The first two J.J. Abrams Star Trek films were fairly decent homages to the Star Trek genre, but to true fans, they were a bit like a soy latte instead of the full macchiato – just not the real thing. So with this third attempt, have they finally figured out what makes a Star Trek film?
Short Answer: hell yes. As my screening companion commented at the end of the film, “That was a proper Star Trek movie.” After seven years, Abrams (who just serves as producer for this film, handing the directing reins to 'Fast and Furious'' Justin Lin) and crew have found the formula. A good deal of that success would be due to having a proper Trekkie as one half of the writing team: Simon Pegg understands the science fiction and Star Trek genres, and it shows, not only in the plot, dialogue, and his performance, but particularly in the character interactions.
‘Beyond’ doesn’t focus as much on Kirk and Spock as the previous two films. They’re still the major players, but now they’re sharing a good deal of the spotlight with the rest of the crew. Spock spends his time developing the relationship with McCoy which made them so entertaining in The Original Series, while other members of the crew tackle other aspects of the crisis. The film felt like a longer and very well-made episode of the show, and that’s what it should feel like. There was a proper bad guy with a complicated history and unclear motivations, along with a myriad of amazing alien species. There were space battles that blew our minds away and looked spectacular in 3D. And peppered between all this was the rich history and backstory that Star Trek is loved for.
This film seemed far more like a labour of love than the other two.
The special effects were 99% excellent, along with the technobabble (which I love) and the overall production value was top notch. This film seemed far more like a labour of love than the other two, as though the people behind this weren’t just making a Star Trek film because there might be an audience for it, but because they are the audience for it. The only reason ‘Beyond’ doesn’t get 5 stars from me is that the epilogue was a bit soft and unnecessary – sweet, but unnecessary.
I could go on further about the storyline, and tell you more about why I liked this film as a fan of the genre, but you don’t really need to read it. If you are a Trekkie, and have been disappointed with the reboot films so far, give this one a go; I promise it will make up for the others’ failings.