Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Friend Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Two weeks ago I went to see Star Trek Beyond with Nova Scotia friends. They were gracious and let me pick the movie; I was a very excited Trekke. Sadly, Duane couldn't stay for dinner after so I don't have his thoughts on the movie.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead.

Good:
Alice: Right at the beginning Kirk is giving his captains log and says "this is beginning to feel episodic" which was a fun call out to the original series. The new girl, Jaylah, and Scotty were the best part of the movie. I would watch a whole movie of just those two having adventures. There were a few good nods to the episodic history. The first part of the movie was slow but once had explosions started the pacing improved. There is this moment when Krall appears to have a change of heart and is going to help stop his weapon from killing everyone. I was realized that that was not the case; he was going to try and fight Kirk again. It would have cheapened the movie if he suddenly changed his mind.

Aurora: I loved music even though there was a Guardians of the Galaxy meets Star Wars. The plot was also decent.

Me: I seemed to enjoy bits that my friends didn't. I liked the referencing of bigger universe, the moments taken to grieve Ambassador Spock as a tribute, the foreshadowing of important things...even when you knew it was going to be used later (like the motorcycle). In the moment of watching I thought it was paced well. There were a few that on thinking about I thought were more clever, like the Uhura trying to give the necklace back to Spock. It was a quick sign that the relationship had ended but it isn't till later we learn that the point of that moment is to know that Uhura has a necklace made with tractable Vulcan rock. I loved Jaylah; I wasn't sure if I would from the previews if I would like her. She was so much better than I expected. I loved her dialog with Scotty, I loved her character arch and backstory, and I loved her fight scenes. I also loved how she knew language was because her "home" taught her and that "home" was a crashed Federation ship that tried directly back into main plot. I also liked the Kirk's bike diversion and the whole rescue.

Less Good:
Alice: The pacing of the first part was slow and boring; it was almost too late by the time things picked up to save the movie. While I liked the "episodic" reference there were too many reminders of the bigger Star Trek universe along with heavy handed and poorly executed set-ups. There is a female officer in green (not sure if she's named) couldn't act. Her emotions never matched the scene. The most obvious was her "assistance" the rescue. And with everything the crew went through, all the deaths that happened during the attack, crash, and slavery it is impossible that none of the main named characters died. Especially Uhura, her actions and boldness should have gotten her killed.

Aurora: I had the same issue with the start, it was slow and boring. Not only did none of the main characters not die, no one looked seriously banged up from the attack, crash, or enslavement. Everyone should have been caked with dirt, had tears in their clothes, noticeable injuries, and less that pristine hair and make up. How is Uhura's hair not a tangled knot by the time Spock rescues her? The weakness of the station felt very much a repeat of the weakness with the Star Wars death star. We need more original ideas. Also the Sulu character, who has been a played as straight by George Takei suddenly being given a husband felt like a forced LGBTQ inclusion and an attempt to probably honour Takei for being openly gay. I already knew Takei did not appreciate the change in the character. This is a comment from his interview with Hollywood Reporter “I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Roddenberry, Star Trek creator]’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.” Having seen the few scenes with the husband I agree. It was clunky and took me out of the movie to think "oh yeah, this is a nod to Takei."

Me: I wasn't bored by the start but as soon as we were talking about the movie I began to think how the start could have been better. There was a lot of dry set up like Kirk and Spock each planning to leave the ship. If writers/director had moved the ship emergency from the space station to a bit earlier and had the crew save the alien on route to York, there would have been action to break up some of the exposition and also given a better reason for the Enterprise going out so soon after docking. Why Kirk had to go seem like a stretch however if he had they saved the injured alien and made first contact, there would have been more of an obligatory "let's finish this last mission" mindset which would have makes more sense to me. Another thing that made little sense to me was Krull. I didn't get his motivation. Once we learn his backstory it make less sense and more mental leaps. It was the weakest part of the movie for me. I also don't get how Krull discovered the ancient weapon or amassed such a loyal army or where all the pilots that flew the bees were when not flying.

We all discussed Krulls' appearance returning somewhat human. My theory for his evolving looks is the ancient-eternal-youth-death machine; each time it is used it fills the host with the victims life/maybe DNA. Over the decades that Krull kept using the machine his very core changed with each a new species killed. He starts returning to human because he was flooded with DNA from the Enterprise crew.

Final Rating:
Alice: 3 sentient popcorn out of 5 (there were talking popcorn in the Cineplex preshow)
Aurora: NCC1701 -C (That's the 4th Enterprise out of 6 ships)
Me: 3.1 red shirts out of 5

A Question:
During the crew rescue, were any red shirts beamed up/saved?
We couldn't remember but we don't remember seeing any.

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