Dr. Bob's minions tire away endlessly to help the good Doctor in the name of science,
but with what little downtime they get they would like to share with you fine people! 

Admiral Starblade reviews Star Trek: Beyond

By Critch



I probably should expand on Star Trek: Beyond in the form of a review, considering, well, who I am, and what the Kelvin Universe means to me and why I defend it.

In case you didn't know (In that case, hi, come to my Facebook, we have cookies, Rocky Horror, and occasionally arrogant political arguments) I basically found myself in Star Trek through the USS Kittyhawk and then the Maximillian, becoming a leader, an Admiral, and finding Marcon and basically some of the finest friends. In fact, there's a direct path you can draw from my path through Trek to Rocky Horror. So in the beginning for me, there was Star Trek.

So Star Trek was going way downhill for awhile. Insurrection and Nemesis were duds of cinema, Voyager was a blight, and Enterprise, while it had gotten better in the later years, had dwindled away in UPN to nothingness. Trek was going to go on the trash-heap next to Babylon 5 and Earth: Final Conflict.

And then came J.J. Abrams, someone who had no great love for Trek, in fact favored Star Wars so far he snuck R2-D2 into the first film. He decided that to best deal with Trek's myriad universe that had gotten so convoluted and large, he would go back to the basics, to the Trek everyone loved. The original series.

But instead of just jettisoning everything that had come after and started completely fresh, he did something that was so damn smart. Setting it up as an alternate universe to the original insured that the original series was not erased, and was free to be touched on at any time, even if it was limited to the expanded universe stuff. Meanwhile by bringing in Leonard Nimoy, they honored what had come before, and focused on the beginnings of Kirk and Spock, the heart of Trek.

I loved the first movie. It delivered everything I ever hoped Star Trek would be, and was both a critical success and popular, finally making Trek something that nobody at that time thought it ever could be: cool. It had Time Travel! Exploding Planets! Sulu sword fighting! Michael Giachianno scoring! It was everything I wanted, and great to boot.

Into Darkness wasn't as great. It was good but hued too close to Wrath of Khan, but honestly I'm just glad they got it out of their system and kicked Roberto Orci to the curb. Still a lot of great scenes, and Peter Weller! Also Spock's "That being said" was awesome.

As an aside, I think it's complete nonsense that a large portion of the Trek community turned against Abrams. The movies were finally successful, people cared about Trek again, and he started getting slammed. If you don't like the movies, that's your right, but to basically go to the level some of them went to it was like the first signs of what would later become things we saw in Gamergate and the Ghostbusters debacles. Not anywhere near the same level of misogyny and embarrassment, but just a small subsection screaming louder than their numbers would suggest about how Trek was ruined forever. What did they actually want? The same Trek that got it cancelled and almost dead in the first place? In the words of Alexander Hamiliton, "They don't have a plan, they just don't like mine!"

Anyway, Abrams went off to save a third franchise, but still stayed close enough to produce Beyond and shepherd it. It looked like it was in trouble for a while. Roberto Orci, a conspiracy theorist that had stuck by Abrams and also wrote Transformers, got kicked off the directors and writers chair. Paramount seemed again to treat Trek as their own red-headed stepchild, but eventually settled on Justin Lin to direct, the director of the insane Fast Five and Six. It was going back to the action.

But wait! Simon Pegg was chosen to write. And there's very few people that have more geek cred than Pegg. One of the VERY few that have hit the Sci-Fi cycle (Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Star Trek), he was a perfect choice. And Justin Lin, only known for action, turned out to be a Trek nut.

So we come to the movie. And what the movie is, is a love letter to The Original Series with some great story beats alongside some of the best action scenes and effects work I've ever seen. Every shot of the Enterprise is done lovingly, and when it's getting ripped apart, you can tell it's hurting the people that made the movie just as much as the people in the movie.

The plot itself centers on the mid-5 year mission crisis of both Kirk and Spock. Kirk feels he isn't living up to his father's example. Spock is feeling the urge to help New Vulcan. On what could be their last mission, they stumble into an evil plot by Krall (Sounds like Krull) and a billion drones, which provide for some incredible scenes.

Kirk and Chekov (WONDERFUL in his last major role), Spock and Bones (Both hilarious and touching as their actual caring for each other comes through, Scotty and the new alien girl (Very good and hopefully comes back for future movies), Sulu and Uhura are captured. Even Keenzer gets something to do. And his own small friend.

The movie itself references Enterprise a lot more than I was expecting too. From the ship that looks very similar to the NX-01 to an alien race I would have NEVER thought I'd hear uttered in a Trek movie, this is a movie that honors it's heritage no matter how little known it is. The scenes with the cast together really feel like the classic movies.

In the end this is the 50th anniversary of Trek, and it's been honored (Specifically in an unexpected picture that shocked me with it's inclusion) extremely well. It also sends out Leonard Nimoy strongly, and also Anton Yelchin with a literal moment of silence in the end credits. For a movie that didn't get a trailer until recently, that was thought to be dumped, it's the movie of the summer, maybe the movie of the year. It's Trek at it's best. Great characters, great action, great story, Giachinno is back to compose. If you don't like Abrams, see it for the spot on characterizations of the TOS crew. If you do, oh boy you're going to have a great time. And if you just want to hate on it, Star Wars is coming out in a few months, just save your time and wait for that.

My updated list. If you're angry, feel free to swap Beyond and Undiscovered Country, they're really close together.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek
Star Trek: Beyond
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek Into Darkness
Star Trek: Generations
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Nemesis
Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier


Previously on Minion Musings...