Let’s face it, just about everything in regards to the marketing for Star Trek Beyond has been decidedly weird. It’s like the studio wasn’t really sure who to sell the movie to – Trekkies or normies – so they just mashed the two marketing campaigns together and went to work. Perhaps this approach stems from it being directed by action-junkie Justin Lin and written by super nerd Simon Pegg? Either way, I hope it’s a success.
Star Trek Beyond is a fun film. There’s a lot of neat visuals, good laughs, big action and everything else that one might expect from a summer blockbuster. I guess the real question is whether or not that’s what you want from a Star Trek film. If it is, then you’re going to like it. I certainly enjoyed its various quips and explosions, and I walked out of the theater feeling good about what I had seen throughout its brisk two hour run-time. However, those of you hoping for the series to go all-in on deep space exploration or to grow its main characters, I think you’re going to scoff at Star Trek Beyond.
As you may remember, Into Darkness ended with the Enterprise setting off on a five-year journey into deep space. Beyond picks up about midway through this excursion, but the crew’s mission just so happens to be next to a newly built space station-world-thingy, so at no point does it seem as though they’re really on their own or doing any measure of exploring. On the character front, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov are all around, but mostly just as familiar-face fodder, while Bones and Scotty are given a good chunk of screen time in order to give the film heart and humor. None of them evolve in any way, though. As for Kirk and Spock, both are given seemingly important subplots (hint: neither really want to be in Star Fleet anymore), but aside from the introduction and conclusion of their separate plans, nothing is ever discussed or even revealed. It’s so useless! And what’s even weirder is that I’d say these parts should have just been cut, but the amount of screen time they take up is so inconsequential that it doesn’t matter.
If you want sci-fi fun, go see Star Trek Beyond. If you want sci-fi headiness and character development, don’t go see Star Trek Beyond.
One Last Thought:
This probably goes without saying, but this series just won’t be the same without Anton Yelchin’s Chekov. He played the character in such an animated, inspired way.