Star Trek: Beyond

I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a Trekkie. I’ve watched the first two movies produced by JJ Abrams and that’s it. There are three things I know about the Star Trek Franchise:

  1. The Enterprise, the star ship Captain Kirk and his band uses to explore the Galaxy, crashes and burns more than the Greek Economy. Imagine the premiums they must pay on their insurance.
  2. Live long and prosper.
  3. Vulcan hand grip would come in handy in real life if it made sense physiologically.

I’m too busy being a fanboy of Marvel, Harry Potter, and neuroanatomy to really follow Star Trek and its illustrious history. But having said that I have enjoyed the previous two movies for its great interstellar fight pieces, plastic looking aliens, and generous amounts of explosions and crashes. So I came into this new one with high hopes.

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise receive a distress call from an uncharted corner of the Galaxy. Feeling adventurous and altruistic, they visit an unknown planet, only to be ambushed by a mysterious alien swarm. Left stranded on the deserted planet with no ship, no crew, and no magic plot device to save them, they have to use only their wits and luck to survive.

The Starship Enterprise survives for about 20 minutes in the new movie, an impressive record.

Summer blockbuster movies are meant to be fun, eye catching, and profitable. On all of these alone, Star Trek: Beyond is a success. What was especially satisfying was watching the Enterprise get torn several new ones and hurtle through the atmosphere like a giant frisbee before spectacularly crashing into an inferno. But more than that, this movie (like its predecessors) had a satisfying plot. It’s a simple premise – characters in a foreign, dangerous place trying to survive and escape – that’s been told countless times. But in addition to that it shows the crew of the Star Trek working together as a team, defeating the odds and the baddies. Everyone plays a role, and we get to see everything from emergency cautherization to science fiction engineering. For once in this movie series, Captain Kirk is not a self-centred ass who jeopardises his crew’s lives. Now he’s a calm, steady handed, inspiring leader who jeopardises his crew’s lives.

Captain Kirk and his crew are protected by a technology more powerful than anything else in the galaxy – plot armour.

But it’s still a buggy movie. The villain was better than your  boring disposable Marvel villain but missing a good enough back story to be truly compelling. And the way they destroyed the alien fleet and saved the day was for me, probably the dumbest victory in recent memory, rivalling the ending of Independence Day. It made a great scenes but the silliness was a bit too hard suspend disbelief over. And in the end, the movie, while making several attempts at playing hard strings, ultimately doesn’t succeed in making me sympathise with any of the character’s little problems. Yes I know this scene is supposed to make me sad, but can we just see another head explode please?

But all in all, what more could you ask from a space action flick? It was cool, like it was meant to be. It was fun, like it was meant to be. And it’s make Star Trek relevant  for a new generation, like it was meant to be.


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