Sunday, 4 September 2016

Film Review: Star Trek Beyond

The latest Star Trek film Star Trek Beyond was released in most of the world in late July and I’d like to share my thoughts on the film. I am aware that many fans like or love this film and I respect that. This is simply my opinion of it. I wanted to like this film, but didn’t end up doing so as I had a mixed reaction. Regarding the new films I’ll say that I have some issues with this alternate universe that these films are set in (officially known as the Kelvin Timeline), but ultimately I liked the 2009 Star Trek film and disliked its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). I went into more detail about my thoughts on the first two films in my very first blog post here. I’ll begin with the positive issues of this film.

The film looked good visually. It’s uniforms, ship designs, sets, layout of the planet and the planet designs were very faithful to Star Trek. Parts of the planet seem reminiscent of a planet visited by the crew in Star Trek: The Original Series. It’s good how this film dealt with exploration in a way that the previous two films didn’t, as this film didn’t have any scenes taking place on earth. It was nice to see quite a few alien species in this film. While there are some qualities of this alternate version of Captain Kirk I’m not into, I do like it how in this film Captain Kirk was more mature than before. I didn’t like it how in Star Trek Into Darkness, Captain Kirk and Spock didn’t seem to get along well when that story began, so am pleased that they didn’t get into an argument in this film, though they did not spend a lot of screen time together in this film.

I’ll now go into some negative issues of the film. I found the film’s story to be weak, and an over-focus on action scenes. I thought the film lacked energy and soul. There were some jokes in the film that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t fond of the usage of a few rap songs in the film.

When Director Justin Lin spoke of the villain Krall, he spoke of Krall having a valid point of view and exploring the theme of some alien cultures disliking the Federation. Krall to me was just a tough violent character without much depth. When they finally revealed the full details of Krall, it seemed to contradict the message Justin had been saying. Yes, the film did speak of unity when working against Krall, but to me there wasn’t any discussion about the Federation through his character. I won’t reveal what Krall’s true identity is, but his true identity and background ended up being what I find to be a character type overdone in Star Trek.

It’s disappointing to me, as Star Trek: The Original Series is the Star Trek series I like the most, I want these films to give me similar feelings I get when watching the original characters and I didn’t get that with this film.

The film wasn’t bad, it’s just that I had too many issues with it to consider it to be a good film. I found it better than the previous film Star Trek Into Darkness that I didn’t like which is a positive. It had good moments throughout, some related to Star Trek but the film as a whole didn’t work together. Some elements of this film such the exploring theme and Captain Kirk’s performance improved upon the 2009 film, but the issues I mentioned resulted in my lowered opinion of it. I thought it was half a Star Trek film, half a generic Sci-Fi Action film. I also think Justin Lin’s directing style doesn’t appeal to me as the way he edited it, paced it and the tone wasn’t one I enjoyed.

I hope that for the next Star Trek film, which was was announced just before Star Trek Beyond opened, they will find a Director who is not famous for directing action, but for story and intelligence as I feel those two factors are needed the most in these new films. While I am aware that the new films will have action, I dislike the overemphasis on action as displayed in the last two films. I know the sequel to this film is unlikely to have good storytelling and intelligence, so what’s most important for me is for the film to feel like Star Trek, have more depth & substance, a stronger villain, be paced better and be a good entertaining film which I unfortunately didn’t find this one to be.