Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Written by: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella
It’s no question that this movie’s greatest highlight is its visual effects. The bright, vibrant colors help the movie pop in many scenes. The 3-D effects work in conjunction with the unique camera angles to provide a lot of depth throughout the movie. Director Justin Lin does a superb job of adding dynamic camera shots and transitions that complement the sense of danger or adventure depending on the scene. For instance, you’ll notice the camera zooming out to show how great a dangerous threat may be.
Along with the nice aesthetics, we also get a lighter and more fun tone for this film. Thanks to writer Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty), Star Trek Beyond is peppered with many instances of humorous banter and situations throughout. These don’t make the movie a complete comedy, but they do help create more of an enjoyable atmosphere to complement the sense of adventure. In addition to the humor, we also get some innovative space combat scenes that are entertaining to watch.
Chris Pine really solidifies his mark as Captain Kirk, and Zachary Quinto is admirably taking on the role as the definitive Spock. Sofia Boutella also doesn’t disappoint with her intriguing character Jaylah. The majority of the cast are fine, but I wanted to pay special attention to the character of Mr. Sulu played by John Cho. As someone who attempts to bring attention to fair representation in Hollywood, I thought that the movie did Cho’s character justice. Star Trek Beyond didn’t stereotype him (as many Asian actors fall victim to). Instead, he is represented as both a legitimate leader and regular person. (You’ll know what I mean by regular person when you see the film.)
My biggest compliment of this film is probably the fact that it’s going back to its roots in regard to the spirit of the franchise. Star Trek is known more so for the exploration and adventures and not so much for the action. This time around, we’re given a slightly better glimpse of what this futuristic universe may encompass along with all of the many different types of aliens that are a part of it.
I hate to even say this, but I think my biggest negative in this film is probably Idris Elba’s character. (I know, I know . . . it’s THE Idris Elba, but just hear me out.) I don’t have a problem with his acting but more so his character specifically. Maybe it was the writing, or maybe it was in his delivery. Either way, his character felt as though it didn’t need an actor of Elba’s caliber to play. There are scenes when Elba’s accent are a little hard to understand. It appears as though Elba may be overacting for a role that didn’t really require his presence in the first place.
My overall impression of Star Trek Beyond is that it has definitely become more of a niche, sci-fi-type film. The previous movies feel more like adventure films that happened to be in space, but Star Trek Beyond is definitely more sci-fi in nature than the others. If you are a fan of Battlestar Galactica or similar shows, then this will be your kind of movie for sure.
The other point about this film is that it is very safe. It doesn’t come off as having any incredible peaks nor valleys. If you are someone who loves Star Trek (2009) but got turned off by Star Trek Into Darkness, then this film may rekindle your interest. I would definitely say it’s worth the watch in theaters, and feel free to watch it in 3-D. I don’t think that you need to see it in IMAX 3-D. If sci-fi movies aren’t your thing, well then go in with caution.