‘Star Trek Beyond’: A Great Summer Blockbuster

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Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness were two awesome sci-fi movies directed by J.J. Abrams (who’s blessed moviegoers with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Super 8).  Star Trek Beyond is no longer in his hands, but that doesn’t mean the spectre of his vision is nonexistent.  Star Trek Beyond provides a story with an original villain that allows the franchise to side step the idea of having to follow the path that it rebooted from.  The story here is about the Star Trek Enterprise’s break from its 5-year exploration mission.  The crew lands on a Starfleet base to resupply their ship, but their R&R is cut short when a stranger shows up asking for help.  Heading into an uncharted Nebula, the weary crew of the Enterprise are unaware of the hidden dangers that lie ahead, and how it will force them to come together.

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Does anyone know how to drive stick?

Usually, the third film of any movie franchise gets dumped on January (the landfill of horrible movies and hopeful sleeper hits) or the tail end of August, or worse: a straight-to-DVD/daytime cable event; but Star Trek Beyond avoids this pattern by delivering a funny, heartfelt, and action-packed blockbuster. There was something intimate about Star Trek Beyond, and it was satisfying watching the crew’s interactions, chase scenes, and witty banter (I could go on). First and foremost, this movie gives most of its lead cast some worthwhile character development.  The first two films put much of the spotlight on the relationship between Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto), but Star Trek Beyond shares the limelight.  After some exciting and death defying events, the crew (by that, I mean the lead cast) is separated into – coincidentally – pairs on an alien planet.  These pairings produce an amusing dynamic that shakes things up and makes this entry into the franchise feel readily accessible to new fans while simultaneously indulging old ones. Exciting things are happening, and thanks to some strong writing, the story and dialogue are both tight and fluid. The film is never stagnant, it’s quiet moments are matched by its loudest ones–story-wise, nothing is overdone or unnecessary. I was worried that the absence of J.J. Abrams would have left his vision of the reboot altered, but director, Justin Lin (Fast and Furious franchise), leaves it untouched while still managing to add in a miniscule dash of his own flair. And by flair, it looks like Lin got rid of the proverbial J.J. Abrams lens flare (ha, get it? Flare/Flair? You’ll get it).  With that said, Star Trek appears to be in the safe hands of Justin Lin and Simon Pegg (who plays the role of Scotty while also being credited as one of the writers).

Star Trek Beyond has everything that makes a summer blockbuster movie great, which makes critiquing it a bit difficult. However, I can nitpick…

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“Go on, I’m listening…”

My one and only MAJOR gripe about this film are some of the fight scenes. There were close-ups that made much of the fight choreography hard to follow (think Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins fight scenes).  Maybe that’s Lin’s thing, claustrophobic shots of people (or aliens) fighting, but I find them disorienting.  Who the hell is winning? I can’t tell.  Anyway, does this movie do anything new and exciting or change the game at all? No. Does Lin take Abrams vision in a new direction? No, but who says that it’s necessary? What this film does is keep the ball rolling, in regards to the franchise’s success. That’s three Star Trek reboot-era films in the can, and they’re all good.  If I wanted to nitpick, I’d say that this is just another installment in the franchise (“nothing to see here, folks”), and it could’ve been more than just that; but that’s not where I’m going with this. This movie is tight. I like it, and I’m sure audiences will enjoy themselves.

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“That wasn’t so bad. I think we might make it–”

Oh, there’s one thing I should mention. Nothing too big, but the introduction of new characters, such as Jayla, played by Sofia Boutella, puts other lead characters on the back-burner for much of the film.  Is it unfair? Is there something the producers, writers, or director of the film could have done to have made it so that everyone in the cast got a fair share of screen time? I don’t know. Maybe. But will it take away from this being a good movie? Nope. Not all.

Star Trek Beyond is as good, if not fantastic, a summer blockbuster that we’re going to get this season, so please do go out and enjoy this film.  Fans are going to watch it and definitely get their money’s worth too. New fans who aren’t privy to the first two films (and they don’t have to be), will not leave disappointed, and that’s a testament to the direction and writing of this film. It’s brisk, well-paced, fun, endearing, and everything someone would want in a sci-fi film.

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‘Star Trek Beyond’: A Great Summer Blockbuster: photos courtesy of www.imdb.com

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