I finally got around to seeing Star Trek Beyond. I had heard it was bad and frankly after the disappointment that was Into Darkness, I wasn’t in a big hurry to jump into another J.J. Abrams Star Trek debacle. The longer it’s been since I saw Into Darkness, the worse it fares in my memory. So did this new movie redeem the nu-franchise, or is it even worse? I guess you’ll have to read on to find out.
So click the button already!
When the Enterprise arrives at the Federation’s newest starbase for resupply, they get snookered into a rescue mission that turns out to be an ambush. With the Enterprise destroyed, Kirk and crew have to find a way to escape a supposedly deserted planet so they can get back to the Yorktown and stop the deaths of millions of people.
Yes. It was bad. And it was bad for a number of reasons, the three biggest are as follows:
- They blew up the Enterprise for no reason at all.
- The aliens, once again, had what amounted to a magical weapon.
- This isn’t TOS, this is Next Generation.
I’ll go into detail on all of these. There was absolutely no reason to destroy the Enterprise. None at all. See, when they did it way back in Star Trek III, it was a heroic death. The ship “died” saving the crew. It was emotional. This wasn’t. It was pointless. It was done so they’d have something to put in the trailer. It had no emotional impact because magically, there was a brand new Enterprise being built, even before Kirk’s black eye healed. Without loss, there is no impact. But this is part of a bigger problem that I’ll cover in a bit.
Secondly, the aliens had a magical weapon, just like they did in the first movie and like humans did in the second. This isn’t some super-advanced technology, it’s some guy with a magic wand waving it around. In fact, the whole alien race in this movie was laughably magical. They had literally millions of ships that, impossibly, could ram into anything and survive. Sorry, they didn’t have anywhere near enough people in that tiny little base to fly them all. Star Trek isn’t exactly hard science fiction, but it’s certainly not space fantasy either.
Third, and this is where I hate what they’re doing to the franchise, they’re turning it into Next Generation instead of sticking with the original series. The Federation were not the kind of wussy pacifists that they turned into as these Trek series went on, but that’s exactly what they’re doing in these new movies. And the whole thing is turning into technobabble nonsense. Scotty can do anything with two sticks and a ball of twine. It’s just ridiculous.
And where all of this really falls apart is that the new movie series can’t do a thing without ripping off the originals. Think about it. The first movie was decent, the second one ripped off Star Trek 2 and this one ripped off Star Trek 3. And there’s no way they could justify giving Jim Kirk a vice-admiralship after just 3 years at the helm, sorry. I don’t care how amazing he is, the chain of command just doesn’t work that way.
They tried to make George Takei happy by making Sulu gay, which both pissed him off and makes no sense whatsoever, plus it had no bearing whatsoever on the story, so why do it? To make the characters seem “inclusive” of course. But it comes off as pure pandering to the audience, which is really all this series does.
See, it’s clear that they’re trying to pander instead of just making a good movie. All of the TOS references and quotes to call back nostalgic memories from the audience is a cheap tactic. The movie poster was just a straight rip-off of the poster from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for crying out loud. This didn’t hold to what made the original Trek series good, it was just a bunch of explosions and CGI thrown on a screen with characters that happen to have the same names as the old show. That feeling just isn’t there. As much as I like Zachary Quinto, his Spock is nothing like Nimoy’s Spock. New McCoy is closer, but still not the same character. And Kirk has none of the bravado and presence of Shatner’s original. Pine comes off as cocky, not self-assured. He hasn’t earned it. He just shows up, says “I’m bitchin’!” and off he goes. That’s not Star Trek, that’s crap.
If this is the Star Trek that the new generation wants, I’ll pass. Star Trek, at least in the first series, was about intelligent space exploration and adventure. This is about blowing crap up. Thanks, but no thanks.