I’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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.