Nick Bizon Reviews Episode 2: Star Trek: Beyond - Deep Space
The movie opens just shy of 3 years into the Enterprise's 5 year voyage into deep space which began at the conclusion of Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013). Shortly after arriving at a Star Fleet base for some much needed relaxation, a distress signal is received from a mysterious alien. The Enterprise is the only ship capable of aiding the stranger. On their way to assist her the enterprise is attacked by a vicious foe, Krall, played by Idris Elba (The Jungle Book (2016), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Pacific Rim (2013)). Krall and his vast armada of ships take the crew of the Enterprise hostage and it is up to the handful of crew members who managed to escape to rescue them.
Idris Elba (Left), Director Justin Lin (Centre), and Writer/Scotty Simon Peg (Right)
Let me just preface this review by stating that I am a newcomer to the world of Star Trek, not seen anything up until a couple of episodes of The Next Generation in 2011 and finishing only the first season of TNG last year. I have never seen the original series so my only experience of the Kirk and his crew have been with these renditions. Nonetheless, I immediately took a liking to the crew and was excited to see how they came together in this timeline.
The movie started off a lot heavier than I was expecting. With Kirk and Spock both contemplating their futures on the Enterprise set the tone for an adventure that would eventually result in them coming to terms with what they really want. That being said, with the crew scattered it was interesting seeing how different members interacted when stuck together. My most favourite pairings is Spock and Bones. Those of you familiar with the characters will know that Spock, played by Zachary Quinto (Heroes (2006-10), American Horror Story (2011-13), Tallulah (2016)) is very logical and takes everything very literally much like Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Meanwhile, Bones, played by Karl Urban (Riddick (2013), Dredd (2012), Priest (2011), is uses his Southern charm to constantly spout colourful metaphors to make his point. Bones has also made it know throughout the franchise that he doesn't particularly get on with Spock and more often than not disagrees with his decisions. They're just a regular odd couple.
The film also takes an interesting turn when they discover the wreckage of the USS Franklin, a ship from over a century ago who has mysteriously vanished. This time capsule shows the very beginnings of Star Fleet, the United Federation of Planets and a time when Warp 4 was the maximum speed a ship could attain including old school technology and retro uniforms. This ship demands that the crew work with much more limited resources and capabilities than they are used to in order to rescue their friends.
One thing that always impresses me in movies when done really well is costume and make-up. It's always much more interesting to see a well crafted costume and intricate make-up than having large amounts of CGI characters with only a handful of real life actors. My part of the costumes was the survival suit worn by Kirk, played by Chris Pine (Into the Woods (2014), Rise of the Guardians (2012), This Means War (2012)) and Checkov (Dying of the Light (2014), Odd Thomas (2013), Fright Night (2011)) who tragically died June 9 this year. The suit is similar to a light-weight motorcycle suit and jacket. It is primarily dark blue with extra yellow detailing in the shoulders, I assume to correspond to his yellow shirt. The survival suit also juxtaposes nicely to the retro jackets that some of the crew find in the Franklin. Needless to say, I want one. The make-up was also excellently done on new character Jaylah, played by Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Street Dance 2 (2012)). Jaylah is essentially Star Trek's answer to Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). She has pale, white skin with black tribal-looking patterns down her face. The make-up is so well down that it looks like natural skin with areas where the illusion is broken. Back on the top of costume though, her's is also brilliantly crafted. It is has a number of leather and plate details that make it more complex than the survival suit I mentioned earlier.
I digress. The majority of the action is very CGI driven, probably the most of the trilogy, but that is expected from the genre. The story itself is very engaging with equal parts of full-on action and character interaction which tests how well they can work together in much more intimate settings outside their usual duties on the Enterprise. The story also rounds up nicely with an ending that could satisfactorily end the series, but still leaves room for the story to continue. I sincerely hope they do continue the franchise, however it may prove difficult without Anton Yelchin as Chekov. I dont know whether or not this is the best movie of the series as some people have said, but it definitely delivers on the quality and scale that it promises.
I rate this movie 8.5 Warp Cores out of 10
The Kiss that Didn't Happen
As you may or may not know, writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung decided to put forward the idea that Sulu, played by John Cho (Zipper (2015), Identity Theif (2013), Harold and Kumar Series) was gay. However, despite this idea George Takei, recognized as the original Sulu, spoke out against the idea saying that the character wasn't gay, despite the Takei himself being homosexual. There was a scene in the film where the crew arrive at the Star Fleet base and Sulu is greeted by his husband (actually played by Jung) and daughter and they kiss. Cho himself liked the direction the writers were taking with his character and wanted to do the best job he could in the scene but also had great respect for Takei and didn't want to do anything to tarnish the character.
I personally was pretty disappointed to find out that the scene was cut from the film, but was relieved when the two instead lovingly embrace each other and walk off with their arms around each other in the final cut. Even though it wasn't what the writers wanted it was a great compromise that effectively presented the idea while maintaining the integrity of the character.
Writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung
The only recasting that I can really think of for this movie is for Jaylah. However, its a bit problematic because the only person I could think to recast her as is Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Losers (2010), Avatar (2009)), who is already in the series as Uhura. Saldana has already proved herself very capable of being a total bad ass action character and would have fit very well into the roll. Although, she does an excellent job as Uhura in the series.
That being said, another actress that could have fit into the role of Jaylah is Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games Series, X-Men Apocalypse (2016), Joy (2015)). Once again she is an actress that has proven herself to be capable as an action hero and I'm sure she'd look the part once the make up and costume were on. But I don't think her voice would have given the same effect and essence to the character as Boutella does.
Zoe Saldana as Uhura in Star Trek: Beyond
Who Is your Favourite Crew?
Star Trek: Discovery - Comic-Con Ship Test Footage
Thank you again for reading, I hope to have another review out closer to the release of the next film I review. I hope you enjoyed this review and feel free to leave any comments or suggestions for next time.
Live long and Prosper