Friday, July 22, 2016

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Title: Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
Director: Justin Lin
Runtime: 120 minutes
Rated: PG-13
View on IMDb

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise encounter an alien warrior race when marooned on a distant planet after the destruction of their spaceship in this thrilling sequel directed by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin.

Little known fact about me: I'm a huge fan of the new Star Trek universe. No, I didn't grow up with The Original Series and yes, Star Trek (2009) was my first foray into the universe of Star Trek. I immediately fell in love with it and did make an effort to go back to TOS, which I also really enjoyed. But (unpopular opinion time) Star Trek: Into Darkness remains one of my favorite movies. Other than Captain America: Civil War, Star Trek: Beyond was my most anticipated movie of the year, so obviously I was there at the first showing on opening night!

The movie opens three years after Into Darkness ended, with the crew of the Enterprise continuing their mission into deep space. When they are asked to rescue a crew that has been stranded on an unexplored planet, they find themselves in the midst of trouble (shocking, I know). In the process of getting out of the situation they've found themselves in, Captain Kirk and Co. prove yet again that unity is the best way to overcome adversity.

Old characters and new make up the amazing cast of this third installment. As you may have noticed from the poster I chose for this post, Spock has always been my favorite character. That hasn't changed in this movie either! Spock is unintentionally hilarious throughout the film and, although I may be the only person in the world who cares, I am still heavily invested in his relationship with Uhura! I really enjoyed the friendship (?) between Spock and Bones as well and hope to see more of that dynamic in the future. The newest member of the gang is Jaylah, a super badass woman who has been stuck on the planet the crew is marooned on for most of her life. She quickly becomes vital to the plot and, although the ending doesn't make it clear, I'm really hoping she'll be back for the next movie.

I will go ahead and say that, while I did enjoy Star Trek: Beyond, it was not my favorite of the series and much of it had to do with the way it was filmed. The story itself was interesting enough and kept me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, I was dizzy or had a hard time keeping track of what has happening for half of the movie. It seemed like there was a never ending supply of wide shots that circled around and upside down to focus in on something and after a few of them I had to start looking away from the screen because I was so dizzy. Every single action scene or fight between two characters was filmed with shaky cam and so close up that I couldn't keep track of who was doing what. I know it was done on purpose but I can't figure out why.

Of course, the somber note of Star Trek: Beyond was watching Chekov being absolutely fantastic and knowing he won't be coming back. He has been such a vital member of the crew for the last three films that I am devastated that he's gone, but I'm also glad that, from what I've heard, Anton Yelchin won't be replaced by a new actor. Although Beyond was dedicated in memory of Leonard Nimoy, there was a tasteful "For Anton," after the credits.

Overall, I loved the story and the characters. I loved exploring the new locations that were introduced and seeing how relationships had evolved in three years. I've actually seen a lot of fans say this new film is the closest to The Original Series, and I can definitely see the connection. My only real issue with this movie is that it literally made my head hurt to look at it. If you're a Trekkie or just enjoy Sci-Fi, this is the movie for you! (Just maybe take some Dramamine first.)