Star Trek Beyond (2016) – Review

I can’t believe I forgot to write a review for this. Where did the time go?! Nevertheless… Star Trek: Beyond!

Simon Pegg is a massive sci-fi nerd, he’s the nerd king living in the valhalla of geekdom, so it makes sense that after his gawing over the genre, she should finally write one (that isn’t… swallows venom… Paul). And given the simplistic yet pleasingly entertaining filmography of Justin Lin, this was sure to be the ultimate amalgamation of action and sci-fi intelligence that Trekkies and casual audiences were waiting for. Since Star Wars versed Star Trek, we might finally have something to appease the sci-fi enthusiasts on both sides of the mythical division.

But to be honest, it’s not that amazing. It’s certainly something for your Furious 7 lovers, but it’s probably not for your hardcore Search For Spock lovers either. Lin’s action feels a tad clunky at times, and though I argue its benefits for adding to the Trekky charm, it doesn’t have the fast, swift rhythm and flow that Fast 6 nailed. Yet as special as the character moments are, and the situation at hand is very Trekky in its roots, there’s nothing mindblowing either. This time Kirk isn’t a complete A-Hole, so that’s nice. They actually get into some of the more peace serving missions, y’know – the entire purpose of the Enterprise. There’s a dashing of comedy, a blend of classic Trek humour and general comedy. I could keep listing things, but I’ll get to the point. Star Trek: Beyond is a well-balanced recipe but isn’t exactly ground-breaking, nor is it firmly committed to appealing wholesale to one particular demographic. Yet I will argue that it doesn’t spread itself too thin.

The writer, Pegg, delivers on the sci-fi rich story moments without being too stale or bland, remaining traditional instead. There’s a real sense of exploration, sold by how each character reacts differently from the other depending on what scenario they’re thrown into. The sense of group and community is ever present and more convincing now that the internal bickerings of Spock and Kirk, and Spock and Uhura (I mean Spock’s just a dickhead really, isn’t he?), are scrapped. Everyone gets on with what needs doing. The communisteque theme works really well, instead of the Enterprise members dealing with their “conflicts” (in the archetypal Hollywood sense), we instead see the team dealing with conflict resolution, a massively under-used and overlooked theme that blockbusters have sadly forgotten. But then again, Hollywood has hardly been communist friendly throughout it’s reign.

Star Trek Beyond’s climax is its biggest downfall. It is kinda goofy, a feature that Lin has captured, intentionally or otherwise, throughout the action romp. Given the massive budget and Lin’s career, I would assume intentionally. But the climax is hindered mostly by Krall, the antagonist. After discovering certain spoiler filled revelations, we finally understand his motives, and they’re quite interesting. Spoilers: I would like to see films investigate the turning point of a good man turning vengeful. He’s an interesting who’s waaay under utilised. What could’ve been a battle of the intellects was instead a battle of the “don’t let the bomb explode” and it kinda sucked and dragged for an eternity. Gotta deliver on that simplistic conflict and obligatory race to save the day tension… yaw-fucking-awwwwwn.

Beyond is a lot better than Into Darkness, but both are far from great films, but at least Beyond is a decent attempt at a good one. Pegg is dragging Star Trek into the right direction; kick and scream all it wants, but Trek might just be savable after all. (Even though Beyond’s predecessors are mindless as fuck, they’re watchable action entertainment, and had Abrams not had Star Wars on his plate, his contribution to Beyond might’ve been exactly what it needed)

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