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STAR TREK BEYOND–REVIEW

beyondLast night my wife and I went out and watched the new Star Trek film with some great friends that go way back to college. I was fairly nerding out, because I wore my LLAP–Live Long and Prosper–shirt.

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I’m the one in the cool shirt #LLAP

 

Only mild spoilers follow–but nothing significant.

First Take

On first take, the movie was fun. If you like Star Trek, you’ll at least like this movie. It wasn’t the greatest, it wasn’t the smartest, it wasn’t the best plot, but it was Star Trek. In fact, it was super Star Trekky. My friend and I had the same observation leaving. We both felt like it was an episode of TOS (The Original Series) on steroids. In fact, no Star Trek fan would have been surprised by any of the material in the movie, but would have loved every bit of it as familiar, like a comfortable pair of jeans, or an old friend.

The acting, as always, was great. I am really digging the ensemble cast. Anton Yelchin will be greatly missed in the future. Karl Urban has nailed Dr. McCoy. I am certain DeForest Kelley is smiling, as is Leonard Nimoy.

Idris Elba’s talent, though, was mostly wasted. As is typical in Trek films, the bad guy is usually just too much of a cliche to be much of a real character. The only exception, of course, is Ricardo Montalban. And the Borg Queen.

The only technical thing that bothered me was the blurriness of the Justin Lin action sequences. At times it was difficult to discern exactly what was going on.

Second Take

I turn to my 16 year old sprout for analysis. She and the older sprout saw the film in a different theater from us. The first thing she said to me was, “It reminded me of Insurrection.”

She’s right. The crew on a planet. Something about stopping aging, and a doomsday weapon.  Yeah, that’s Insurrection alright.

I also spotted a lot of Star Trek: Enterprise in there, too. Enterprise was the worst of all the TV shows, but in the Kelvin Timeline (which started with the JJ Abrams reboot) the only television show still active is the Scott Bakula led Enterprise. There were so many references to that failed endeavor–the ship, the Xindi, MACO, and the jumpsuits–all come flooding back. Scotty even shouts at one point something about, “Polarizing the hull plating.”  Really?

Really?

The sad thing is, as much as I disliked Enterprise, there was great satisfaction in seeing all of that. It was the first of the reboots that really deals faithfully with the universe we Star Trek fans love so much. Now all I’m waiting for is a movie that features Voyager references or a very angry Benjamin Sisko.

Third Take

I tried to stay away from reviews, because I don’t like spoilers. The thing I heard the most was about the Sulu character’s sexuality.  Spoiler–he is gay. I didn’t think this was a big deal, and it wasn’t really a big deal in the movie. It reflects what we might expect in the Roddenberry view of the future. Anyone upset about a gay Sulu or troubled by that needs to remember all the aliens Kirk and Riker bedded. Does anyone remember the opening sequences of Star Trek Into Darkness where Kirk is in bed with two aliens that have feline tails? If differing sexuality troubles you, I suggest you steer clear of Star Trek. In contrast, there was almost no actual sex or romance in this film–in contrast to so many of the others.

The reference to Beastie Boys as ‘classical music’ was hilarious and typical Star Trek, which is always trying to shove contemporary elements, like Nazis, the US space program, or Roswell into the plot. Besides, one of the coolest Sci-Fi things ever was the use of “All Along The Watchtower” in the Battlestar Galactica series.

I hated the motorbike, though. Hated. It. Completely.

Final Take

If you like Star Trek, I think you’ll love it. There are tons of Easter eggs for you. If you like Sci-Fi in general, you’ll like it. If you like space movies, you’ll like it. If you’re looking for something like Wrath of Khan or The Voyage Home, you’ll be disappointed.