Trekk’d Out

Somewhere in Star Trek Beyond, underneath a cavalcade of nauseous visual effects and motorcycle chases, might be a Star Trek movie. Dialog only glances the philosophical (and Beyond’s villain spews more than anyone) but dissolve when Beyond finds the need to throw more action where it’s unwelcome.

To its credit, Beyond has a sense of physicality. Practical make-up and actual set construction are a welcome reprieve from a summer inundated with digital-itis. Slowly, it appears we’re returning to in-camera displays of artistry.


And then the rest, for which there is little credit. Star Trek Beyond ignites and then ceaselessly erupts in fire. Beginning with an enormous, hyper-extended attack on the Enterprise and then into kung fu and uneven gravity fights, Beyond’s energy is that of a two-year old. Many scenes spawn from interesting idea, but then blend into a flavorless concoction of film without much of a central thesis.

If the pattern follows this Star Trek series, the next entry may well be a single two hour explosion. 2009’s Star Trek bred illuminating dialogs on life and multi-verses. Into Darkness introduced discourse on empathy – the faults of strength of feeling. If Star Trek Beyond offers anything, it’s how war makes us complete. Then, with remarkable speed, Beyond erases any sense of authenticity by drowning that lecture in loud, hyper-active bombast.

… director Justin Lin brings over much of his ill-fitting action aptitude from Fast & Furious.

Those who notably blasted Into Darkness for its objectification of Alice Eve can find relief – she’s gone. Totally. It’s unclear where she went. In her place is a blast of pop culture, notably NWA and the Beastie Boys, the latter a connect-the-dots to the ‘09 Trek, but involved in an eye-rolling, grotesque way for a series bred on intellectualism and exploration of humankind.


It’s all fun, rebooted to spread Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi verse to a wider audience. By elevating the brevity, Star Trek Beyond does create an enjoyable banter between Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban). Beyond’s best decision-making comes in separating the Enterprise crew, stranding them on an unknown world in small groups. This allows their personalities to oxygenate, if still shadowed by pockets of action.

Removed from the iconic formalities – Kirk, Spock, the Enterprise – Star Trek Beyond’s menagerie of effects-driven showcases never elicit the sense of being Trek. Rather, that of a Hollywood sci-fi space movie with derivative sights and a lack of observant screenwriting. Blame who you wish, although director Justin Lin brings over much of his ill-fitting action aptitude from Fast & Furious. Those implausible camera angles, the swirling cinematography; all of it brings nothing to Star Trek. If anything, they lessen the identity of this series, bleeding out from restlessness.

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Star Trek Beyond’s downhill slide comes immediately, engrossed in its over developed action which sinks the under developed narrative.

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