Star Trek Beyond came out over a month ago. Even though Star Trek is my second nerdy love, I didn’t see it on opening weekend. I was on vacation with Alycia and Clara when it came out and then I spent the next week in Illinois. I eventually saw the movie two weeks ago and, even though most of you have probably already seen it, I thought I’d write a review.
I liked Star Trek Beyond. As I’ve only seen it once, I don’t really know how it stacks up with Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. I really enjoyed how most of the movie took place on an alien world; it really opened up the story. The first two felt confined by the Enterprise; Beyond felt freer and that they really were exploring strange new worlds.
Star Trek movies are pretty hit and miss with their villains. Khan and the Scandinavian whalers were great, but Kruge and Sybok left more to be desired. Krall wasn’t a great villain, but I appreciated his motivations. The history of the Federation synced with his desire to destroy the Federation.
I enjoyed the story and the direction. It didn’t feel like Fast and Furious in space; Justin Lin did a fine job stewarding Gene Roddenberry’s wagon train to the stars. Star Trek is still at its best on the small screen, but I was more than happy to sit through this latest big screen adventure.
Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Star Trek Beyond.
In the first two movies of the Kelvin timeline, Kirk was confident; he knew who he was and he knew what he could do. I liked Beyond’s Kirk because he was going through a bit of an identity crisis. One of my favorite parts in The Wrath of Khan is how Kirk questioned his decision to leave the bridge for a desk. We never saw what led to that decision, but perhaps it was some of the malaise that Kirk experienced in Star Trek Beyond. Kirk’s identity crisis added more layers to his character that we hadn’t yet seen.
Spock and McCoy
Star Trek Into Darkness was all about exploring the relationship between Kirk and Spock. After establishing their rapport in the first movie, it made sense to bring those two together for their second adventure. This time around Kirk buddied up with Chekov, which left Spock to explore a strange new world with McCoy. Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban are truest to the spirit of the original characters, which made their scenes together thoroughly enjoyable. I loved the relationship between Spock and McCoy in the original series and movies, culminating with Spock transferring his consciousness to Bones. They didn’t always like or understand each other, but they very much respected each other. Quinto and Urban did a masterful job of exploring the layers in their characters’ relationship.
One of the foundations of Vulcan philosophy is “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” It’s a beautiful phrase and was even more beautifully on display in Star Trek Beyond. For all of its new life and new civilizations, the first two Star Trek films were heavy on the humans. In an effort to reflect the unity and strength that comes from diversity, Justin Lin populated the Enterprise with way more aliens than we had ever seen. There were a lot of recognizable species, but also some brand new ones. The strength in diversity of the Federation was on display, as was the soul and heart of Star Trek. More than anything, Uhura’s unwavering belief in the Federation’s ideals made this feel like a Star Trek movie.
I still love Star Trek and can’t wait for Star Trek: Discovery. I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch it without subscribing to CBS All Access, but it’s the Internet and there are ways of getting around things. Star Trek Beyond was a fine entry into the Star Trek universe, especially when it reflected the ideals that have helped Star Trek celebrate its 50th anniversary.
What did you think of Star Trek Beyond?