Thursday, July 28, 2016

Star Trek Beyond Review: Exciting Installment in the Star Trek Franchise

When thinking of science fiction moviegoers commonly look towards the likes of Star Wars at being the shining representation of the genre. However there is another series that boldly goes to be the personification of science fiction and that franchise just so happens to be Star Trek. Since its inception on television, Star Trek has played a major role in pop culture with its various television series, books and of course film franchise. Since 2009 Star Trek has ventured on the silver screen with a reboot to the film series which has captured the story of a younger crew to the original Enterprise. Now, to commemorate the series' anniversary, the adventure that started  seven years ago continues again in the new film Star Trek Beyond. The third installment to the rebooted franchise see Justin Lin as the film's director; whom takes the helm from J.J Abrams. With star Simon Pegg helping with the script, Star Trek Beyond looked to be an exciting (albeit excessive) summer blockbuster; but does the new entry boldly take the series to new heights or does Star Trek Beyond find itself lost in space?

Star Trek Beyond centers on the crew of the Enterprise whom are continuing their five year journey through space. Contemplating his future in starfleet, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) leads his fellow crew into an unknown nebula after receiving a distress call from another ship. However the Enterprise is lured into a trap which leads to the destruction of the famed starship. Stranded on an unknown planet, Kirk and the crew must find a way home; but that seems easier said than done as the villains Krall (Idris Elba) is determined to hunt them for an artifact that can help the alien to purge the galaxy.


The story to Star Trek Beyond was one that centered on being a simplistic adventure. Given that the series is all about the Enterprise journeying through space to seek out new life and new civilizations, the concept behind this story seemed  appropriate as well as refreshing (especially with past films dealing with major conflicts). The plot to Beyond was broken into several vantage points with Kirk and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) trying to find the rest of the crew, Spock (Zachery Quinto) and McCoy (Karl Urban) surviving the planet's  environment, Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Cho) being taken prisoner and Scotty (Simon Pegg) getting help from Jaylah (Sofia Boulista): a stranded inhabitant who seeks Scotty's help to get off the desolate world. There were many points to this plot and each of them managed to work well together. However this sci-fi story was not without its issue. Along the story's pacing being a little too quick the simple nature to this plot did not leave much to the imagination. While it was refreshing to have story such as this, the plot's overall impact did get lost in its effectiveness especially when comparing it to its predecessors' tales.
Since the reboot in 2009, I have found myself enjoying the ensemble to Star Trek as the characters' direction and the actors' performances have brought new life to iconic crew of the USS Enterprise. I am pleased to see that the cast in this latest installment continues trend started seven years ago. The crew of the Enterprise may not have had much development but it was pleasing to see that each member had a role to play in this new film; plus the actors performances continued to be spot on as each member managed to stand out. The new characters to the franchise managed to be great additions to the cast as well. Sofia Boulista as Jaylah was enjoyable and exciting to see in action. Idris Elba as Krall made for an interesting villain. While Krall's motivation was rather generic there was a compelling mystery behind this antagonist and Elba's strong performance  helped to make this villain intimidating. Along with a final appearance of Leonard Nimoy as Spock, the cast to Beyond was indeed a worthy one to tbe a part of the Star Trek franchise.

When it came to the technical aspects to this film, Star Trek Beyond certainly felt like a sci-fi adventure. This was evident in the movie's visuals. The visuals effects not only felt out of this world but direction from Justin Lin made for some creative moments in the cinematography. The movie's camerawork could be breathtaking as panning from one shot to another was handled with fantastic precision. However this aspect could be a double edge sword for the movie. While the film had some beautiful shots, the cinematography could also be distracting as its shaky cam took away from the film's action, and the lack in lighting made it hard to see just what transpired in certain scenes. In the matter of action the film was fairly entertaining. Granted this factor could have been stronger but the action felt appropriate for both film and the series as a whole. The score by Michael Giachinno was another great addition to the series as it capture both the adventure and sci-fi aspects that has made up the Star Trek franchise.

While it may not look like it, Star Trek Beyond turned out to be another solid addition to the sci-fi series. Granted the film is not as strong as its predecessors due to underwhelming factors such as story, but that did not make this installment from be a total lost. Star Trek Beyond turned out to be an adventure filled with simplicity and entertainment; making this film a solid blockbuster for both the franchise and the summer of 2016.