Star Trek Beyond has received glowing reviews from all corners of the web and press circuit, and I’m a little floored as to why. It was an enjoyable show, sure, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a great film. That said, Justin Lin presented an all new side to Trek, and I found myself appreciating a film I had nearly dismissed since the very first trailer was released.
I’ve been putting this review off for a while now, having seen the movie over a week ago, in the hopes that my thoughts on it would either soften or harden. Neither has happened, and I’m left to express the notion that the film was simply ‘okay.’
But let’s talk a bit about why the film worked, and why it was so enjoyable. It was the freshest take on the Star Trek formula of the three Kelvin timeline films to date, and as such it felt like a really good episode of a television series. Perhaps not a Star Trek television series we’re familiar with, but one inspired from the series. And that’s awesome. Sure, it wasn’t the epic science fiction experience you should get from a Star Trek film, but it was an experience nonetheless. A high-octane romp through the universe, as only Kirk and his crew can get away with.
The film does see the Enterprise crew going to distant races and extending the all-inclusive fellowship that Starfleet has to offer races with warp capabilities. That was probably the best way to start the film, for me, as it shows the audience that they want to keep the original purpose of the Enterprise’ 5-year mission a priority in this new timeline.
But man, the plot was flimsy, and the twist at the end was extremely foreseeable. Never once did it feel as though any of the characters were in any real peril, considering the consistency of their quips and the speed of the story. The only true loss in the film, the destruction of the ship itself, was spoiled in the trailers.
The actions of the antagonist were never explained, nor was his ability to harness a fleet of hive-like ships that work as they do. Why was there a motorcycle on the USS Franklin, and why was it working after all those years? And Jaylah’s ability to multiply things seemed incredibly convenient and overpowered. Let’s not even mention how Starfleet was able to defeat an entire army of those ships at the end.
Still, the film had me smiling from start to finish, and I can’t knock a good time. Jaylah was a great addition to the team, and I hope she makes it into the fourth Star Trek film in this timeline. Say what you will about J.J. Abrams previous two Trek films, derivative or not, they were better movies. This may have been more impactful to the lore of the franchise as a whole, but I found much of it to be a tad too silly and action-centered for my taste.