Star Trek Beyond Review

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2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and in those years Gene Roddenberry’s brainchild has inspired and entertained fans around the world. After all, when you celebrate 50 years of anything, you must be doing something right. But does Star Trek Beyond honor the golden anniversary of the franchise or does it end up being a disappointing film?

Fortunately, Star Trek Beyond graciously honors the franchise by tastefully paying homage to what came before. Though the film is still riddled with quite a few issues that hinder the film.

Star Trek Beyond follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise on their arduous mission to explore new worlds. When a stranger pleads for Federation help, Kirk and company take it upon themselves to help this person out. Little do they know that their selfless act of heroism has brought the crew of the Enterprise to the brink of annihilation.

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After a lackluster response to Star Trek Into Darkness, screenwriter Simon Pegg promised that Star Trek Beyond would pay respect to the legacy of the classic Star Trek television series. For better or worse, that is exactly what we got. Beyond is practically an extended episode of “Star Trek: The Original Series.” Unfortunately, at the same time, Star Trek Beyond feels disconnected from the other films in the Kelvin Timeline – a one-shot instead of a continuation.

On top of that, Krall is a cookie-cutter villain that seems to share the same revenge motives against the Federation like Star Trek’s Nero and Into Darkness’ Khan. Although Beyond isn’t a blatant imitation as Into Darkness was, we have seen these story elements plenty of times before in the Star Trek universe.

When Justin Lin was hired, everyone automatically assumed that Star Trek Beyond would be nothing but Fast & Furious in space. Beyond is far removed from that preconceived notion. Lin and cinematographer Stephen F. Windon provide some of the most dynamic shots I’ve seen in a sci-fi film. Seemingly every shot is breathtaking to look at. Unsurprisingly, Lin has an excellent handle on the action set pieces, but he’s also quite adept at handling the character moments as well. Many do not realize that the Fast & Furious films have quite a good amount of character moments in it.

Sadly, Lin doesn’t bring the same excitement from the Fast franchise into Beyond. Although there is a good amount of humor in the film, there are a lot of dull moments in the film as well. In addition, the film’s final act is nothing but a series of action sequences loosely strung together without any sense of pacing or purpose. The film’s cheesy way of defeating Krall’s “bees” leaves audiences shaking their heads.

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Despite these flaws, Simon Pegg and co-writer Doug Jung keeps the film afloat with a hefty amount of humor. Star Trek Beyond is more light-hearted than the previous J.J. films, and much of that is due to the fraternal banter between the crew of the Enterprise. Amusing character interactions are definitely one of Simon Pegg’s greatest strengths.

This, in turn, makes the cast as appealing as ever. As expected, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto has the most substantial arcs and are able to deliver well-rounded performances to drive home Beyond‘s emotional themes. Karl Urban also stands out due to being the comic relief for most of the film. His back-and-forth banter with Spock is one of the film’s biggest highlights. As for the rest of the crew, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin all have their standout moments. It’s incredibly great to see Chekov get more screentime than usual. Yelchin is given more to do this time around thus making Beyond a fitting sendoff for the late actor.

With the new additions to the cast, Sofia Boutella is easily the breakout star of the film. Thanks to Pegg’s contributions to the script, Boutella has impeccable chemistry with the entire crew of the Enterprise. Not only that, but Boutella gives her character a nice blend of charming naivety and toughness. She’s sure to become a fan-favorite among moviegoers. Unfortunately for Idris Elba, he’s highly underused here. Elba certainly has the gravitas to become a menacing villain (see: The Jungle Book) but rarely shows it off in the film.

Overall, Star Trek Beyond appears to be missing a certain something which is preventing the film from making any kind of lasting impact. It’s funny, and at times entertaining, but there’s just no soul to the film. However, I have to give credit where credit is due. Beyond pays respect to the classic Star Trek series in the most tasteful way possible. That right there is a great way to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.

Rating: 3/5 atoms
NR 3 Atoms - C

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1488 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.