Star Trek Beyond Absolutely Is
I saw the premiere of Star Trek Beyond last night, which opens in theaters today, Friday 22.
The film is aptly titled, because it stretches this young version of the original Enterprise crew in every way.
In the first reboot, trekkers needed to see Chris Pine as a believable, but respectful, Jim Kirk. He was, and continues to be, masterful, as are the rest of the cast.
From the beginning, too, we became aware that this new franchise would not follow the timeline set forth in TOS (the original series).
Straying from the time line bothered me then. The X-Men have taught me to appreciate the limitless possibilities that flexibility can offer the imagination. The characters and their relationships remain, even as their backstories morph from episode to episode.
I’m not the only person who has a hard time with the reboot pushing beyond Gene Rodenberry’s vision. George Takei, the original Sulu and current gay rights activist, wasn’t thrilled that young Sulu (now played by John Cho) has a husband and daughter. Takei has been quoted as saying he was happy to see a gay character, and understood the tip of the hat as it was intended, but felt it unfortunate to stray from Rodenberry’s originally character.
While the timeline may change, and the character’s backstories may grow, a few things remain consistent. Star Trek stories have always reflected our societal struggles. TOS brought us the first interracial kiss on TV, for example.
In Star Trek Beyond, the crew faces a villain who believes that strength and identity come from conflict, and the unity created by the United Federation of Planets is dangerous. Doesn’t that sound like conversations heard around the world today, where some fear unity between countries will lead to a dangerous “world government”?
The special effects in Star Trek Beyond are dazzling, but almost so over the top that they distract from the story, making it hard to follow at times.
The death of Leonard Nimoy is paralleled in the story line.
It was a bit hard for me to enjoy Anton Yelchin’s brilliant portrayal of Chekov, knowing that the actor himself didn’t live to see the movie open.
What made this movie work for me wasn’t the story or the tech, it was the chemistry between the cast, and the way they developed their characters and relationships. For me, it felt like spending time with old friends, and learning new things about them.
An added dimension to the cast came from a surprising new female character whom we’ll expect to see in the next adventure.
This movie should not be missed by Trekkers, Trekkies, sci-fi geeks and people who enjoy watching the destruction of intricate spaceships, and explosions in space.