Star Trek: Beyond - Justin Lin
Since the reboot initially helmed by JJ Abrams, Star Trek has felt more like Star Wars. This only become even more evident when he directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens and was given, more or less, creative freedom and this led to a movie that people criticized for being too similar to the original. But with Abrams taking over writing and producing the remaining films in the new trilogy, Justin Lin has stepped in to take his place, who is best known for his work on the Fast and the Furious franchise. The result is surprisingly fun.
3 years into their 5 year mission to explore deep space, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the USS Enterprise are informed of a crashed ship and that theirs is the only one capable of making the journey through a dense nebula. Reaching the other end of this nebula, the Enterprise is attacked by a swarm of small drone-like fighters and crashes on the very same planet as the other. During the attack, a boarding party was observed to be searching specifically for an ancient weapon. With most of the key crew members taking escape pods and landing safely, they are tasked with finding the rest of the crew, stopping the attackers from activating the weapon, and escaping the planet without any means of communication to a near Starfleet base.
There is a line from Captain Kirk’s monologue in the beginning that may or may not intentionally set the tone of the movie. The monologue is mainly exposition and contemplating his place in Starfleet, but he says each assignment is making the mission “episodic.” What I initially thought to be a one-off line that served as a wink to the audience that this used to be a TV series started taking a different meaning as the movie progressed. The franchise, at this point, wouldn’t require seeing the others beforehand. While there are some continuing storylines that may help having seen the previous two, like Spock and Uhura’s relationship, they're such small elements of the film and don’t call back to, say, Spock’s near-death in the intro to Into Darkness that did become a talking point later on in that film. None of this is necessarily bad. Feeling a little disconnected from the other movies, and even from the landmark locations, means that they can have fun. The scene from the first trailer where Scotty (Simon Pegg) walks in and asks if someone is listening to music, kicking off a montage of set pieces and excitement to The Beastie Boys is how the entire movie feels.
With everyone reprising their roles for a third time, the cast is comfortable with their characters. The only prominent newcomer here is director Justin Lin, and he does alright. the Fast and the Furious movies always had at least well directed action, and while I want to say the same, there are moments that are weaker compared to others. There are scenes with close shots and borderline excessive shaky cam that are clearly used to mask subpar fight choreography. At least these moments are interlaced with another corresponding fight that uses wider and steadier shots, but this also exaggerates the difference.
It’s another summer blockbuster, lots of fun that I would say can be enjoyed even if you haven't seen the others. In stepping back for a second, I would say this is my least favorite of the recent Star Trek movies, but it's not far behind the others at all.
"Curtains" is where you can catch movie reviews by the Metal Lifestyle staff.