Star Trek Beyond

Simon-Pegg-Sofia-Boutella-and-Chris-Pine-in-Star-Trek-Beyond

A major step down from the two previous movies.
★½
Movie Review #1,072

star_trek_beyond
Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi. Running time: 2 hours, 2 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence. Released July 22, 2016. Directed by Justin Lin. Produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Justin Lin, and Roberto Orci.  Written by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung, from the television “Star Trek” by Gene Roddenberry. Uncredited writers: Roberto Orci, Patrick McKay, and John D. Payne. Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Joe Taslim, and Deep Roy.

If Donald Trump were to watch “Star Trek Beyond”, he’d label it a “disaster.” Which, in anyone else’s terms, simply means it’s not completely awful, but it’s still pretty bad.

It’s important that every filmmaker think not only as a filmmaker would, but also as an audience would. Personally, I like to be entertained by movies. If director Justin Lin is truly thinking like his audiences would, then he would probably beg to differ. “Beyond” is the third in a reboot series that, up until now, has operated under the helm of J. J. Abrams. Lin’s entry shouldn’t be just another entry in this canon, but unfortunately, it’s precisely that.

The approach to “Beyond” is an exemplar of style over substance. The way Lin seems to have approached the film is akin to a baker who takes a cake out of the oven when it’s only halfway done, tops it with a ton of icing, and hands it over to a customer. It’s a bit disappointing to walk out of a “Star Trek” movie, or virtually any action movie, realizing that the most interesting scenes where those that focused on the relationship problems between Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Lieutenant Uhura (Zoe Saldana). The fact that the film lacks an interesting story is bad enough. But what’s even more insulting is the fact that the film is trying to stuff us with so much eye-candy that by the time the movie ends, we are at the risk of eye-diabetes. Between the unnecessary ambush of visual effects and the constantly moving, dizzying camerawork, I was about ready to vomit by the end of the film.

“Star Trek Beyond” offers a story that Trekkies might enjoy a bit more than the rest of the theater. From the very beginning, the film feels more reminiscent of the 1966-69 series than resemblant of the two most recent films. However, it also deviates from both bodies in some way. Director Lin has stated that in honor of the series’ 50th anniversary, his new film introduces 50 new alien species to the Star Trek universe. These include Krall (Idris Elba) and Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), both of whom give great performances. But even so, the very presence of significantly more aliens in “Beyond” makes it feel out of touch with the previous entries.  Plus, we now have to meddle with a whole new species of little green alien thingies that don’t appear to have been given a name.  I wish I could say they were simply ugly Tribbles, but no Tribble is as ugly nor as boring as these disgusting creatures. In terms of how it fares with its two predecessors, “Star Trek Beyond” is essentially “Return of the Jedi”.  It’s a step down from the first two films, and there’s too many damn Ewoks, so to speak.  The difference, though, is that “Beyond” is a much, much larger step down than “Jedi” was.

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