin timeline films. I am looking forward to the fourth one now which will feature Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as Captain Kirk’s father George.
Star Trek Beyond opened in theaters on July 22nd.