Star Trek: Beyond
Directed by Justin Lin
This is the third installment to the new versions of the Star Trek franchise. The first was released in 2009 (Star Trek), the second in 2013 (Star Trek: Into Darkness) and now this is the third, released in 2016.
The story revolves around the crew of the USS Enterprise and her voyage across outer space. Captain Kirk is tricked into steering the Enterprise into an uncharted Nebula, where the ship is attacked by a swarm of unidentified aircraft. After crash landing, the crew uncover that the bad guy wants to destroy the universe, and they do everything they can to stop him.
I was worried that this film wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I loved the first Star Trek film, the second in my opinion is just as good (the amazing and oh-so-lovely Benedict Cumberbatch plays the villain, what’s not to like?) and now there is this installment to the series.
The film was a bit slow at first. There was a lot of background information, however, I felt this was necessary to create the continuity between this film and the previous one. The film started off with Kirk, as usual, getting his ass whooped by a bunch of tiny aliens during a peace negotiations talk. I felt this was a nice touch. The other two films started off similarly, so it was nice to see Kirk in his “element”. Throughout this film there were many twists I didn’t expect, which I think made it fresh and exciting to watch. One thing which definitely surprised me, was the immediate shift between the quiet introduction and instantaneous action not 20 minutes into the film. From then on, the relatively fast pace didn’t really stop until the end of the film.
It was nice to see the Enterprise crew more settled into their roles. There was a lot more character development in this film. It felt much more personal and deep, and I felt that the characters bonded a lot more. It was also really nice to see more of the other crew members. McCoy was paired with Spock, and the duo made a lovely contrast of cynical sarcasm and logical thinking. Uhura was held captive with Sulu and the rest of the crew. Their part in the film was witnessing the bad guys brutality and trying to escape from the inside. Chekov was with Kirk, and it was nice to see the two work as a team. Last but not least, there was Scotty. (Simon Pegg co-wrote the script so naturally we were going to see more of him, but that to me is not a minus but a plus because I really like Scotty as a character and I always enjoyed the humor.)
Another thing that I liked about this film, was that this time the USS Enterprise wasn’t just trying to save Earth (like in the previous two films) but it was trying to save the Federation. Yorktown (the space outpost) was amazing. It was an incredible merging of 3D and physical elements. As McCoy described it, “What a damn monstrosity […] looks like a damn snow globe in space just waiting to break”. But in a good way.
This film feels a lot more serious and mature. It’s probably because Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin sadly passed away this year. I liked the tribute to Leonard Nimoy (there were many hints throughout the film, such as the three glasses when McCoy was toasting Kirk on his birthday, the photographs of the “old Spock”, and obviously the confliction Spock feels, if he should remain at Star Fleet or continue his vulcan legacy.). I was pleasantly surprised to see that Chekov had a relatively big role to play in the film. Sadly we will no longer see him anymore, so I was aware that I was looking at one of his last performances. It’s this mix of nostalgia, epic space cinematography, great acting and awesome action scenes that makes this film great.
The last battle scene in space involving the song “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys was incredible. It’s probably one of my favourite scenes from the Star Trek films. It made me even more happy when I realised that this was the very song Kirk switched on the radio to drown out his uncle’s yelling when he nicked his car at the beginning of the first film.
There were plenty of memorable moments in this film, plenty of amazing cinematography and CGI, plenty of amazing quotes.