Star Trek Beyond – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

star trek beyondStar Trek Beyond – 4/5 – A trip into space is something most of us will never experience.  Through the mind; we can only think of what is out there.  The good thing is that through film we get the feeling of infinity that only our imaginations can come up with.  Through a series like Star Trek, we have experience space for many decades.  Since the reboot, Star Trek has brought us to experience otherworldly aspect through the realism of character drama.  This third installment is no exception.  With a new director at the helm (Justin Lin), we get an infusion of fans of the series love with a modern take of what sci-fi is today.  With the evolution of the characters at its heart, Star Trek Beyond is an enthusiastic ride that shows you what space adventures can be.

Premise:  In their mission to explore uncharted worlds; The USS Enterprise encounter a ruthless enemy.  With this unrelenting threat, the crew must come together before the Federation is destroyed.

The cast of the Starship Enterprise from the previous two films return.  If you would like to see a list of the actors/actresses; please refer to the IMDb page.  With this being the third film in the franchise, these characters have become well known through the wonderful acting of the people involved.  No matter who is in the spotlight (Kirk, Bones or Spock), you feel their presence strongly on the screen.  The visceral nature that is space is an endearment on the character’s growth.  With the situation that occurs in their continued journey in space; they face the obvious dire circumstance through specific personal dilemmas.  With a focus on evolving the persona of ‘who they are’ and ‘what they should be’; their growth comes in many decisive moments they face together and within.  This specific trait is elevated by the additional element of their chemistry together.  Being three films in, they have come into their own when it comes to defining what it means to be a crew.  No matter who is interacting with whom (Captain Kirk with Checkov; Scotty with Sulu; Bones with Spock); you feel the strength in their interactions.  You see the dramatic turns they must face while also having humorous banter that happens at the most unpredictable moments.  You see that comrade is a bond that cannot be broken.  Along with the returning cast, there are a couple of newcomers.  Specifically, the native of the estrange planet, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and the villain, Krall (Idris Elba).  These new additions add some flavor to the world of Star Trek, but they don’t go into providing real worth like the returning cast.  For all the intricacies that are involved with the ongoing relationship of the Starship Enterprise; their new ally and antagonist slightly contracts from the strong characterization.  These new characters are (on the surface) standard tropes you find in any sci-fi film.  Even in their cliché motives, Elba and Boutella do a good job in providing unique personalities with what they are given to work with.  The secondary characters’ help flesh out the universe that the crew (and the Federation) encounter.  No matter if its new inhabitants or the citizens of the Federation base Yorktown; you feel the realism throughout this imaginative story.

The direction goes along a standard/liner path.  Being the third installment in this franchise, we watch that the crew faces something direr then their 5-year journey into space.  They are facing their own personal dilemmas.  Within their mission, we see that each of them are facing an ideological barrier of what it means to be true; what is it that defines who they are.  This characterized theme is the hook within the intro of this film; providing a good starting point for the story.  That starting point also becomes the focal point; the crew of the Starship Enterprise.  In doing this, it creates a simplistic directive that creates the purpose that their encounters become a ‘backdrop’ to the evolution of the crew.  Through the first act, the focal point begins with Captain Kirk.  Still living in his father’s shadow; he feels that he doesn’t know who he is as a person or a Captain.  As this happens, Spock is trying to figure out his place; becoming torn between his crew and home world.  From here, the film moves in a ‘point A to B’ fashion of a standard flow that is found in most Star Trek films:

Encounter new world > hijinks ensues > Expositional moment with Federation (plot device) > Forwarded encounter of new antagonist (person and/or situation)

This linear progression moves the crew from their re-introduction and new ‘thematic’ points to the main encounter within the commonly used ‘mysterious foe’ scenario.  As the Enterprise is attacked, the crew gets separated on an uncharted planet.  As we move into the second act, it rehashes the plot directive above by paralleling it with the characterization of the crew.  A rash of moral and personal choices have to be made; one that shows the ideals of trust, friendship, love and sacrifice.  This is felt throughout the crewmates, new ally and the antagonist Krall.  This is a strength and smoke screen for the film.  As much as it is great to see the thematic change with the characters, it highlights the fact that there is no strong plot of what is really going on.  All the situations that occur are through convenient plot devices that the characters come across separately.  With a watchful eye, the setting of the ‘mystery’ behind the enemy forms a cliché kind of villain.  The predicable situation of ‘revenge’ comes to play as the crew members bring together the truth of what is going on.  Once the truth comes out, we move into the third act.  Here we see the eye of the director (Justin Lin) comes to play.  The spectacle of action and sci-fi gets infused with a weird but entertaining climax.  This climax will either cause you to feel adrenaline or see the cheesiness in the choice made.  Even so, the final encounter that happens between Captain Kirk and Krall is fitting of the character dilemma that has been the focal point throughout.  Once the obvious ending occurs; we are brought full circle with the characters.  We see (specifically Spock and Kirk) come to find true purpose of what it means to be true.

The visuals are an abstraction of delight.  From the creation of Yorktown, the space travels of the Enterprise to the gritty landscape of unknown worlds; you feel as if you’re part of this universe.  You are in awe of everything that is on screen.  A lot of the sequences are built off the use of CGI.  Even with the overuse, the imaginative has a realistic allure throughout.  On top of the panorama views; the action sequences are amazing to watch.  From the catastrophe of see the Enterprise getting obliterated to the hand-to-hand encounters; you feel the purity in the fast pace, quick shot experience.  The great thing is that Justin Lin keeps the visual eye on the action; allowing for frenzy to be felt in a realistic lens.  The score is another great tool used in the film. From the auspicious tracks used for the climax to the surrounding notion of the orchestras, you feel the elevation of the drama and humor throughout.  Through the music you feel the layering on top of what is visually appealing.

Star Trek Beyond takes us through some common avenues; but it brings us an eye of welcomed imagination.  Through the strong characterization of the themes and wonderful acting, this is an experience worth your time.  If you’re a sci-fi, Star Trek or a fan of great character films; this is one for you.  It is worth the experience.

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