Saturday, July 23, 2016

Star Trek Beyond - Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond catches up with the crew of the star ship Enterprise during their five year mission to explore the galaxy and, what starts out as a much needed pit stop, turns into a fight to save the entire Federation. This sci fi sequel features returning cast members Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin along with new additions Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella.

The Review:
This is definitely not your father's Star Trek. With Justin Lin at the helm, this new installment plays a lot more like the Fast and Furious franchise he was a part of for several years with lots of crazy, over the top action that keeps you on the edge of your seat and on the edge of believability. If you're okay with this then you will no doubt enjoy the movie, but if you prefer your Star Trek to be the more cerebral and thought provoking franchise it started out as, then it may not be for you. That being said, I thought the energy of the film was very upbeat and the action was fast and furious (yes, I went there) throughout although I will say there was a few times I thought they took things a bit too far.

There are two things you will absolutely love about this movie with the first being the lovably playful dialogue between the primary cast member with a special nod going to Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban as Spock and McCoy because they're just too awesome together. The whole bridge crew ensemble works really well together and it is very clear that they have developed a really nice chemistry now that they are on their third journey through this world. I love how each actor has been able to embody the spirit of their character while keeping them fresh and new whole also avoiding direct comparison to the original cast. On a more somber note, it was sad to see the recently deceased Anton Yelchin once again as Pavel Chekov and it made me wonder if the creators will recast or find an honorable way to remove the character from the franchise. No matter what is decided, it will always be a bummer to not see this young, talented actor continue his work on this franchise as well as whatever else he might have accomplished in his career.

The other thing you will love about this movie is Sofia's Boutella's performance as Jaylah, a stranded yet resourceful alien being who ends up helping the Enterprise crew against Krall (Idris Elba), the resident bad guy for this film. Thanks to Boutella, who recently appeared in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Jaylah is easily one of the coolest, most bad ass, sexy, and fun characters I've ever seen from this series. During a press conference for the film, Simon Pegg explained how Jaylah is based off of Jennifer Lawrence's character in Winter's Bone which makes sense because they are both strong willed and isolated characters. The name Jaylah is even a play off of Lawrence's nickname, J-Law which is actually pretty cool! See, you learned something cool in this review, how about that!

The Verdict:
Star Trek Beyond is a fun summer movie with heaps of action and great character chemistry. At times, the action can be a bit much but the cast holds things together nicely and the end result is a fun ride through the Star Trek universe and it also turns into a bit of an unfortunate memorial for both Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. If you are a die hard, old school Trek fan, you may not enjoy the more modern, blockbuster style this franchise has headed, but for me, it was definitely worth the ride and it was great to see the crew back together again for another adventure.

Fun facts about this movie's diversity that aren't really being talked about:

  • Taiwanese director
  • Chinese, Canadian born co-writer
  • One of the primary characters is an Asian LGBT male
  • The entire cast is about as diverse as you will find in any major blockbuster film.

I have not seen the movie in either 3D or IMAX but what I do know is that both elements were created in post production rather than being filmed in either format.

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