[Review] Star Trek: Beyond

Star Trek Beyond: Jaylah

Star Trek: Beyond poster featuring character Jaylah

TL;DR 9.5/10
Summary: Great movie with all the right touches of flash and subtlety

Most people (including me) anticipated Star Trek: Beyond (aka “ST:B”) to be “Fast and Furious in space!” After all, the director was one Justin Lin, who is known for being the director of the FnF franchise. The trailers released before the movie didn’t help either.

As it turns out, the movie was fast AND furious. But there’s very little racing. What we see instead, is a surprisingly good mix of suspense, action, and deft, human drama. It makes the movie all the more believable and human.

The plot is relatively simple: In its third year of its 5-year mission, the USS Enterprise has been sent to assist a science mission gone wrong in an uncharted region of space. They are soon ambushed for two reasons; an artefact they were carrying unknowingly and to lure Yorktown, a new Federation base, into lowering its guard.

SPOILERS ARE HERE.

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Of course, the simpler the plot, the more complex it is. ST:B surprised me with the depth hidden within it. We see Kirk being the embassy to another culture, before being rejected. This was quickly replaced by quiet, poignant moments in which we catch up with the crew in the years since Into Darkness.

In short moments, brief sequences that carry a lot of meaning, we see:

  • Uhura’s and Spock’s relationship go from lovers to somewhat mutual respectful friends
  • Hikaru Sulu’s daughter… and his husband! Such a loving couple, especially their embraces!
  • Kirk’s closeness with the crew, their relationship with each other (not just the main cast, but glimpses of the entire crew interacting with each other, and how they live together)
  • And overall, a more mature, calmer cast

Then the PLOT begins and we see how cohesive the crew works. Compared to Into Darkness, there’s very little questioning of Kirk’s orders when he gives them. There’s more of a sense of “We’ll do it!” rather than “WTF ARE YOU NUTS” that was obvious in the last two movies. When the red alert is sounded, you see everyone take their place. There’s no doubting looks about Kirk’s order, but a quiet competence and trust instead. When Sulu takes over the conn, you can tell he’s done this a thousand times; he knows what to do and how to hold the ground while Kirk goes to rescue Spock.

I liked too, how you can simply tell that the crew is familiar with the Enterprise. Uhura lends Kirk a hand, in order to give their crewmates a chance to escape. The look she gives Kirk as the ship separates is not one of despair, but it’s one of trust in her commander. And so forth. The clip below aptly describes it.

The rest… go watch in the cinema. xD I will admit that I thought the buildup was a little slow, but I think they took a lot of cues from the recent spate of Marvel movies. There are scenes reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America and in a strange way, Avengers 2. However, I feel it’s more of using the same cinematic tactics rather than being “inspired” by said movies.

I feel the need to caution though. Anton Yelchin’s portrayal of Chekov was so vibrant and full of life, my mind seems to reject the notion that he’s dead in reality. There’s a dedication to him at the end of the movie, right after the dedication to Leonard Nimoy. In a way, the Beyond in ST:B’s name isn’t just about where they’re going. It’s about the people the movie outlived.

The trailers don’t do ST:B justice. This is definitely a must-watch movie.

Naoko @ Geminianeyes