As the Star Trek Beyond trailer along with interviews with people involved in the film appeared last month, I decided to write my thoughts on the film in response to this information. Firstly, I'll say what I think of the previous two films, Star Trek (2009) & Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). I am a Star Trek fan and I would have liked the 2009 film to be a mature intelligent film with a good story, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. However I did enjoy it as it was a good, entertaining film. I liked it how it was based on the original series (the Star Trek crew I like the most) and I loved seeing Leonard Nimoy's Spock (my favourite Star Trek character). I didn't like Star Trek Into Darkness as I found it to be badly written, rehashing material from both the 2009 film and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a bad choice of villain, Captain Kirk acting youthfully immature (a negative fact of the 2009 film that was worse here) and so on. For me, the 2009 film despite its changes did feel like Star Trek, but Star Trek Into Darkness didn't. I want the next film to be good and feel like Star Trek.
Here are my fears for this film.
I didn't like the way the trailer was structured and the music used. I fear that it will turn into a mindless action film having a bad story. I was not pleased to hear Chris Pine who plays Captain Kirk say "This one, I can definitively say, has the most action out of any one we’ve done so far." in a Yahoo! Movies set visit. That sounds bad as I found one of the reasons why Star Trek Into Darkness wasn't good was because the action was increased. While I wouldn't say the first film had a good balance between action and story, I thought it was OK in that aspect. The second film however had occasions when the action got in the way of the story. I'm hoping that the action isn't really being increased, but it's just something said to excite people who like action. I'm hoping that it may not mean more action, but more epic action scenes. If there's anything that should be increased it should be the storytelling, not the action. The actors would experience filming action scenes, but ultimately, the pace of the film will be determined by the editors irrespective of what’s shot.
I was disappointed by the fact that it is written by Simon Pegg (also Scotty actor) and Doug Jung. In Simon's case, it's because he was disrespectful to Star Trek fans who didn't like Star Trek Into Darkness, the fact that his previous writing credits have been comedies and the fact that they were rude comedies (a style I don't like) makes me concerned he might put too much comedy into the film and some rude jokes too. Since he hasn't written a non-comedy before, it’s possible he might not be good at it. I also haven't been impressed with his performance as Scotty. Doug Jung doesn't seem to be a good choice to me. There is also the fact that these writers began working on the script around the start of 2015 for a shoot in 6 months which makes it seem like a rush job. I'm not pleased with the choice of Director Justin Lin. A lot of his credits don’t look good, especially the Fast & Furious films which isn't a type of film I like. In response to fan criticism that he's making a Fast & Furious film in the Star Trek universe, Justin said “Yeah, and I don’t know if that’s the case here”. The fact that he said he's not too sure instead of that he's not makes me worried. I get it that those are films he’s made that he’s proud of, but these are two different franchises and making that kind of film in the Star Trek universe is disrespectful to Star Trek. I will now move on into my hopes for the film.
While I didn't like the way the trailer was structured, I did like some of the imagery from the trailer. Hearing some comments from Justin Lin about the story made me feel pleased about it. The idea of the Enterprise crew getting their ship taken out with 40,000 enemy vessels and them being forced to evacuate to this planet could be a good idea if executed well. I do like the design of the villain Krall and the line he says "This is where it begins, Captain. This is where the frontier pushes back". Justin Lin said these comments in a Collider interview:
“I think that at its core I felt like on this chapter if we could kind of deconstruct Trek on different levels and then hopefully reaffirm why it’s great then we can maybe send it off and they’ll have a long run after this, and that to me was kinda on a more cerebral sense, you know, I feel like that was kinda the mission here on this one. ... in this timeline I wanted to hopefully create something where we can be on the five-year mission, we can hopefully explore and push, and introduce new species, and put them in situations where hopefully it then mirrors back and reflects about the exploration of humanity. ... I like his character because his character is really challenging the way of The Federation’s philosophy, I think it’s great being a fan and a lot of times I watch Utopia, East San Francisco, and I always feel like, “Oh wow.” When you’re building this movie, you’re like, “So they don’t have money. How do they live? How do they compete?” And those are things that I think his character in a way has a very distinct and valid point of view.”
These comments give hope that there will be thought-provoking ideas in the film and an interesting villain. I hope that unlike the last film, the Federation's ideals will be portrayed positively. I like it how he mentioned going more on a cerebral sense. This film comes out during the 50th Anniversary so it's important that the film pay respect to Star Trek's legacy and values.
Regarding the Spock & Uhura romance, Justin said in Birth.Movies.Death “What we’re doing is appropriate to the two and a half years. It’s a continuation in a way, and I don’t want to ignore things and act as if they don’t exist, so there’s an acknowledgement and I think their relationship is consistent to the way it was before”. This comment hints that their relationship may not be in the film, which is good to hear as I didn't like it how they were in a relationship in these films. Even if it’s still there, it is likely be reduced according to these comments.
It's good that this film is set two and a half years into the Enterprise's five year mission featuring more exploring and especially the fact that there's many new alien species in this film. Justin said in the Yahoo! Movies set visit said that there'll be five times as many new species than the previous two films put together.
There are some signs that this film may turn out in a way that I won't like and there are also other signs that it will turn out in a way that I like. I'm very aware that the type of Star Trek film I want won’t be made by these filmmakers, but I do hope it will take what worked for the 2009 film, have more maturity and bring back Star Trek’s thought-provoking themes. Justin said in Birth.Movies.Death:
“I’m going to use a sports analogy, so forgive me. I can tell you what a great athlete I am, what a great basketball player I am, but when I step on the court you’re going to know very quickly whether I’m any good. In a way I feel like it’s easy to preach what the Federation is about, how you’re supposed to act, but what happens when you [are on your heels]. How do you react?”.
What he says applies to his film as directors promise all kind of good things about their films, but it’s only once the film comes out that we will know how true they were (if at all) to their word.