After docking at Starbase Yorktown, the USS Enterprise, halfway into their five-year mission, ventures into new dangerous uncharted territory. There, the Enterprise is destroyed by a new ruthless enemy with a deep hatred of the Federation, and strands Kirk and his crew on a remote planet with no means of communication. Kirk must then work with the elements to reunite his crew and get back to save Starbase Yorktown from this dangerous menace.
The first two new ST movies left me with mixed emotions. The 2009 re-introduction of the Star Trek franchise by JJ Abrams was fun because of all the new actors re-interpreting the well-known characters, while the second one, Into Darkness, from 2013, was really dark and bland and nothing but a rehash of the old “My name is Khan” story.
So my hopes were reasonably high for the third installment, as I expected the usual quirky adventures to start with this movie, Star Trek Beyond. So what I expected was a good oldfashioned ST episode with somehow humanoid shaped but unruly aliens and more or less clever ways to bring them back to order. Let’s see if Beyond accomplished its mission.
Yes! And No. 😦
Director Justin Lin and screenplay writer Simon Pegg, who also plays Scotty, indeed came up with exactly what I wanted and expected: An oldfashioned ST episode, blown up to feature length, just slightly over two hours. This is charming on one hand, particularly when you see papiermaché rocks in the middle of all the HiTec movie stuff and notice speech patterns like freshly out of a 60s movie.
Too bad they replaced the comfy old
pyjamas jerseys with hitec clothing for this film. Only the female crew members are still allowed to run around dressed like whores schoolgirls. A mixed parcour of pub brawls, gunfights and rock climbing is best done in skimpy mini skirts, as we all know. Good for them. You go, girls!
The storyline and conflict of Beyond are too silly to mention. And that’s ok. Because nobody cares. We don’t want to be distracted by our brains while munching away on popcorn, do we? We don’t need a demanding story if the flick itself offers more attitude than you can shake a stick at.
If I may offer a slight little criticism it would be in the character of our designated evil guy (every movie worth its salt needs one, right?), Krall. His true motives stay unclear until the very end of the movie … and by then I didn’t care anymore. My brain was so overloaded on sweet movie spectacle, they could’ve presented me Hitler as the bad guy.
But as far as I could figure out Krall’s motive and inspiration was pretty weak. What is it with Hollywood’s evil guys these days? In case of Beyond it’s clearly a weak script. Maybe Simon Pegg should’ve dedicated two more pages to the character of Krall. An actor of Idris Elba‘s calibre deserves to play mature characters, not just cardboard cut-outs.
What almost made up for it was the final boss fight: In typical 60s fashion Kirk and Krall are deciding the fate of quadrillion innocent space station inhabitants in a good old fisticuffs. Pretty cool. In Star Trek’s future men are still men, and on the same intellectual level as they came out of the caves with. Good to know.
Ok, the technical shit now:
Direction was ok, not spectacular but ok. And that is something as it’s good for any movie if you can’t see any individual traits of a director in it. Justin Lin had obviously the best of the movie in mind when he took the helm of the production.
Actors were ok all around. To be honest, the script didn’t allow anyone to really shine and show off their wonderful talent. Orca’s the last to complain about something that looks like a nice ensemble piece, a group effort.
It’s really one of the strong points of Beyond‘s script that after the crash on the planet’s surface the crew of the Enterprise is split up in many smaller groups of confused people and some rather weird couplings have to deal with the situation. It’s particulary helpful as Kirk and Spock can’t bore us with their shit but we can delight in the lovingly applied Spock/Bones banter. Hey, welcome back to the original series.
Neither do Spock/Uhura kill us with their relationship problems. Not saying Pine, Quinto and Saldana have lost their mojo, they just checked their egos at the door and play their roles as Starfleet officers in the most efficient and Starfleety way.
So, yes, we can’t complain about a bad script, not at all. Simon Pegg‘s experience with quirky dialogue scenes shows time and again. It would’ve needed some finetuning tho. But honestly, what script in modern Hollywood couldn’t do with some more TLC?
One actress that stuck out tho was the fetching Sofia Boutella (not related to Microsoft’s CEO) as Jaylah. I have a hunch she might become a future fixture on board of the enterprise. Ok, she first had to go thru the grind of Starfleet Academy but then I guess she’s made a nice ensign in the engeneering department and can enter arguments against Scotty. Hmm, there might be the foundation already laid out in the accidental pairing of these two characters in Beyond.
CONCLUSION: Star Trek Beyond is probably not only the funniest of the three new Star Trek flicks but the best blockbuster of 2016 so far.
WATCH IT: Of course!
WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?
And just because we can …