Star Trek Beyond (2016)

2016 #183
Justin Lin | 122 mins | Blu-ray | 2.39:1 | USA, Hong Kong & China / English | 12 / PG-13

Star Trek Beyond

The cover of Star Trek Beyond’s Blu-ray proudly proclaims that it’s “the best reviewed action movie of the year”. I don’t think that’s true (Civil War, anyone?), but it does indicate the mindset producing these films nowadays: they’re not the serious-minded sci-fi the Trek franchise was once known for, but action-orientated summer blockbusters.

As that, Beyond is pretty entertaining. An overall lighter tone than the heavy-handed Into Darkness, plus competently executed action sequences and fewer incredulity-inducing contrivances, make for a fun adventure.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t succumb to the modern franchise proclivity for forcing third movies to be trilogy-formers. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising though: it was confirmed before Beyond’s release that a fourth (aka fourteenth) movie is in development, so obviously this shouldn’t feel like the end of the road for this crew. The upside of this is that Beyond can get on with its story, unworried about being Epic.

Explosive

The downside is it creates a “just another adventure” feel to the plot — a bread-and-butter situation for Star Trek’s original TV format, but underwhelming in an expensive blockbuster movie franchise. Consequently Beyond feels inessential. That’s an odd sensation in a franchise nowadays, where the usual MO sees every movie feed into a bigger multi-film narrative. But with Into Darkness being deliberately ignored here (thanks to its unpopularity with hardcore Trekkies) and Beyond functioning as “just another adventure”, Trek is almost a franchise-out-of-time, where individual instalments can be entirely enjoyed in isolation.

Not that I think that’s a bad thing. Beyond may lack a certain epicness, but it’s entertaining enough for what it is.

4 out of 5

Star Trek Beyond is available on Sky Cinema from today.

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4 thoughts on “Star Trek Beyond (2016)

  1. Bloody horrible film. Star Trek Beyond Stupid would be a better title. As usual for modern Trek, plotholes and script conveniences are littered everywhere. Frustrating as the cast is fine and the production values are beyond anything the original Trek films (TMP excepted) could hope for.

    These films could have been good, but I’ve given up on them. They aren’t really Trek. Its just an excuse to jump on the Trek brand while making a sci fi blockbuster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kind of disassociate them from Trek That Was, because there is that disconnect in style, but as off-brand sci-fi action movies I think the ’09 film and Beyond are quite good. They’re not problem free, by any means — the fact they all have basically the same villain, or at least villain’s motivation, is kinda tiring.

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  2. I liked this one. It’s fun and has some really great Spock-Bones moments. You’re right that it is a standalone movie and these days we don’t get a ton of franchises content to provide something you can jump into without having seen the others. I’m looking forward to the next episode!

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    • I think the Spock/Bones stuff is another way it feels like an episode more than a movie — the characters being paired up in uncommon combinations is the kind of experimentation you more often find in a long-running TV show with time to spare. Not that it’s a bad thing, mind, because I agree their scenes are a lot of fun.

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