Star Trek Beyond (2016) | Film Review

Star Trek Beyong
Directed by Justin Lin
Written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung
Starting: John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella, Idris Elba.
Year: 2016

Can we all give an applause to the poster campaign? After the trailer focused mostly on the action packed scenes, the posters drew a connection between the emotional and character driven tale I have always loved. It gave me hope that it was going to be just as great as the other two, and it was.  

P.S. Do not watch any of the trailers, the recent ones have spoilers!

The crew of the USS Enterprise is three years into their five year mission. They arrive at Starbase Yorktown to resupply, but are suddenly sent on a retrieving mission to rescue a crew that has been stranded on a planet hidden by a nebula. As this is the Enterprise, everything goes wrong and the crew finds itself without a ship and scattered, they try to find their way to each other, save everyone on the planet, and figure out exactly why the Federation of Planets has been targeted. 

Aside from the sense of wonder the original series (and consecutive films and series) created, the characters are the glue that brings everything together. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung managed to write a movie that gave the lesser voiced actors from the previous two films, a more powerful role, in doing so they created even more complex and dynamic characters. We all know that Spock and Kirk are fantastic characters, portrayed wonderfully, and their relationship has been thoroughly explored as the emotional center of the other reboot movies. Here we not only get their relationship in the background, but more intense development for Uhura, Sulu, Checkov, Bones, Scotty, and newcomer Jaylah.

Ever since I first saw the original series, my favourite moments were those we got to see glimpses of who the secondary cast is. What they do, how they relate to each other, their families; the script gave me that with a more modern twist. We see Sulu be as bad-ass as he was when confronting Khan while also having an amazingly sweet scene, Uhura as valiant as always, Chekov comes into spotlight showing off the smarts he possess and was mostly shown during one scene in the 2009 film. Scotty remains the funnest of all characters, although he quickly becomes a “father-like”figure for a new character. Bones was always a fun character, with his skepticism about space and his rambles with Spock, and it all becomes even better once they are stranded together. But I was expecting them to be great, just as I knew Kirk was going to be showing some internal struggle, and Spock would be having some thoughts about his people, the surprise came from Sofia Boutella’s character, Jaylah. Prime Universe characters have always been my favourite, it is why I loved Khan in Into Darkness, and the glimpses of Vulcan, Romulan, and Klingon, we get in the franchise; now I can say I have a favourite character that has never appeared before, and with how they left her off, I am sure I will be seeing her in whatever comes next. We are given a young woman who has endured some harsh times, and will do what she must to ensure her survival. Her inner struggle between survival and helping others was a fantastic dilemma to add to someone that has not had the amount of development throughout decades of appearances. 

The plot might not have been as fantastic and innovative as some of the Original Series episodes, but we finally get to see a more expanded universe, instead of the usual “close to Earth” encounters. That is part of what this movie was, an expansion of the universe in a way we had not explored before, but by using the same formula of the previous films, mixing the old with the new. I will be satisfied if the writers continue doing a good work with the sequels (looking at you Pegg).  

That in which the film does not exceed, at least during the first two acts, is the villain. It is not because it lacks an interesting twist, or bad acting (Idris Elba is incredible in everything he does), but simply because what is compelling is meant to be discovered last. The villain does not appear to be as fascinating as Khan, but more like Nero was in Star Trek, until we discover the true reasons why him and his “crew” is doing what they are doing. This led to an awesome discussion between the characters about being born into war and peace and what that means to an individual. It made it more impact-full. Huzzah!!!

Like the previous movies, it was beautiful, with great cinematography, a whimsical score, intriguing characters, alluring villains, an engaging story, and engrossing effects. It was just a good film that I will definitely buy so it can be watched as many times as possible in my lifetime. It brought us back to the core of this universe, I am thankful. 

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

★★★★½

R.I.P Anton Yelchin and Leonard Nemoy. 

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