22 July 2016
Star Trek Beyond: First Reactions
Maybe Simon Pegg and Doug Jung read Prime Directive back in the day, but probably not. More likely, they worked out a good formula for a Star Trek story based on the strengths of the premise. I hope I haven't spoiled too much by establishing this parallel, but though Star Trek Beyond does not open with the five-year mission suspended, the crew does pretty quickly (almost too quickly; my biggest critique of this film would be that the first 30 minutes or so feel a bit rushed) disperse into smaller groups or individuals: Kirk and Chekov, Sulu and Uhura, Scotty, and (of course) Spock and McCoy. Each character faces their own challenges, and gets their own chance to shine. I have always thought that the reboot films were pretty well cast (my favorites are Karl Urban as McCoy, Simon Pegg as Scotty, and, alas, Anton Yelchin as Chekov (so all the funny ones)), but this approach lets them shine. Each character usually got a moment in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, but here they all get a chunk of the story, and the story is better for it. Some of the best Spock/McCoy scenes of the new film series thus far, I think.
Lots of jokes (the giant green hand!), and though it's as action-heavy as all these recent Star Trek films have been, the action is more fun and more beautiful than in the other two installments. Starbase Yorktown is an amazing environment, and director Justin Lin makes the Enterprise look the most beautiful she's looked in all three films-- the scenes of her at warp at the beginning, and her launching from Yorktown were my favorites, but there were a lot of great angles throughout. So yeah, I enjoyed it. I've enjoyed all these reboot films in their different ways, and I'm not sure if this one is the best one, but it is the most quintessentially Star Trekky in all the best ways.
Actually, there's a big flaw I didn't mention. The title of the movie is wrong. It shouldn't have been Star Trek Beyond, but, quite obviously I would have thought, Star Trek Beyond! Never pass up a chance to throw an exclamation point in there.