Five Things to Love About ‘Star Trek Beyond’

Five Things to Love About ‘Star Trek Beyond’

stb001Star Trek is one of my favorite things. I grew up watching The Next Generation, and after J.J. Abrams first film in this reboot series in 2009, I watched The Original Series and loved it too. (Despite its campiness and Shatner’s, uh, acting?) Though Next Generation is the better quality show, the crew of The Original Series is my favorite set of characters; Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and my personal favorite, Leonard McCoy aka: Bones.

Due to the first trailer for Beyond being pretty awful, and overly summer blockbuster-y, I was hesitant. I am not a fan of the Fast and Furious movies, so director Justin Lin was not a selling point for me, but trusted Simon Pegg’s writing and his devotion to Star Trek. Fortunately, my trust was not misplaced. I will admit I was too quick to judge Lin, and I saw the value of his direction in this film. Though he did interject some convenient technology band-aids, and ridiculous action moments (my chief criticisms of the film), his talent for bringing an ensemble cast together, and bringing out the best in them, is very much noted.

Beyond didn’t quite surpass the first film of this series for me, but it was a dang close second, and such a brilliantly fresh homage to The Original Series. I felt inspired to do something a little different for this review, and instead of the typical structure, I want to do a Top Five of my favorite things about the film.

1. You can remove Into Darkness from the equation, if that’s your beef…

I know a lot of people did not like the second film in this series, Into Darkness. I’m honestly not one of those people, but I can understand the issues taken with the film. The good news is, there really isn’t a lot of reference to it in Beyond, and I was especially glad they did not bring Alice Eve back. No offense to the actress, but her character was one of things I most disliked about Into Darkness. So for all you Into Darkness haters, you can now officially chill out and pretend it never happened. Skip from the excellent 2009 film straight to this one and be on your way.

2. It’s reverent to the The Original Series

This film has its own mission, to remind us all what we love most about Star Trek. It *feels* like the old show in spirit, experience, and structure. From the opening scene where Kirk is recording his captain’s log, to the discovery of an old Federation ship that is basically an exact replica of the set in the Original Series, to the Spock/Bones chemistry as they are stuck together throughout the film. There are lot of fun Easter Eggs for fans, but I would watch first and see if you can catch them all.

stb0033. Not an ounce of womanizing…

Kirk’s story arc is finally going where it has not gone before. In the first two films, you expect Kirk to be the way he is, a rebel and womanizer, yet with heart where it counts and leadership qualities. It’s the starting point for him in the first film, and in the second film he’s in the struggle of breaking away from that inward adolescent rebellion. In Beyond, Kirk is in a much calmer place. Though he is still wrestling with himself and finding his place out in the vastness of space, he has come to point of maturity where he is more respectable and more qualified to lead than ever before. Due to this inner reflection and change, we don’t see Kirk sleeping around or even flirting, which is huge for the character. Not that he can’t have romantic relationships, obviously, but he seems to be in a place where he takes such things more seriously and not as a game to be played at random.

4. They split the characters up…

This was what intrigued me most about this film from the second trailer. I was excited to see what the characters would do when broken up and scattered. I adore this cast so much, and I fell even harder for them in this film. They are given an opportunity shine individually, while also playing off each other so well. Though this film is light on story, it’s heavy on character interaction and development. The story lies in taking apart the puzzle of the Enterprise and watching the crew put it back together. They are each given moments to be brave, funny, self-sacrificing, compassionate, and scared. There is also a struggle for Spock and Kirk both feeling pulled in different directions away from the Enterprise. It was interesting to witness their doubts of the commitment to their mission, and each other.

5. They bring them back together…

stb004“Ye cannae break a stick in a bundle.” is Scotty’s way of explaining the strength of unity to newcomer, Jaylah, when he invites her into their fold to take down the ruthless Krall.

The theme of unity is ultimately what Star Trek Beyond is all about. Ironic initially, because as I just explained the crew spends most of the film split apart. Yet, unity isn’t merely being physically present together. When the crew is split up, they all try everything they can to get back to each other. They rely on each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we see there is indeed a deep camaraderie and love between all of them. When push comes to shove, they remain faithful to one another.

It is always inspiring to see a diverse group of people come together for the greater good, particularly in a time where our culture is under so much social duress and violence is rampant. Star Trek Beyond reminds us that we are capable of overcoming socio-cultural obstacles when a common thread of love and dedication binds us together.

2 comments

To your point about Alice Eve, I’m disappointed she wasn’t in the film because I liked her and the character and I think Justin Lin would have done better with her (based on the way he handled the other characters). I think for me, the biggest problem with her in the previous film was the way in which she was objectified — particularly that *one* scene.

I agree about that scene, UGH. I cringed. it was really odd too, because Abrams is SO against that, so it really jarred me. She just felt like a nothing, eye-candy character. I wasn’t impressed, but yeah if she had been handled differently she could have been more likable/memorable. After all, her character was someone Kirk had a child with in the OTS film Wrath of Khan so they could have really told an interesting love story with them if they wanted to. Not sure what happened with that. It is possible to repair that mistake since they are making a fourth film! 🙂

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