Pros: Strong action
Cons: Dark moments; shallow characters
The Bottom Line:
The Star Trek reboots
Continue down a dark path
Action is still fun
“Things Have Started to Feel a Little…Episodic.”
I have never been the biggest Star Trek fan, although I did watch some of the later series. Maybe that is part of the reason I’m just now watching Star Trek Beyond. However, I have finally watched it, and the result left me mixed.
The Enterprise is half way through its five-year mission to explore new worlds, and the crew is getting restless. This even applies to Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine). So, when the ship is scheduled to land at a space station for supplies, the crew is excited about some much-needed shore leave.
However, that leave is cut short when a nearby distress signal comes and the Enterprise is the best ship to answer the call. Unfortunately, when they arrive, they meet an enemy with technology they have never seen before. Soon the crew is stranded on the planet. Most of them, including Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), are taken captive, but a few, like Bones (Karl Urban), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Kirk, and Chekov (Anton Yelchin), find themselves free. Will they be able to meet up and rescue their shipmates? Who is this new enemy?
Watching this movie, I figured out what some of my other issues with these new movies are. They are dark and seem darker than other parts of the franchise. Yes, there were always the red shirts who die early in an episode, but there still doesn’t seem to be the kind of major catastrophe there is early in this movie. There are other moments that are very dark later on as well.
Now, I get that they are attempting to make the Star Trek franchise into a more modern action-oriented franchise. And I’m not complaining about the action, especially in the second half. They make the science behind those scenes believable enough for me, and they were certainly fun. However, if the expense if the lighter tone of the franchise, I’m not sure I want it.
Of course, this is not a statement about the special effects, which were, well, out of this world. Truly, they are fantastic. Likewise, the acting is wonderful from the entire cast.
Unfortunately, the actors don’t have much to work with. The emphasis is on the action, and that short changes the time that could have been spent on character development. Some, like Bones, just become a cliché of the worst of their character from the originals. Others do get attempts at character development, but they turn out to be rather shallow.
So, watch this movie for what it is, a darker take on a popular franchise with lots of action. Star Trek Beyond isn’t nearly as good as it could be or the best the franchise has to offer.