I just came back from seeing Star Trek Beyond. And beyond this paragraph, there are spoilers. I’m sorry, that was terrible. But still: spoilers, so much spoilers.
First things first, what did I think about this film? Well, I loved it. For one very simple reason:
They saved the Federation through the power of the Beastie Boys. That’s right: Kirk and co. managed to weaponize the Beastie Boys and use it to take out an entire horde of ships.
I don’t care how much technobabble it took to get there: that was a fucking awesome moment. When Kirk slowly smiles and says, “Good choice”? Fucking chills.
And now onto the rest: it was a good episode of Star Trek: The Original Series mixed in with some good moments from previous movies (the destruction of the Enterprise, Kirk fighting against the Big Bad for the lives of his crew, etc). Basically, it was a Star Trek movie and a pretty good one. It never reached the heights of excitement of the first reboot, but neither did it so blatantly crib from a past movie like Into Darkness. It was a nice movie.
And I guess that’s why people are disappointed in it? There was nothing shocking about it or particularly surprising (especially in you paid attention to the trailers). There was no “Holy shit!” moment, aside from the aforementioned “weaponized Beastie Boys” scene. It was basically stuff we had seen before, but with better special effects and some good acting.
All the actors are spectacular, even the ones who don’t get much to do (like Zoe Saldana). John Cho in particular is awesome without saying much, but Scotty gets the best lines (probably because Simon Pegg co-wrote the script). The addition of Sofia Boutella as Jaylah works well — she’s a great actress that brings a nice additional presence. Since the movie ends with her being accepted into Starfleet Academy, I hope we get to see her again and she joins Scotty’s engineering department.
The bad guy is suitably scenery chewing and good. There is a nice last minute twist, which kind of brings the movie to a halt as everyone figures out that Krall actually used to be Captain Balthazar Eddison of the USS Franklin, but the scene manages to be short enough so that not a lot of momentum is lost.
The special effects for the giant starbase Yorktown are spectacular. It’s just amazing, although it did make me dizzy for a second or two. However, as soon as you see Yorktown and all the detail they put into it, you just know that the final battle scene is going to take place there. Again: there’s nothing particularly surprising about this movie. We know that it’s eventually going to come down to Kirk vs. Krall. There’s no question about what’s going to happen.
I was kind of wondering, at the end, why they didn’t just have Krall revert completely back to looking like Idris Elba. Krall slowly changes throughout the movie back to his human form, but in the end, he still looks slightly alien. Why not just go all the way back to Elba? Then you have Chris Pine vs. Idris Elba, which would be awesome. Kirk vs. CGI’d Elba looked kind of silly, especially once they introduced the CGI Killer Dust Mites.
Another thing I liked, though, was all the references to Enterprise. Sure, it was a terrible show, but I like that they still acknowledge it: Eddison used to be one of the MACOs and he says that millions died in the “Xindi and Romulan Wars.”
Eh, the last minute twist kind of...doesn’t make any sense if you think too hard about it. Yes, Krall is actually Captain Balthazar Eddison, whose ship crashed into the planet a hundred years ago, but he managed to stay alive because...of some machine? That made him look alien? And then there were “drones” that also looked like aliens that followed his command? Even though he clearly had a second-in-command, so where did that guy come from? And he’s just been, like, grabbing random ships for decades looking for the superweapon and nobody noticed that ships were going missing?
Also, the machine apparently made him so he could drain people’s life force. Which makes him look more human if he takes it from a human?
Here’s the thing though: Jaylah actually lives in the crashed remains of the USS Franklin and there’s a cool scene where we see that she uses image refractors to make a crude cloaking device so that nobody knows where she is. However, since Krall was the Captain of the Franklin, he should already know where it is. So one day, the ship just vanished and he was all, “Huh, that’s weird. Oh well!”
As for the rest, again, there aren’t really any surprises in the movie. It’s just a pretty good episode of Star Trek mixed with some great moments.
Seriously: they weaponize the Beastie Boys song “Sabotage.”
Oh and there’s also moment where we see a picture of the original cast of Star Trek (from one of the movies) and it’s pretty damn touching.