Weekly Review: Star Trek – Beyond (2016)

When the Enterprise is attacked by a hostile alien race, its crew is forced to crash land on a mysterious planet. Captain Kirk and his crew must discover how to escape this planet, while evading the hostile race that pursues a valuable artifact the crew has on board.

It’s taken me so long to finally see this movie. Part of the reason I put it off so much was because I just couldn’t find it anywhere to rent. I eventually was able to see it through a streaming service. I also wasn’t trying very hard to locate it because of my emotions about Anton Yelchin’s death. I just couldn’t bear to watch it. In any case, I have now seen Star Trek Beyond, so here’s the review.

I think I have an unpopular opinion about this one, but I didn’t really like it. Beyond has a great cast, including the addition of Idris Elba and Sophia Boutella. There were just so many moments when I felt that the direction was a bit off. There were a lot of moments when the characters didn’t seem like themselves.

Idris Elba is fantastic. I really enjoy him in pretty much everything he’s done. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was under-utilized in Beyond though. I wanted to see more from him. I wanted to see more from the character. I had a similar feeling for Sophia Boutella’s role. They did an okay job introducing her character, but I still wanted more.

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Honestly, that’s how I felt about the majority of Star Trek Beyond‘s story as well. Throughout the film, I was reminded of my recent review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in that the story is very meandering. Similar to the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, this installment in the current Star Trek franchise puts the characters and viewers in one place for an extended amount of time. By doing this, the viewer knows where the story is going, but it just doesn’t get there. It keeps going until it begins to drag, and despite the fact that there is stuff going on, it doesn’t feel that way.

In order to write this review, I ended up having to watch this movie twice. I fell asleep the first time I watched it. Granted, I was tired during that first attempt, but even on the second time watching it, I kept zoning out of the movie.

I’ve seen many people praising this installment in the Star Trek franchise, but it just wasn’t a hit for me. I preferred the more dark tone of the last installment, Into Darkness. I have noticed that many of the people who enjoyed Beyond weren’t fans of that dark tone in Into Darkness. I’m not sure if this is a direct correlation, but I’d be interested to hear from others who have seen both films.

There are some good things about Beyond though. I have no problem with the performances of the actors. It felt like they all did their jobs well. I also appreciated the aspect of the story that found Captain Kirk burned out over the episodic missions his crew had been on throughout their three year journey. It was an interesting meta statement on the nature of Star Trek as a whole and the characters who have been going on these missions for decades. It also created an interesting character dynamic in the beginning.

Despite all of this, I just can’t say that I enjoyed the movie. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again. I’m not sure if I would even purchase it to add to the rest of the Star Trek movies I own.

Hopefully, if there is another installment in this franchise, it will be something that I enjoy more than I enjoyed this one. Only time will tell.

Check out the trailer for Star Trek Beyond below!

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