Title: Star Trek Beyond
Rating: 4 Stars
I admit it. I was prepared to be a hater. I saw that a third Star Trek was coming out and I thought, well, someone is making another trip to the bank. The sequel-itis has invaded the movie industry like a virus and here comes another one. It’ll be so action packed and chock full of special effects that we’ll somehow will miss the fact that there’s no soul in the movie remaining.
To me, three appears to be the tipping point. The first one comes out and it’s a breath of fresh air. A great example of this is the James Bond franchise. Casino Royale was an absolutely breathtaking re-boot of what was a stale, stilted, boring franchise that was pretty clearly on life support. With the success of Casino Royale, the threat of disappointing the hard core fans had dissipated and they could make Quantum of Solace without that undue pressure. It was still an exciting and original movie. By the time Skyfall came around, they started relapsing to the trite, and by the time Spectre was released, you have Q, a car that shoots shit out its back, a sneering villain, and an exploding watch. All that was missing was frickin lasers on sharks.
I was pretty convinced that Star Trek was about the enter the same territory. The Star Trek re-boot, just like Casino Royale, gave a tired franchise a very deserved kick in the ass and it was fantastic. The second was good, but I started getting nervous. Bringing back Khan already seemed like a pretty early sop to the fanboys. What were they going to do with the third one?
It turns out that they made, what I think anyway, a pretty brilliant decision. They turned the writing over to Simon Pegg. If nothing else, Pegg knows how to write about characters and their relationships in a humorous fashion. This is what made the movie pretty great.
As expected, the special effects were impressive. The Yorktown space station is massive. The Enterprise disintegrating under attack is impressive. Generally, the special effects did a good job of supporting the story and not overwhelming it. There might have been a little too much CGI porn surveying the Yorktown, but it was manageable.
However, it was the relationships that made the movie for me. The relationships, between Kirk and Spock, Spock and Uhuru, and Scotty and Jaylah were all well crafted. The whole point of the Star Trek, at least in my opinion, is a tight network of diverse friends working harmoniously together despite their differences to accomplish a common goal. There is a reason why Bones and Spock have the most engaging relationships. Although polar opposites, they respect each other and, ultimately, like each other. These relationships, although predictable, bring heart to what would otherwise be nothing more than a space western.
The other thing that Pegg brings to movie is humor. Much to my unexpected surprise, there were several laugh out loud moments in the movie. The clever use of The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage was the movie highlight. Referring to it as classical music just made it that much more complete.
I read that Pegg will not be writing the fourth movie and that it will revert back to the original authors. Say it ain’t so!
So, I was wrong. The third Star Trek movie (of this current re-boot) was a pretty awesome movie. Go see it and have fun.