Star Trek Beyond Movie Review
Light, Fun, Forgettable. As the thirteenth film in the series (yes, 13!), STAR TREK BEYOND stands as an individual achievement without feeling handcuffed to previous creations. The original storyline from Simon Pegg and Doug Jung fits well into the Star Trek universe developed by Gene Roddenberry, however, feels more appropriate for an episode of television rather than a feature film. But even as the weakest of this new generation of Star Trek films, it’s still a Star Trek film that fans will enjoy.
Unbeknownst to one another, Captain James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) and Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) are individually having an internal struggle about continuing on with the USS Enterprise. The monotony of their space exploration is momentarily changed after their willingness to help a stranger turns into an ambush led by a formidable villain named Krall (Idris Elba) who threatens the ship and the entire crew.
Largely taking place on a foreign planet, the commanding crew is separated into pairs as they try to survive, searching for safety and one another. The unusual pairings – Dr. “Bones’ McCoy (Karl Urban) with Spock, Uhura (Zoe Saldana) with Sulu (John Cho), Kirk with Chekov (Anton Yelchin – a talented young actor who we tragically lost recently), and Scotty (Simon Pegg) with a savvy warrior alien named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) – make for some interesting dynamics. Unfortunately, with the exception of Bones and Spock, the opportunity for compelling chemistry and character growth within the unlikely teamings is never fully capitalized. Most of the middle action feels like filler rather than effectively progressing the characters or story.
Director Justin Lin, known for a majority of the FAST AND FURIOUS films, lacks the same type of high energy that J.J. Abrams injects. That’s not to say that the film is void of energy all together. On the contrary, STAR TREK BEYOND is fast-paced and easy to follow. However, the film’s captivation level struggles to find that tension driven action that made the previous two movies so heart-pounding. The improper use of Michael Giacchino’s score may have been part of the problem. The softer ballad tones are distracting through some of the more dramatic scenes and the intensity levels are never revved up in the same manner as the earlier installments. Besides a call-back to the energy infused ‘Sabotage’ by the Beastie Boys (and one of my all-time favorite songs), the musical score, which is one of the many highlights before, is considerably lacking.
Full disclosure, my favorite STAR TREK film of the entire series dating back to 1979 is from J.J. Abrams first directing effort in 2007. His reboot struck the perfect tone of high energy intrigue using a modern format while respectfully paying homage to the original creation. That may effect some of my credibility for a few of the Trekkies and Trekkers out there or at least give an understanding of my taste within the STAR TREK universe. STAR TREK BEYOND is fun with a decent dose of humor, mostly from Bones, and it’s evident that the cast revel in playing their respective roles that bring so much joy to fans. But this is one space voyage that will soon be forgotten.
Absolutely unnecessary. Outside of the opening and ending credit sequences, the depth is hardly noticeable nor does it have any effective purpose.