I Ate Some Popocorn: Star Trek: Beyond

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Those readers who knew me in my mid-to-late teens and early twenties are probably aware I’m kind of a Trek nerd. (And by “kind of” I mean super-ultra-mecha-nerd.)

It was with great enthusiasm that I greeted the first of the Star Trek reboots. I was . . . well, I was underwhelmed. It wasn’t the worst Trek film, but it was . . . well, it was setting the stage for the universe. That’s okay right?

Then Star Trek: Into Darkness came out. What a dumpster fire that movie was. And extra insulting because Star Trek: Wrath of Khan is an objectively good movie that really does hook into your emotions. But I could spend at least 2,000 words describing why Wrath of Khan is the best and Into Darkness is hot garbage in comparison.

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Pandering to my nostalgia . . . . . *sigh* yeah, ironically that totally works on us Trekkies

Despite that, I was practically giddy with anticipation when Star Trek: Beyond came out. Simon Pegg was writing it! And Simon Pegg is a fellow fan so I was sure that he was going to do right by the material.

Finally, my patience has paid off. It’s a Star Trek film that feels like Star Trek. Grandiose, curious, adventurous, and more than a little bit plot-holely. There are still some elements that feel “hello fellow geek, this movie is modern and hip won’t you agree?” but strangely it is not the Beastie Boys’ contribution to the soundtrack. (That element fits perfectly actually).

And I think it’s kind of adorable that the film Simon Pegg wrote has the hot alien girl relating to Montgomery Scott and not Kirk. Simon, you sly dog.

The lush colors were a nice change from the stark palette that Abrams preferred for the Trek films he directed. The movie also seemed to enjoy casual aliens in the ensemble scenes, which wasn’t as notable in any of the previous Trek films. This gives a much more populated feel to the otherwise human-centric United Federation of Planets. (In ‘verse you could explain this as creatures with similar biological requirements are best grouped together on ships. But still…..). My big complaint is that there are some plot things that make no sense and they tried to use special effects to hide that (but that’s part of the Star Trek feel too I guess).

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Karl Urban is a living scowl. How much photoshop did this benign expression require?

The director, Justin Lin of Fast and Furious fame, did a pretty good job. It was well put together. But it was directed like a Fast and Furious movie. His skills lie in action sequences, not instilling awe via the environment of the movie. And in the action movies it was treated more like a car chase than a dogfight (the kind with planes). Starship battles should be more like dogfights or submarine battles than car chases.

It was a solid entry in the Trek filmography. Not the best, but it’s a good summer film and a step in the right direction. I’d see this one in the theaters, but I don’t feel like I missed much seeing it in 2D.

Minor spoilers ahead, but damn it Jim, I want some answers. Those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet may go.

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Okay, you were warned

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  1. Spaceships as bludgeoning weapons. I’m in favor. Not really a question I guess.
  2. Why do all these space battles end in fist fights? It’s ridiculous, right? I don’t feel the need to see the protagonist and antagonist go toe to toe as a climax.
  3. I feel like this movie went on too long. Only like 5% as compared to the easy 15% that Into Darkness indulged in (although it did save us from “A Search for Kirk”), but really. I feel like the final confrontation should have been over when the big thing squishes the little things. That would have been a lot cooler than the dude punching the other dude. What do you think?

(For my FB friends, you should comment here instead of on the FB feed. I don’t want to accidentally spoil a movie)

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