Did you know that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek? Yes, in 1966, Gene Roddenberry’s dream of a universe where humans have started exploring the vastness of space became a reality. This was a start of a multi-billion dollar franchise that millions of fans all around the world enjoy. So, it’s only fitting that the latest movie in the rebooted film series, Star Trek Beyond, be released this year to commemorate it’s Gold anniversary.
However, fans do have concerns of the newest film’s quality since it does follow the much maligned Star Trek: Into Darkness. Thankfully, Star Trek Beyond is better than the second entry in the rebooted franchise. In fact, it’s beyond better!
So, right off the bat, I can tell you Star Trek Beyond is definitely a good movie. However, if you would want a little more detail than just “it’s good,” read on. If you’re concerned I’ll be revealing major plot points, fret not! As mentioned in the title, this will be a totally SPOILER FREE review of Star Trek Beyond!
The film takes place on the Enterprise’s 3rd year into its 5-year mission in deep space and it’s taking a toll on Captain James T. Kirk. He begins questioning himself regarding why he’s in Starfleet in the first place and if he should just leave it all behind. The Enterprise is then ambushed by a fleet of ships led by Krall, a ruthless leader with an axe to grind against the entirety of Starfleet. Kirk and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise are marooned and/or captured on an uncharted planet and they need to find a way to twart Krall’s plans of destroying Starfleet.
I have to say that, among the three films in the rebooted Star Trek film franchise, Star Trek Beyond is the best one yet. The movie is entertaining and just plain fun to watch for one simple reason: it feels like a standalone Star Trek adventure. It doesn’t bog itself down on reminding everyone it’s set in the new rebooted Star Trek timeline like Star Trek Into Darkness did. It just tries to be a good Star Trek film.
I guess it helps that the movie was penned by Simon Pegg, the guy who plays Scotty in the movie, along with Doug Jung. Since Simon Pegg is a huge sci-fi and Star Trek fan, you can see his love for the franchise come out in the story that’s being told in Star Trek Beyond. While the film does have a lot of action and special effect shots, Pegg does a brilliant job of bringing out each and every character in the film. He certainly knows his stuff about how Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and the rest of the Enterprise bridge crew would behave so we become more engaged with the film as a whole.
It certainly helps that all the major players are pretty good in their roles. Chris Pine has managed to take the role of Captain James T. Kirk and make it his own. The partnership between Commander Spock and Dr. Leonard McCoy comes off the screen brilliantly thanks to the performances of Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban, respectively. Simon Pegg’s version of Scotty is witty and funny thanks to a punchy script. Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Anton Yelchin do a respectable job portraying Uhura, Sulu and Chekov, which makes it a shame you don’t really see them doing all that much in the film. I guess their scenes were lessened to make way for Jaylah, an alien who has managed to escaped Krall’s clutches. Thankfully, she’s a pretty interesting character and the actress that portrays her, Sofia Boutella, gives a very charismatic performance.
Sadly, the weakest character in Star Trek Beyond is the primary antagonist of the film, Krall, played by Idris Elba. Now, Idris Elba is a really fine actor and you can see the guy try to act up a storm while underneath that thick layer of prosthetic makeup. However, the character is very poorly written. He does have a backstory as to why he hate the Federation and Starfleet and they do explain his motives in the end. But it comes out of left field and is, simply put, feels kind of forced. In fact, when they do take the time to explain Krall’s backstory, the entire movie feels like it comes to a screeching halt because it’s done so clumsily!
Even though the film is primarily focused on the characters, there’s still no shortage of great action setpieces. Krall’s attack on the Enterprise is definitely a standout as it was a stunning and exhilarating thrill ride. The rest of the action scenes are actually pretty good but they do feel kind of predictable and contrived. I also have to say the special effects in Star Trek Beyond are outstanding because they don’t look like CGI models flying around in space.
Because the film is great fun, you may not even notice the huge plotholes that are so large you can manually navigate a starship through with no problem. Like most action films today, there are a couple of convenient coincidences that occur in favor of the heroes but, like I said, the film is so enjoyable it successfully covers up most of the problems. I honestly didn’t really notice a lot of them until I really thought about it; I was having too much of a good time to realize any of them!
Overall, Star Trek Beyond is a terrific film and works on a lot of levels. It works as a love letter to Star Trek fans as it focuses a lot of the characterizations of the people in the film. It works as an sci-fi film as the action is really good and the special effects are fantastic. It’s a joy to watch and the film’s 122-minute run time will just fly by at Warp 8. And you’ll enjoy the ride the whole while.
Have you seen Star Trek Beyond? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!