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 Post subject: Star Trek: Beyond
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:15 pm 
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Welcome back, Star Trek, all is forgiven. Let's just pretend that Into Darkness never happened and we can all move forward.

I honestly wasn't going to bother seeing this, but a couple of reviewers I respect liked it so I caught a matinee and I'm glad I did. It's a different director and screenwriters than the previous installments, and it shows. The director does the Fast and the Furious movies... unfortunately. There was a LOT of action and sometimes I couldn't follow exactly what was going on. Multiple fast-moving sequences that would have resulted in death for anyone other than Superman or the Hulk, but our heroes walk away with mussed hair and light bruising.

All of that can be overlooked, though, because the screenplay was excellent. Simon Pegg (Scotty) was one of the writers; apparently he's a huge ST fan. The plot was good, and didn't involve a universe-threatening crisis for once. The dialog was new rather than rehashed. I only noticed one reference to TOS: when Kirk asked Scotty how a 22nd century ship wound up all the way out on this unknown planet, he said, "there are lots of theories on what happened to it. Captured by Romulans, grabbed by a giant green space-hand..."

The method they used to defeat the bad guy was so techonbabbly and silly that it completely made sense and sounded like something you'd see in this universe.

The humor was well written and natural. For example, Spock mentions that they can locate Uhuru because the necklace he gave her contains a mineral unique to Vulcan that emits a specific type of radiation:
Bones: You gave your girlfriend radioactive jewelry?
Spock: The radiation is harmless, but we can use it to locate where she and the rest of the crew is being held.
Bones: You gave your girlfriend a tracking device?
Spock: [pause] That was not my intention.

On paper that could be ridiculous, but Karl Urban delivered his lines very low-key; you could tell it was one friend teasing another rather than chastising him. Kirk and Scotty in the background chuckling at it made it work.

There were some nice character moments, particularly near the beginning when Kirk and Bones are having a quiet drink to celebrate Kirk's birthday. Bones pours a third glass of scotch for George Kirk, because he died the day Jim was born. I got something in my eye at that point because it started watering inexplicably. Something similar happened when two Vulcans met up with Spock on the space station, because I knew what they were there to tell him.

Other than the over-the-top action sequences, everything else was done with a light touch. For example, about 1/4 of the movie has Bones and an injured Spock wandering through the wilderness. Its the standard "two people who don't like each other have to work together to survive" trope, but its subtle and doesn't go for the usual "put them through hell together and now they're best buddies" ending. They start the adventure as crewmates who respect each other already -- maybe they respect each other a little more afterwards, but it wasn't some life-changing event.

Some of the visuals were stunning. I think this is the first Star Trek movie that totally embraced the idea of 3-dimensional space, particularly with the construction of the Yorktown space station. It reminded me of the description of a GSV in Iain Banks' Culture novels. Probably a little advanced for the 23rd century though.

It was a little jarring seeing Anton Yelchin on screen. The mid-credits acknowledgements also got more dust in my eyes.

They had some subtitles for aliens when they were speaking an alien language. I would have appreciated subtitles for when they started talking English because I couldn't understand the accents all the time, particularly Krall, Jayla, Scotty.

One groan-worthy moment near the beginning: Kirk is making a Captains Log entry, questioning the value of their mission of exploration. He comments that this is the end of the third year of their five year mission, and that it's feeling "episodic". I literally rolled my eyes. Now that I think about it, though, that might have been a way for them to say "yeah, we're past the 3 seasons of TOS, so don't expect to see Organians, Talos V, the Nazi planet, the guys with half-white / half-black faces, none of that. We're done rehashing old plots and dialog. We apologize for the last movie, really."

Definitely worth seeing in the theater.


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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Beyond
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:45 am
Posts: 3576
Location: Toronto
It was okay. Good summer fun. True, better than the previous one and better than all the original movies except the first one.

The editing was a bit sketchy in places, they cut to a scene where Sulu, Uhura et al are breaking out of a prison, just like that. I did not recall them being tossed in in the first place.

The Federation Space Station seemed needlessly complicated.

The antique space ship seemed remarkably robust and space worthy. It would have made more sense if they had scavenged some parts from the other ship.

Why are nebulae in movies always shown as giant boulders grinding against each other with just enough room for the intrepid crew to squeeze through. They never explain why they haven't coalesced into one large rock.

I like the new hand phasers. More like pistols than fire hoses.

I liked how the Enterprise could not cope with that form of attack, kind of touching on the Enterprise versus the Galactica debate a.k.a. the battleship versus the aircraft carrier debate.

If you are only allowing yourself one movie this summer, pick something better like Suicide Squad but if you are a movie glutton like me, enjoy.

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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Beyond
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:17 pm 
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Location: Toronto
Oh yah, Dave is right. Karl Urban was fantastic as Dr. McCoy. The one liner "Typical" was delivered perfectly. And after a little research I realised that I liked him as Eomer and Judge Dredd too.

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