Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Movie with Abe: Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond
Directed by Justin Lin
Released July 22, 2016

Some series are meant to be franchises. “Star Trek” started out in the 1960s as a low-rated show that lasted only three seasons, and since then it has spawned four live-action TV spinoffs, over a dozen films, and succeeded well after a 2009 reboot with a young all-new cast. After J.J. Abrams reframed the two most recent movies, he hands it off to another director well-versed in sequel-making, Justin Lin, who helmed four “Fast and the Furious” films and now arrives take to steer this ship on the right track in yet another awesome epic adventure.

Though this 122-minute film covers a lot of ground (and space), its plot is actually relatively simple. At a monotonous point in the middle of their five-year mission, Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew undertake a daring rescue attempt when a lone survivor shows up at a space station requesting help. When it turns out to be an ambush, the saucer of the Enterprise is cut off from the rest of the ship and those who are not taken prisoner by the planet’s natives, led by Krall (Idris Elba), must abandon ship. Trapped on an unfriendly planet, the separated crew members must find a way out and figure out how to defeat the swarm of aliens intent on wiping them out.

This rebooted franchise has done a great job of establishing its main characters, and it’s fantastic fun to see all of them featured here. Kirk is charming and has a superb sense of adventure that makes him extremely useful in a tight spot, and he’s well-matched by the sterner sensibility of logic-based Spock (Zachary Quinto) and sarcasm-fueled Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban). Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and Chekhov (AntonYelchin) also provide wonderful support, and the late Yelchin proves particularly endearing in one of his final film performances.

This film earned just one Oscar nomination – for Best Makeup and Hairstyling – and it’s easily apparent that extreme effort was put into this film’s visual styling. Its effects are also excellent, and the music by Michael Giacchino is very effective in supporting the film’s overall energy. The plot here is far from complicated but the film works very well, and this entry doesn’t need to have too much connection to either the films before it or the ones after it, making it the rare standalone success story, equally capable of being part of a classic saga and doing just fine as a film in its own right.

B+

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