Nationsmith at the Movies: Star Trek Beyond

Last night I took it upon myself to watch the latest Star Trek movie. I love the Star Trek franchise, but this movie is probably the worse chapter in the rebooted Star Trek series.

In the third year of their five year mission to boldly go where no one has gone before, Kirk has hit a plateau – he’s done so much space exploration and diplomacy that his days are seemingly becoming “episodic” and boring so much so that he’s considering applying for a promotion to vice admiral. Meanwhile Spock is dealing with his shaky relationship with Nyota while realizing he may be the only hope for his dying race as Ambassador Spock has passed away.

These anxieties lead the two characters to realize that at some point they’ll have to leave space swashbuckling aside and deal with greater problems of leadership.

As the Enterprise enters shore-leave at Yorktown, a gigantic space station housing millions of humans and aliens, they are alerted by a threat in uncharted space.

All this leads the ship, it’s crew, and its captain on an adventure to identify the looming threat and eventually they explore a mysterious planet and is ambushed by Krall and his drone space fleet.

And so the plot continues with the crew facing insurmountable odds and fighting a superior force. Yadda, Yadda, and all the action in between story beats.

Directed by Justin Lin, the god daddy of the Fast and Furious series, STB is an ambitious yet uneven presentation for the alternate universe.

From a story perspective, the pacing takes the crew from one mysterious point to another as they unravel the mystery of the planet. It’s not until the last 15 minutes of the story does anyone discover who the villain is and why is he trying to destroy Yorktown.

Aside from the villain stealing the life-force of Star Fleet officers and controlling his robotic army, Krall does not channel the kind of threat like General Zod, Saruman, or Kylo Ren, but instead would be better compared to having b-listed villain like Jaws or Oddjob. Instead of being a menacing arch-enemy, he is his own enforcer who transforms from ferocious alien to something less throughout the course of the story.

Probably the most redeeming parts of the story is the introduction of Jayla, the stranded spacer and scavenger that befriends Kirk and Scotty. She is a lethal fighter and survivor whose ingenuity helps the crew get back on their feet.

Also another story beat I enjoyed was the odd-coupling of Bones and Spock. Whereas this time Kirk is taking a more serious role as chief officer and diplomat, Bones’ humanity versus Spock’s logic allows for some comedic moments within the chaos of STB.

I also want to add the late Yelchin, in his last role as Chekov, was amazing and he is able to make believable the youth and intellect of his character. A nice way to go.

Technically, there’s a lot of problems with this movie. It’s dark and when I say dark, it’s not the mood, but it’s the lighting. I can’t see a damn thing and I really think this adds to the confusion of what is happening. The drone army is black and space is black, so aside from movement coming from planet-side, space warfare, or traffic into Yorktown, I can’t see damn thing about the enemy.

I am impressed with the scenes from Yorktown as the space station depicts much of how Gene Roddenberry’s vision of universe co-inhabited by humans and aliens alike.

Overall, I give the movie a 7 out of 10.

One minute Review:
+ Great Acting from Kirk, Bones, Spock, and Jayla.
+ Special effects and setting is cool.
– Poor Story
– Poor Lighting
– Poor Villain (a YUGE waste of Idris Elba’s talents)
– Enterprise was on for like ten minutes total
– I would say Star Trek and Into the Darkness was better.