Sunday, July 24, 2016

Discuss: Star Trek Beyond

A nice homage to the original Star Trek the Motion Picture poster

Karen: All right, the film is out, and since I doubt there are too many of you who are planning to see this, we're going to make this a "Fully Spoiled" post  -so when it comes to comments, say whatever you like.

So in other words -if you don't want the movie SPOILED for you, don't read any further, including the comments. 

Let me say I am not one of those old time Trek fans who hates the new films. Are they 'my' Trek? No...but I find them entertaining, once I got past the issues I had, such as  technical ones ( ex. the Enterprise being built on the surface of Earth), and the need for constant action.  I think they did a fine job casting them and I was hopeful going into this on Friday night that the cast would help carry me past any science inanities and the inevitable over-the-top action sequences. For the most part, Star Trek Beyond succeeded. I found it to be enjoyable. It's definitely an action movie first and science fiction second, but by making sure the characters are recognizable to us fans, it feels like Star Trek -just a Trek with a lot more explosions and running around than we're used to.

Karen: Both Kirk and Spock are going through turning points: Kirk is unsure why he joined Star Fleet and the mission has become too routine. Spock feels that he should be serving his people on New Vulcan. I thought it was telling that both men only reveal these feelings to Dr. McCoy, who is finally allowed to be played with a bit of subtlety by Karl Urban. By the end of the film, the trials they've faced  help both of them re-affirm their commitments not only to Star Fleet but to each other and their crew, which is central to the film. The sub-plot here is about connections, in this case how the Enterprise crew fits together and works together, despite all of their differences. This also extends to how the Federation fits together, but this aspect, while touched upon, is never fully examined and that's unfortunate.

Karen: The villain, Krall, was something of a disappointment. He has a muddled storyline whose reveal at the end still doesn't completely make sense (what caused his metamorphosis?). He despises the Federation and feels that the supposed unity of the government is false, and that it makes them weak. "Joining with the enemy" he sneers -but  Kirk points out that we change -we must change, to grow, to survive. It was one of the most Trek-like moments, and it came in the middle of a zero-G fist fight. But better then than during the dirt bike scene. Yeah, there is a dirt bike scene. So some of it is a little hard to take. And for the love of God, no more Beastie Boys, please.

Karen: But despite some complaints, it was entertaining. Spock and Bones together was fun. Urban gets to stretch more as Bones, not merely emulating DeForest Kelley at his most emotive moments but taking a cue from his quieter ones too. For the first time in these films we get a real taste of the Spock-McCoy relationship. Quinto's Spock has less to do in this film than previous ones. Honestly, he's a little too emotional I think. His Spock is coming off as just a really smart, nerdy guy and not a half-Human, half-Vulcan  struggling to control his emotions.  Scotty gets a lot to do, although nearly all of it is comedic.  Anton Yelchin gave us an exuberant and likable  Pavel Chekov, and he will be missed. Chris Pine seems to be comfortable now as Kirk, although it would be nice to see him in a film that had him acting more as the captain of a ship on an exploratory mission -the Enterprise gets destroyed fairly quickly here. I was expecting the new character, Jaylah, to be annoying, but instead she was quite a sympathetic figure and her self-sufficiency was admirable. If anything, Uhura and Sulu got pushed to the back this time. But maybe they'll do more in the fourth film. 

Karen: The Enterprise gets destroyed -again. I guess each crew has to do it at some point. But I could live without it. I can't deny the sequence was exciting though. And we did get saucer separation -sort of. Of course, next time they'll come back with NCC-1701-A.

Karen: I was surprised by the inclusion of the Star Trek: Enterprise -era ship. That series was almost universally despised by fans, I wouldn't think they'd touch it, but they went for it in a big way. 

Karen: I had assumed that Spock-Prime might pass on, so I wasn't shocked by his demise, but I still teared up when Spock looked at the display that showed Spock-Prime's (Leonard Nimoy's) image with his birth and death dates. I heard other people in the theater let out sighs. It was very moving. And again, towards the end, when Spock is going through Spock-Prime's personal effects, and sees the photo of the Enterprise crew, a shot I believe from Star Trek 5, well, my heart was in my throat.  It was very well done and a nice tribute to not only Nimoy but the original series in its entirety. Of course, when the credits rolled, there were acknowledgements to both Nimoy and Yelchin. Very nice.

Karen: One last thing: how about the mention of a "a big, green hand" grabbing the Franklin by Scotty, and that same hand in the credits? Nice call-out to us original Trek fans.


B Smith said...

" about the mention of a "a big, green hand"

There was also the Saurian brandy picked up on Thasus (the planet Charlie X was raised on IIRC)

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm in no rush to see this one, as I'm kind of veering toward one of the old Trek fans who hates these new films. Not completely, though. I had the same attitude as you did about the first one, i.e., I found it generally entertaining (and downright amusing in a few places), and sort of just viewed it as Trek Elseworlds or well-made fan fiction or something like that. But - as I noted in my comment to your TOS post of the other day - that second one, basically a remake of both "Space Seed" and "Wrath of Khan" really left a bad taste in my mouth.
Your point about the inclusion of the ST: Enterprise-era ship also reminded me that the only thing left completely intact in this rebooted Trek universe is that - in my opinion - execrable series...

Thanks for the review, though, Karen. I will get around to seeing this one eventually, although I doubt I'll take the trouble of actually going to see it in a theater.

William Preston said...

Did folks see CBS's footage for the new series, The Discovery leaving spacedock? It's like a Klingon ad, from the titles to the music to the ship design.

When people get the very FIRST thing wrong—like the title of Batman v Superman—you can be sure the rest of it is also agley.

Eric said...

Love this movie! Watched it 2 times and will see it 2 or 3 more times before it leaves the theaters.

Really enjoyed the 3D version.

Music was top notch.

Justin Linn did an amazing job.

I had no problems with any of it...(actually don't have a problem with any Star Trek episode/movie or series. I like them all. *shrug*)

Can't wait for the next movie and the new series!


Anonymous said...

An alien invasion thwarted by ..... a Beastie Boys song transmitted on VHF? Only on Star Trek kiddies!

Well, I just came back from seeing this movie so everything is from my first impressions - personally, I liked it. Yes, it does have some improbable action sequences, but that's a feature of almost every Hollywood movie nowadays (isn't this the same director who did those gravity-defying Fast & Furious movies?), there are some story implausibilities (did Krall really feel so strongly that the Federation abandoned him? Why?) and some plain 'aw, you gotta be kiddin' me!' moments (like the aforementioned Beastie Boys song taking out that invasion). My friend asked me 'hey does Krall really have so many people to pilot all those little 'bee ships'?.

I also found it amusing that the alien warrior Jaylah spoke better English than the originally human Krall/Balthazar Edison. It was a nice touch to see the tributes to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. I wonder how they'll address Yelchin's absence in the next movie, given that JJ Abrams says his role won't be recast.

One of the best improvements was the more pronounced Spock/Bones interaction, although like I told my brother when we left the cinema, 'y'know, I'm sure if you sit down and think about it for a while, you'll discover even more plot holes soon!'.

- Mike 'enough Star Trek, when is Doctor Strange coming out?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

JJ said...

I'm not veering; I'm an original Trek fan who laothes this series. It's lazy, stupid and worthless. Seeing the first one was enough to confirm that. I read about the second one and wow, what a disgrace. You couldn't pay me to see Star Trek:Beyond (Beyond what?).

dbutler16 said...

I stopped after the first Abrams Star Trek movie. It had its good points - most of the casting/acting was very good, the special effects were very good, there was a lot of action - I intensely disliked how they handled the Spock (my favorite from TOS) character, I thought the bad guy was weak, some of the plot had holes, and I didn't care for the idea of the alternate timeline Star Trek that we now have. So, this is a very long winded way of saying that I'm in no hurry to see this, though I probably will do so eventually.

Karen said...

Hi William P., I see what you're saying about the ST:Discovery teaser. The music is not the typical uplifting style we're used to. The design of the ship is, I believe, taken from Ralph McQuarrie art prior to ST:TMP. Not a design I'd choose, that's certain. But I will give it a chance. I'd be thrilled to have a good Trek show on tv again.

Eric said...


I never tell anyone i'm a trekie..(if i do own up to it)..they usually spend a hour telling me how much TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager sucked....and that Nu trek sucks.

If I do meet a fellow trekie....(and we admit it)...they usually spend a hour telling me how much TNG, DS9, Voyager sucked....and that Nu trek sucks.

Amazingly negative fanbase. Really didn't know what hate was, till I got on the internet! lol

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