[Review] Star Trek Beyond

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“To use a parlance with which you would be familiar, Doctor, I have just confirmed that theory to be horseshit.”

I never thought I’d hear the word horseshit come out of Spocks mouth, but there we are. But lets back it up a bit.

Its 1966 and a new show is on the air. Its about a starship, the final frontier and exploring strange new worlds and new civilisations.

Between then and 2016 that show has spawned 13 movies, 4 more television shows (with over 620 episodes), 1 animated show and hundreds of books (I own about 100 of them).

This year marks the 50th anniversery of Star Trek and what better way to celebrate it with another movie.

Beyond.

The plot is something original this time, not an origin story as 2009’s Star Trek was or retreading familiar territory with 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Kirk and the Enterprise crew are 3 years into a 5 year mission and, according to his own log entry, it all blurs and gets a bit episodic. The opening sequence is Kirk failing a diplomatic mission to a planet of very small aliens – he barely makes it out alive.

After arriving at Yorktown, a brand new and incredibly gorgeous space station, a distress call arrives in form of an escape pod. Here is where the never ending action begins. The Enterprise flies into an uncharted nebula and gets swarmed immediately by, well a swarm of small ships. They tear the Enterprise apart and necessitate an evacuation of the ship. Most of the crew gets captured by the attackers.

Krall, a large and imposing alien commander is behind all this. We have never seen this man before or his species. Fans of Deep Space Nine will notice the similarities to the Jem’Hadar (maybe with a little Hirogen from Voyager thrown in). He is a ruthless killer, but also a bit bland as a character – like so many one-dimensional Trek villains before him.

That is until you get to the big twist. So – SPOILER ALERT – I guess. I knew beforehand, that the villain was played by Idris Elba. But what I saw on screen wasn’t Elba. He didn’t even sound like Idris Elba, just like Bane wasn’t really Tom Hardy back in “Dark Knight Rising”. What a waste of a great actor.

But wait, there’s more. The Enteprise gets destroyed, the crew captured by Krall and his swarm and forced to work in a mining operation on some planet in the nebula. Kirk, Bones, Spock and Scotty – although independently of each other – wind up outside of Kralls control and plan a rescue, with the help of woman Scotty encounters when he arrives on the surface.

The crash of the Enterprises saucer section is something to behold. Its even better and more cinematic then the Enterprise D crashing in “Generations” 20 years ago.Star Trek Beyond

Jaylah rescues Scotty and takes him to her hide out – an old Federation ship, called the USS Franklin. Kirk, Spock and Bones eventually wind up there as well and they plan a rescue – that involves an old motorcycle, some holotechnology and lots of shooting.

They succeed, and they also get the old ship up and running again – only to discover, that Krall plans an all out attack on Yorktown, and from there on the Federation. Quick tangent here. The CGI of that station is magnificent. The starbase back in Star Trek III looked great, given the fact that it was created in the 80s. When they fly up from earth in 2009’s reboot, you feel the same awe as Kirk does when he sees that station. But Yorktown just blows everything out of the water. You’ll have to see it for yourself. I really hope that thing gets used more often in later movies.

So Krall wants to destroy that station, as he feels some kind of rage towards the Federation. Kirk naturally goes after him to stop him – and their only way to stop the swarm is to use “classical music” to disrupt the swarms communications. That classical music is “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. I think it fits – not only as the trailer music, but in the movie as well.

They chase Krall by flying the Franklin INSIDE Yorktown, where his swarm wreaks havoc among the population (Sulu’s family among them) – and the big twist happens.

Again – SPOILER ALERT. Uhura watches an old log entry on the Franklin and realizes that the captain of the Franklin is Idris Elba, or rather Balthazar Edison, the former captain of the Franklin – who was supposedly dead for 200 years.

And now the villain becomes a little more three dimensional – and Idris Elba again. Apparently he can change shape somehow, its never really explained beyond a mention here and there. But in the end he changes his shape again to look more human again. Kirk can stop him and his super weapon (some sort of virus they want to spread), but that comes a little too late to totally save the character.

I think they should have revealed that earlier and they should have given Krall more depth early on.

You can see its Justin Lin – the director of some of the Fast & Furious movies – behind the camera. Its basically non-stop action, and I guess purists will say its not Star Trek anymore.

It still is. Everything is new, everything is different and shiny – but its still Star Trek. To me anyway. I think nuTrek has established itself now and is ready to go where noone has gone before.

Beyond.


What did you think of the movie? Did Justin Lin ruin your childhood? Or was it a fun summer block buster? Tell me in the comments.

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