Star Trek Beyond (Review 1 of 3)
Star Trek Beyond is a very fun movie that surprisingly has some strong ties to both its alt-timeline and regular lore. It is a fitting tribute to the original series, the Kelvin timeline, TNG and even Star Trek Enterprise. The movie has a sense of fun while telling a Trek story that has connections to the earlier series that came before. Plus, the movie does have a major and minor shout-outs to to dead actors (more on that later). Beyond is surprise treat that had me smiling the whole time I was watching it and it is a breath or fresh air compared to all the reboots and remakes. It honestly feels like it brings something fresh to the franchise while pushing the old and new continuities story lines forward.
It feels like a TV episode, but in a good way. Unlike the way Insurrection felt like slightly bigger TNG two part episode, Beyond feels like a grand movie with some grounded story elements we saw on the show from the 60s.
To say there was a lot of trouble behind the scenes of this movie would be an understatement. Things were in a bit of a shake up when Disney announced JJ Abrams as the director of Star Wars Episode 7. He was still promoting his second Trek movie, and that sort of under-cut the hype for that movie. Roberto Orci, writer and producer of the first two movies, was hired as director. A few months in, Roberto left the project. After that shakeup, Paramount brought in Simon Pegg and Doug Jung to rewrite the script. So, the studio also hired action director Justin Lin. With all this shaky behind the scene drama and the bad early trailers, I wasn't looking forward to this movie.
Yet, something changed about my view on the film.
The reviews coming in were very good. After the death of one of the leading stars and not wanting to go out to see Ghostbusters, I decided to give this movie a try. I am glad I did, because I almost went to a Ghostbuster showing instead because I promised to see that movie. And, I know I had more fun with this movie than watching GB.
Justin Lin does a good job carrying over some of the more flasher moments and scenes from the two J. J. Abrams movies. Lin has his moments with certain scenes and handles the camera well from the distance and emotional and special effects scenes. My only issue with Lin is his shaky-camera work for all the close fight scenes. They weren't needed. I actually enjoyed Lin's work and I am glad he didn't go the Batman V. Superman style of film-making.
On the surface, the movie pays tribute to those planet-bound episodes with all the running, fighting and jumping. You get all that in spades. There are scenes that seem to be a ineresting modern take on the Kirk and company stuck on a strange planet. (Heck you even get a joke about Kirk getting his shirt ripped.)
There is humor in the movie, but it certainly isn't as funny as the first JJ movie. And, I felt that was lacking a bit in this installment, but that probably had something to do with some of the heavier subject matter this film deals with in the subplots. Spock, McCoy and Scotty are the ones that have the funnest lines. There was probably more to the Spock and McCoy subplot that got cut out. While it doesn't hurt it that much, the lack of humor was a bit missed though.
Very much so with Nimoy.
And, what about this Star Trek Enterprise connection?