Review: Star Trek Beyond Suspension of Disbelief

It was nice to see the old gang again, but it’s disappointing when that’s the best you can say about a movie, especially one that’s been touted by so many positive reviews.  There were major flaws with the movie, not even considering picky details like the transporter technology and how there happened to be an old motorcycle on a star ship.

Based on the series by Gene Roddenberry, Beyond is the thirteenth film in the Star Trek franchise, and the third in the “reboot” series. Since it was directed by Justin Lin (Fast and Furious), I figured there would be a lot of crashes and explosions, but I expected something more substantial from writer Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead). I was left with the impression that perhaps Pegg was just brought in to punch up the dull script with the few funny bits of dialogue.

The main problem was that there was hardly any characterization or plot. I wanted to see what was happening in the lives of the beloved old characters, but it’s a little early for Kirk’s midlife crisis, the one nod to character development at the beginning. Then it was just one scene after another of action, crashes, and explosions cutting into the next.

I especially disliked the destruction of the Enterprise at the beginning of the movie, and a lot of those action scenes were dark and hard to follow. The attack on the Enterprise and the scene when Kirk went back to the saucer on the planet were especially difficult to see.

And what was the motivation of the bad guy? His plan made no sense. Why did he even need the super weapon when he had the huge fleet of attack ships? In the middle of a fight scene with Kirk, he mumbles his grievances, but it was hastily explained and never seemed clear.

I also really hated the Beastie Boys moment. I thought maybe it was just a marketing strategy for the trailer, but no, it ended up being a major plot point. Ugh. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban are all good actors, and I like them as Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and I wanted them to succeed. I really did. Sometimes good actors can breathe life into a thin plot, but in this case, the story was emaciated to the point of being Beyond resuscitation.

The art direction and set design were excellent, but that can’t carry a movie, either. I would suggest that if the producers decide to do another sequel, they would do well to give up ten or fifteen minutes of special effects and spend that money instead on a promising writer. I bet they could find someone easily. Someone who cares about plot and characters. Someone who really knows Star Trek. Someone, well, like me.

 

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