Thursday, February 9, 2017
Into The Beyond!
I am an unabashed fan of the new Star Trek movies, feeling unlike some of my generation that the veneration many have for the original series was trapping the movies in too much cloying nostalgia and not enough rockem' sockem' action. Well they scraped off the barnacles off the old Enterprise when they rebooted the series in 2009 and gave us a whopper of a sequel in 2014 and now with Star Trek Beyond we get a really dandy up-scaled adventure which makes all the set up pay off a bit.
The actors who now inhabit the roles of the Enterprise crew are so appealing that it's difficult for me frankly not to think of them first and I know that's likely sacrilege for many. But life moves on and no one holds it against me when I think of Daniel Craig when the name James Bond is mentioned. Same thing here.
More after a few SPOILERS.
The Enterprise is in deep space and the captain of her is suffering a deep enui as the endless mission seems to be dragging him down. But that all comes to an end when the crew is led into a trap in a distant nebula by a proper villain who wants to use his bee-like army to destroy the Federation. Idris Elba is the villain and we learn by the end that he's more human than he appears. It's a nifty secret but not one they really seem all that interested in pursuing during the movie so when it pays off it lacks some punch.
Liked most of the character beats, with Spock and Uhura taking a break and Kirk thinking about taking a desk job. Only McCoy seems content with his lot and that's strange, but he's older than his comrades and perhaps is in a different stage of his life. The others get things to do but Sulu and Chekov aren't really moved along in the story much. (The truly bizarre and untimely death of Anton Yelchin did cast a bit of a pall on the viewing.) Scotty seems to find a romance of sorts but it doesn't develop and since Simon Peg wrote the script his focus in the story makes sense I guess.
The new girl, a rough and tumble scrounger type who is hiding from the villains who killed her family is charming and beautiful, a comely addition to the proceedings. Her discovery of the old starship and its almost immediate revival feel a bit convenient but it's an action flick and I'm cool with coincidence in these matters, though a few moments of inconvenience to make Scotty appear a bit less magical might've been useful to the tension.
The motorcycle sequence didn't work for me at all. It made limited sense and went on way too long to be as effective as it was supposed to be. That one needed to be paced differently.
Frankly the structure of this one felt a bit too familiar. The Enterprise and crew are sent on a mission and find a villain who is more than he seems with a secret which goes to the heart of the Federation's collective soul and then they are almost destroyed as they race to save a city of humans from an invading force descending from the depths of space. The finale was visually splendid but felt too much like the ending of the last one.
SPOILERS come to an end.
I wanted to enjoy this one and I did despite some minor misgivings about pacing and some background information. I appreciated how the filmmakers kept trying to find new ways for fans to appreciate the rigors and fun of space travel though it didn't always work.
In the end we have charming people in a charming story doing charming stuff. I came, I saw and I cared enough. Pretty decent overall.