After Khan – Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Still fresh.  So in this latest installment, we have our Enterprise crew traveling unexplored depths of space, becoming isolated from Starfleet, and having to face a foe that is against everything the Federation stands for.  I know that when you read that, you probably would think that this is a generic, lackluster blockbuster with no personality, and I wouldn’t blame you, I even realized how it sounded as I was typing out the words.  It’s not.  It feels like a crew on a mission movie, and it has its fair share of surprises, believe it or not.

2It’s less about the intricacies of the plot and more about getting there.

Now J.J. Abrams has taken a step back, moving from the director’s chair to simply being a producer, which does make sense.  He’s the guy you get when you are ready to fix what was previously broken; he is sort of like a cinematic mechanic, and then he gives you your car back.  This is also an appropriate analogy, because this was taken over by Justin Lin, the man behind some of the very best movies in the Fast & Furious franchise.  He’s much more of an action director, which is exactly what this movie needed, and it was what they were going for with Beyond.  It really is a case of style over substance with the movie that they put together here; you could throw that out as a critique, and I don’t think anybody would even try to make an argument against you.  That said, I ended up liking this for what it is: a mission movie.  There’s not any deep story to be had with this, it feels like just an episode of the television series that was designed to fit the two hour mark.

1And Zachary Quinto still kills it as Spock.

The story is nothing special, there’s just an unmemorable McGuffin that the crew is working towards and a villain who is just a rendition of the one from the first movie, but that’s not what this movie is about.  It’s about action sequence, really good looking special effects, and the comradery shared by this crew.  While the overarching story may never sparkle, all of the punch up writing does, and I really appreciated all of the crew interactions with each other; you feel like you’re on the bridge with them, and they are so quick with quips and ribbing that it is infectious, and it does help to keep you going in lieu of a sweeping dramatic space opera story.  All of the asides show good chemistry, and sure, the standard story makes it so this is never something I would label as being standout, but I’m still on board with this series, and I want to see where this starship goes next.

Star Trek Beyond (2016) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire


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