This is a very very brief review.
I’m on record of disapproving of the Star Trek reboot, sometimes called “nu-Trek”, sometimes called the “Kelvin timeline.” That first movie offended me down to my Trekker core. The second movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, I don’t even acknowledge. It is detestable, a slap in the face of those of us who love all that Star Trek stands for. And I wasn’t even going to see the third of the nu-Trek movies, Star Trek Beyond.
But here I am, thousands of metres up high in the sky, on a trans-Atlantic flight, and I had nothing better to do but to watch whatever the airplane has to offer. So I watched Star Trek Beyond.
And, I must admit, I really enjoyed it.
The first two nu-Trek movies were stupid, insulting, shallow, and disdainful of the long tradition of Star Trek and the qualities of its beloved characters.
A good example is James Kirk. Captain Kirk is a strong, courageous, and moral leader. He is very smart, and can be relied on to make the right decision, though he prefers to become physically involved in any issue he’s tackling. His superficial qualities include his slight arrogance and his womanizing tendencies.
In nu-Trek, Kirk is reduced to those superficial qualities. He’s a self-obsessed frat boy who is all about the female flesh… because that was the brief handed to the writers, few of whom, it seemed, were fans of the canonical material. Those first two films were not made with love, but by formulaic hacks seeking a quick action solution.
With Star Trek Beyond, though, the love has returned. It is best described as a big-screen rendering of a very good episode of the TV show…. which is actually high praise. Each character has something meaningful to do that advances the plot. The relationships feel unforced and deep. And the star, Captain Kirk, is portrayed respectfully as a capable leader and hero.
There is very little fat in this movie, except for some overproduced action scenes and an underdeveloped villain.
However, as the bar for nu-Trek has been set quite low, I rate this film to be a success.
Some more random observations:
- How great was it that they ended that pointless Spock-Uhura relationship early on? And that the necklace involved in the break-up scene actually had an important role to play in the plot.
- The real-life death of Leonard Nimoy was handled with tact and sensitivity.
- They took the most handsome man in the world, Idris Elba, and hid him behind 6 inches of deep make-up. Why?
- Once again there was inappropriate use of 20th century music in a nu-Trek movie. But this time, I rather enjoyed it.