Star Trek Beyond Review

maxresdefault-4I’m way behind on movies, but I finally get to see Star Trek Beyond (DVD on sale for $10 CAD!) over the Christmas break.

I had pretty high hopes for the film because I have read good reviews, but to be honest I feel it’s very similar in pace and tone to Into Darkness: it’s action-packed, fast-paced, loud and noisy, yet it lacks substance and thought. The biggest problem I have with it is the same one I had with Into Darkness — namely, plotholes.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But if someone can explain these points, please let me know and set me straight.

  1. At the beginning of the film, Kirk’s monologue makes it clear that the Enterprise is in year 3 of her 5-year deep space mission, and that they’re very much on their own on the unexplored frontier. So where did this elaborate Yorktown station come from? Is this thing in deep space? If so, why did the Federation put such a heavily populated, fragile structure there? And how did it get there in the first place? Or if not, then Yorktown is within Federation territory, which  means the Enterprise just backtracked all the way for provisions? I am so confused.
  2. This “uncharted nebula” that happens to be “nearby” to Yorktown station… why exactly is it uncharted? I would think if you choose to place a giant snowglobe full of civilians there, you would want to take a closer look at the neighborhood first. And it’s not like the Enterprise had much difficulty getting inside.
  3. Was the Franklin crew stranded on the planet after the ship crashed? That’s why Edison felt that the Federation abandoned them, right? Well, why didn’t they fix the Franklin? I mean, the Enterprise crew shows up for a day and gets the Franklin flying again, after all!
  4. How tough are the swarm ships, exactly? They are clearly tough enough to slash right through the Enterprise’s hull  and shields multiple times, so they must be super durable. Yet when their coordination frequency gets jammed, they explode en masse as they fly into each other. Suddenly they seem super fragile.
  5. This one is not a plot hole, just something that confuses me. When Kirk and Uhura were trying to disengage the saucer section, I thought Uhura activated the disengage with Kirk in the ejected “neck” portion, but then Kirk ran on to the bridge, which meant he was actually on the saucer. Did I see that completely wrong?
  6. Canon nitpick — the USS Franklin has a registry number of NX-326, which implies it is a newer vessel compared to the NX-01 Enterprise, yet in the film it is explicitly stated that the Franklin was the first Warp-4 vessel. So which is it? I have read articles trying to explain the seeming inconsistency, but let’s face it, when something like that raises a bunch of questions that requires explanation on a different venue, it smells and tastes like a mistake.

On top of the plotholes, a few other main plot points also bug me.

  1. Krall isn’t a particularly compelling villain. Sure, he is a transformed Starfleet captain, but he’s just a megalomaniac, sadistic despot who got his hands on some super tech WMD, and now he’s a terrorist with a thirst for revenge on the Federation. Does that sound familiar? S’right, that’s the third villain to fit that exact mode in three movies.
  2. As soon as they started talking about interrupting the swarm ships’ coordination frequency, I knew where it was heading. Sure enough, they stole the plot from Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, and used music to destroy the enemy. Long Live the USS Lynn Minmay!

Overall I’m not impressed with the movie. Like the previous two movies, it’s loud and fast-paced, entertaining in the summer blockbuster way, but it continues in the same vein and relies on flashiness to carry the film. This formula was fresh and new for Star Trek in 2009, but after seven years and three uses it’s getting tiresome.

 

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6 thoughts on “Star Trek Beyond Review

  1. You had me at “USS Lynn Minmay.” I about spat out my tea laughing while reading that. lol

    And yes, I totally agree on all those plot holes big enough to fly the Macross through. I’ve heard numerous explanations for the Franklin and its, shall we say, unusual numbering scheme. But none of them really make that much sense to me thus far. It just seemed like they hadn’t really done their research on Trek history, and then were just trying to come up with a plausible-sounding explanation for it once they got called on it.

    I think the main takeaway I got from it was that you can’t take the movie too seriously. But it kinda sucks at the same time because it’s Star Trek. We *want* to take it seriously. But I’m not sure it really worked this time (or the last time, or the time before that). :/

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  2. I still think 2009 is the best of the three alternate timeline Treks. This latest effort howeveris better thanInto Darkness just because Into Darkness was more or less a “spoof” of the best TOS Trek Film, Wrath of Khan. Not much on the originality front there.

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    1. While there were a few things I wished would’ve been done differently about Star Trek 2009, generally I agree. At least the first Abrams movie had a somewhat original story to it. Visually the movies are all pretty stunning, I feel, but for me personally the story also has to be just as good. I can forgive a lot of shortcomings with special/visual effects in a movie if the story is solid.

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  3. I haven’t seen it yet myself, but i can give an answer to #4 and possibly #1.

    For the first, yes iron can shred plastic, but iron also break iron when used on itself. Regardless of how sturdy the swarmers are, two identical objects hitting each other at sufficient velocity usually break each other. (Not counting small/tiny things like rubber balls, etc. that need to move really, really, REALLY fast to break each other.)

    On the Yorktown, I immediately have two thoughts. First, Prime Enterprise didn’t pull a Voyager and go in a straight line away from Earth for five years. Prime Enterprise basically made loops or arcs going out for several episodes then back to a starbase and then back out somewhere else. Second, is that way back in the days of forts, they were often used as tools of conquest, not just built in safe lands. Essentially if your troops can get from your castle to a location and back to the castle before an enemy can catch them, you own that location. The way many conquests happened, and still do (see any decent analysis of why China wants Taiwan), is you build the biggest fort/castle you can on the edhe of your turf, and that pushes your turf out farther. Build the next one as far as you can from this one, etc. And the idea is to build each one as big as possible. Given the Federation likes to expand by diplomacy and trade rather than war, it makes sense they would try to build a big mega-mall-like station in a relatively safe area (no major power ala the Romulans, Klingons, Breen, etc) to convince the local independent systems to start visiting. Especially in the Kelvin timeline where everything is bigger anyway.

    That said, the depressing reality is probably that one of the executive producers or some studio stooge wanted to compete with Star Wars. Force Awakens came out in Dec 2015, Beyond in July 2016. So they were in development at the same time. You know someone was thinking about the bigger than a planet new death star thing from Force Awakens and telling people to make sure Beyond had something big and cool too.

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