Saturday, July 23, 2016

Star Trek Beyond - Movie Review: A Tribute to Nimoy

 Is it okay for a person to truly love both Star Wars and Star Trek?
Star Trek Beyond starring Chris Pine, Zachery Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Sofia Boutella, Anton Yelchin, and directed by Justin Lin. When I say it stars all of those actors, the movie truly does. Each one of them shines in the film, and it is an ensemble effort. The movie starts with the crew of the Enterprise three years into their five year mission. They have to dock with a space station for supplies, but must quickly depart again when an alien shows up asking for help in rescuing her crew. The Enterprise is the only ship capable of performing a rescue attempt and the crew quickly swing into action.

The best thing about Star Trek Beyond is its cast and the chemistry they all have with one another. They genially all look like they are having fun playing these parts, and are comfortable in portraying the iconic characters. Pine, Quinto, and Urban have from the start of the new movies, but the rest of the cast have grown into their roles. It also makes sense for the characters they portray to be more comfortable with one another. They have been in deep space for three years simply relying on themselves. They know how to work as a team, to accomplish a task, and have absolute faith in one another. If there is one aspect of the story this film does beautifully it is hammering this point home. Some might say it is too on the nose, but I enjoyed this story aspect immensely. All of the relationships have meaning in the story and seem genuine. Which comes from both the cast having fun with their roles, and the script Simon Pegg and Doug Jung wrote.

You can see Simon Pegg’s fingerprints all over the story. The dialogue is quick and witty, and at times very funny. Karl Urban steals the show with his deadpan humor, and had me laughing throughout the movie at just the right points. There was one line in particular that had the entire theater rolling. Along with the banter the dialogue between all of the characters seems natural. There is no part with the main cast that feels forced or untrue to the story being told. There is once scene in particular where most of the crew are working on a problem. They all each have an idea and contribute to the solving the issue. I noticed this while watching the movie, but not because it wasn’t well done, but due to how well the scene worked in the film.

The great interactions between the characters were spaced evenly with insanely good action. I’ve never watched a Fast and Furious film, they have just never caught my interest, but I now know Justin Lin can direct action. There are five or six fantastic set pieces in Star Trek Beyond. They each deliver something different, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire run time. Which is another plus of the movie along with the action the pacing never slows down. The film is always on the move, with the right amount of time to left for the story to develop before the next action piece. There was only one time where I felt the action scene wasn’t handled well. I got lost with what was happening on screen because of the lighting and the surrounding of the shots. It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t as good as the other action sets which were phenomenal.

The only minor complaints I have with the film are its villain and the conveniences placed within the story. Idris Elba does a good job as the villain, and his is better than Eric Bana’s Nero from the first film, but I still felt his motivation were lacking. The story explains why he is fighting, but it just doesn’t feel natural or that believable. It is the only part of the film that felt out of place. He still is menacing and you want the crew to stop him. I just wanted a better reason as to why he was trying to destroy the Federation. I also found his story predictable, along with the way the rest of the crew make discoveries throughout the film. Some crewmembers just happen to run into certain areas to make big discoveries on a massive planet. However these are minor nitpicks, and they didn’t bother me much. It was just noticeable and stood out compared to how well the other parts of the story flowed.

One element that did not feel out of place were the tributes the film had to Leonard Nimoy and the character he made iconic.  There were three times in the film where the movie played tribute to the man. Each one touching and well done. I don’t think Zachery Quinto was acting when he delivered some of his lines in the film. He wasn’t talking about Spock but Nimoy. I’m glad they took the time to pay tribute to him within the movie. I have never been a fan of the original series, it was before my time. I grew up watching the original crew’s movies, and The Next Generation. Spock and Nimoy were a huge part of each. Some of the best stories in Next Generation had him in it. It was fantastic that he was a part of the new movies and was the perfect actor and character to bridge the gap between the two universes. He is still missed.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Anton YelichinZa. Who again, did a fantastic job as Chekov. He was taken too soon, but he shines bright in this film. There is a nice small gesture at the end of the film, and I’m sure others will be made in the next installments.
The movie overall is fantastic. It is well worth seeing. I plan on going back to the theater to see it again. For a summer with not many big blockbuster hits, Star Trek Beyond deserves to be praised. I’ve enjoyed all of the films with the new crew (yes even Into Darkness), but this one is probably my favorite. I’ll have to wait until repeat viewings, but I think it is the most complete and well-made of the three.

If you have seen Star Trek Beyond comment and let me know what you thought. If you haven’t seen it what are you waiting for? Go see it. 

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