I guess I’m a Trekkie at heart. I grew up watching the original series on late-night reruns, could recite the intro monologue complete with Shatner-esque pauses, and wanted to be Mr. Spock (pointy ears and all). Truth be told, while I love all things Star Wars now, I’d never even seen its original trilogy until my now-husband and I started dating in the mid-90s (just admitting that makes me think I need to hand in my nerd card). Still I would have said I didn’t favor one franchise over the other, as so many seem to treat them as dichotomies, until I saw Star Trek Beyond, which surprisingly topped the box office this past weekend. That’s not to say that the latest Trek installment is better than Star Wars, but its effect was more visceral for me at least.
Here’s my SPOILER-FREE review:
Star Trek Beyond is a beauty aesthetically – the special effects nearly steal the show – and given the way the camera lingers on shots of constructs – I’m guessing it’s what the director is most proud of. The film has a bit of a slow start and takes a while to set up the plot. But once the action starts it doesn’t stop. That nonstop action, in space no-less, keeps the movie moving even when some portions of the plot don’t quite make sense. What really awoke the Trekkie in me was a pretty intense … er, um, death of sorts (I’m trying not to give too much away) that, to me at least, rivals Han Solo’s demise in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (surely that’s not a spoiler by now).
Chris Pine delivers once again as Captain James Tiberius Kirk. If you remember back to when he first took the role Bridge, there was some question whether he was playing Kirk or playing Shatner, who so many saw as the epitome of the Captain. Despite my childhood nostalgia, I was never one to say there can be no other Kirk. And Pine really comes into his own in this film. There’s an exchange between him and Bones (aka Dr. McCoy), where Bones says Kirk joined Star Fleet to live up to his father and now he’s just trying to figure out who he is. That insight parallels Pine’s growth in the role, I think. Pine isn’t playing Shatner playing Kirk here; he is worthy of the Captain’s Chair.
I have a harder time being objective (or logical, ironically) about Spock. Zachary Quinto does a fine job I suppose. I guess my human side just has a soft spot for Leonard Nimoy.
I spent a large part of the movie either laughing at Bones or thinking Karl Urban was a bit over-the-top. There seemed to be no happy medium.
John Cho’s Sulu doesn’t get enough credit, though he does get a good line or two. I had a hard time watching Chekov on stage without thinking of the actor’s untimely demise (RIP Anton Yelchin).
Zoe Saldana’s Uhura gets to show off her strong, loyal side, and not just to her odd couple love interest Spock.
Of course, my second favorite character (after Spock) was always Scottie. He was always so loveable, so long as you didn’t mess with his baby, the USS Enterprise. I adore funny-man Simon Pegg in the role. He also co-penned the script this time around, which is evident with the number of one-liners (both the humorous and the poignant ones).
Those one-liners, along with the special effects and intense action, make for an enjoyable movie. Plus, there’s a pretty epic battle sequence set to the soundtrack of “Sabotage” cued up by a trademark-confident Kirk’s, “Let’s make some noise.”
So this nerd thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek Beyond. Though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I still prefer a good superhero movie over all the space racket. Lucky for me, neither Marvel nor DC show any signs of slowing down on bringing their comic book characters to life on the big screen. The next big superhero … well sort of … film is Suicide Squad. No doubt it will have its own “noise” in the form of action and chaos along with a healthy dose of one-liners. Suicide Squad is expected to be pretty epic and is set to open in theaters on August 5.