Star Trek Beyond (2016) - Review
by Bryan Mero
Welcome back Star Trek!! Its been a while since we've been able to recognize you. You were kind of a mess last time we met. I'm so glad your looking back to normal.
Star Trek Beyond (2016) continues the mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise on its five year mission to explore strange new worlds...you know the rest. We've got the crew back, Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban as Bones and Simon Pegg as Scotty (who also co-wrote the script). Kirk is getting a little tired after three years of exploring. He's considering taking a Vice-Admiral position but there's one more mission to take after a survivor is found from a nearby nebula asking for help.
Once inside the nebula, this is where the movie takes you into some incredible space battle action and seperates our characters on an alien planet. In terms of plot I won't go into more detail just in case you haven't seen it yet. If you like Star Trek(2009), you are really going to like Star Trek Beyond (2016). In some ways, I liked it even better than the first. It places certain characters together in survival mode and let's them have conflict and fun. The best example of this is Bones and Spock together on the planet. The dynamics that we saw from the original Start Trek tv series is still on display here. Bones is a firebrand country doctor while Spock is the logical, non-joking Vulcan...which makes for some great humor and also some character development as both characters reveal more about themselves to each other.
This is really what Star Trek is about. It's about relationships. The Federation is looking for new worlds to be apart of, Kirk is a diplomate to alien races and the crew is in constant relationships with each other. What about the bad guys? Oh yes, there's always a conflict to resolve but it's how they resolve it and how that action can help or hurt their relationship with each other. That's the problem with most 'bad' space movies, they don't develop the characters enough that the viewer really cares what happens to them. Star Trek has had years of TV re-runs, feature films (good and bad) and now these new series of movies from J.J. Abrams. The audience sees McCoy and Spock together and it harkens back to the original series and movies. It's like a nice warm blanket on a chilly evening...makes you feel comfortable. How could you not have a smile on your while watching these two classic characters interact? Let me give a big shout out to Simon Pegg for staying true to the source material. Well done sir.
The special effects were fantastic, the makeup and non-cgi elements incredible...whoa, gotta stop right there. The character Jayla (Sofia Boutella) was great both by character design, action and dialog. The makeup and costume for Jayla was great. You see the character in the trailer but get to see so much more in the movie. The design that is applied to her face is awesome. You can also tell that Sofia Boutella put her all into the role and became Jayla. This is not an easy task to introduce somebody new into a movie with so many established characters. I still don't feel good about how Khan was handled in the last movie but here they pull it off without us even noticing. Idris Elba also has awesome makeup work and gives a performance as only he can. He is definitely one of my new favorite actors.
So what's not to like? Ok, going into some dangerous territory here...the subplot of Sulu's family...somehow it felt tacked on or just forced. Was this an essential part of the story? No, not really. Did it ruin the story? No. It felt more like a puzzle piece that just didn't fit right, even though it's the last piece of the puzzle. Do I have a problem with it. No, but apparently George Takei did and honestly asked Simon Pegg not to change Sulu's character as a tribute to him. Pegg disagreed and left it in the movie. Here's my problem. Here I am writing about this when really nobody really cares anymore. It's just a distraction from the actual story telling as if Pegg is saying, "See, we're culturally aware on Star Trek." To me it felt unnecessary.
Overall, this was a fun ride. There are constant throwbacks to the TV series and movies and then creates its own new badass moments. I can only hope they can keep making more Star Trek movies like this one. There are so many more adventures to be had, let's keep it up and find new life and new civilations...again, you know. If you liked the orginal series and/or the first Star Trek(2009)...your going to love Star Trek Beyond!
p.s. RIP Anton Yelchin