The Dose: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ celebrates 50 years of the final frontier

The Dose: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ celebrates 50 years of the final frontier

The Dose: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ celebrates 50 years of the final frontier
July 25
09:14 2016

Preston Mitchell | Opinion Editor

@presto_mitch

Finally! After the mixed reception of “Into Darkness” and J.J. Abrams trading directing duties for “The Force Awakens,” 2009’s “Star Trek” has its true sequel now. From the rollicking opening sequence, “Star Trek Beyond” rocks hard with the same amalgam of classic “Trek” and modern blockbuster craziness that won us all over the first time. That’s not to say that it’s perfect or the absolute best in the series, but it is awesome, a lot of fun and everything a “Star Trek” movie should be.

Three years into the voyage of the Starship Enterprise, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) contemplates leaving his crew for a promotion while Spock (Zachary Quinto) breaks up with Uhura (Zoe Saldana) to pursue ambassadorial endeavors. Before either best friend can express themselves to each other, the Enterprise is ambushed by the evil Krall (Idris Elba), who causes the ship to crash on a desolate planet. Now split up, the crew has to stop Krall from obtaining a lost artifact and causing the end of the Federation.

“Star Trek Beyond” is much different than “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which bastardized the point of the first movie – old characters, new adventures – in favor of remaking the classic “Wrath of Khan” storyline. Further thanks to a plot hole-ridden script from Damon Lindelof (“Prometheus”), it was just a throwaway action movie that added nothing new to the universe.

However, “Beyond” benefits from a wholly original script by Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead”) and Doug Jung. Both writers nail key elements of “The Original Series” and make them all palatable as a successful popcorn movie. Since J.J. Abrams got the characters’ backstories out of the way in the previous two films, “Beyond” nicely showcases everyone’s emotions and maturity as the young cast finally evokes Shatner and company.

Chris Pine has truly come into his own as Kirk, wisely playing the captain as more seasoned than arrogant this time around. Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban are paired up for much of the runtime as Spock and Bones, delivering really great banter and some of the film’s funniest moments. Despite stellar performances across the board, the most interesting addition to the cast is Jaylah, a scavenger portrayed by Sofia Boutella of “Kingsman” fame. Her role is rich with confidence and profundity, while providing a lot of exposition for the new villain.

Surprisingly, Justin Lin proves that he’s a worthy replacement for J.J. Abrams. Having directed some of the best “Fast & Furious” movies, Lin does an amazing job of helming action sequences that seize full advantage of “Trek” physics. While “Into Darkness” primarily took place on the Enterprise and Earth, Lin goes where no recent director has gone before; giving us wilder stunts and more intense space battles that brilliantly show the limitlessness of intergalactic travel.

As much fun as this film is, it’s not without its flaws. First and foremost is the villain, who’s only serviceable at best. Even though Idris Elba is a great actor and makes Krall menacing enough, he’s woefully underwritten with very weak motivations. Secondly, the film comes to a screeching halt by incorporating the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” into a pivotal battle sequence. Sure, the song played a minor role in the 2009 film, but the way Lin uses it in “Beyond” feels tonally out of place – akin to one of the cheaper gags in his “Fast & Furious” work.

Aside from those issues, “Star Trek Beyond” is a blast for hardcore Trekkies, casual fans or anyone that appreciates good summer fun.

In the realm of “Star Trek” movies, it sits firmly between “The Undiscovered Country” and “First Contact” – not quite the best but still a very good installment. Now that Paramount has greenlit a fourth film, I’d love for Simon Pegg and Justin Lin to write and direct again, especially because of how well they demonstrated their love of the canon here.

Celebrating the franchise’s 50th anniversary with a bang, “Star Trek Beyond” comes highly recommended.

Featured Image: Courtesy | Star Trek Beyond

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