Star Trek Beyond (REVIEW)
Written By Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
After JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci pulled off the excellent reboot of Star Trek and then returned with the less stellar but still engaging Into Darkness, we now find a new team in Justin Lin, Simon Pegg and Doug Jung helming Beyond. This is coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the original series airing as well as a bittersweet outing given the death of Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. The result being one that has quite a bit to live up to.
At the start we see Captain Kirk on a peace keeping operation, offering one planet's peace offering to another's on their behalf. The paranoid group does not accept their offer and he is swiftly chased out and off the planet. Back aboard the Enterprise, having completed nearly 3 of the 5 year mission, Kirk finds his passion for space exploration and assistance dwindling. A seemingly endless galaxy with endless planets to assist is too daunting a task in his eyes and he is looking for a way out. Meanwhile Spock too gets some distressing news that makes him question his place in Starfleet as well.
They arrive at a new high tech outpost called Yorktown to refuel and stock provisions for their journey and are greeted by a person in distress with a ship in need of rescuing. When they arrive they are attacked by a swarm of enemy ships that take the Enterprise down to the planet and scatters crew members across the vast forest and rock terrain. Most notably putting many whose escape pods were captured in the clutches Krall, a creature, who as it turns out, is very interested in the peace offering that Kirk took back with him aboard the Enterprise from their previous mission.
I feel like this Trek is exactly the kind of thing someone like Gene Roddenberry would have loved to have done if given the budget. It challenges the crew and sets them up to really shine in their positions and reveal themselves to each other in ways that are interesting and lend depth to their character. The rather genius part was having the crew scattered in pairs allowing the focus to be more closely on those pairs instead of the collective. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto prove once again that they were the perfect choices for their respective roles. It feels like they have reached their peak maturity levels here, functioning more as friends than ever before. Karl Urban and Simon Pegg lend some great comic relief, Anton gets a seemingly larger role in the film which is nice given the circumstances, John Cho and Zoe Saldana are somewhat minor during the proceedings but they get some nice moments too. Idris Elba is a great villain as you would come to expect and Sofia Boutella as newcomer Jaylah is able to go toe to toe with the rest of the crew. All those performances combined with an engaging, and classic story makes for a great time.
The cinematography is wonderful and despite the change in directors, maintains the same sort of sweeping camera movements this series is known for. The score is great as always and the sets, costumes, make up, everything that makes up the Star Trek world is beautifully done and aside from some seemingly rushed CG shots towards the end this is a top tier release that shows great spectacle as well as interesting characters and story.
With introductions out of the way, and the somewhat rejigging of a classic story done, Simon Pegg and Doug Jung with Justin Lin have crafted a ripping yarn that is a ton of fun to watch. It's slick, funny, fast and while not totally original is a well crafted version of what we know Star Trek to be. It doesn't necessarily tug at heart strings but it does give you what you want, a great time with characters you care about going out on a mission as a crew. They have announced plans for a fourth film and If we get more like Beyond, then were in for a great time.