Saturday, July 23, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

Plot: The Enterprise gets attacked and dismantled by a bee-swarm of little ships lead by Krall (Idris Elba) hidden behind gobs of silver make-up. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) end up stranded on a wasteland planet -- all separated and many captured by Krall. Scotty meets friendly alien Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) who wants to escape on the Franklin an old earth ship that crashed a century ago. Working in small groups the crew saves themselves and the Federation too.[imdb]    [photos]

Review: The second half of the movie is far better than the first. The first half is not fun: filled with flashy visuals that were hard to follow. Lots of meaningless engineering bullshit that doesn't make sense. Lots of space explosions and flying objects that don't tell a story. The eight major characters have conversations that only make sense in retrospect.

I appreciate the need to get the heroes in a bad situation to ratchet up the tension, but I didn't like this part. The Enterprise's crash takes a long time. Krall is robotic and mechanical, plus Elba is hidden behind too much make-up to act. Krall backstory should have come out earlier to build up tension.

Eventually the action moves to the planet where in twos and threes the acting and the story get stronger.

Many of the actors are good. Chris Pine has depth and texture. Quinto has good scenes with both Urban and Saldana. Saldana is strong in her scenes with Elba and in many reaction shots. Simon Pegg is a little humorous, and Sofia Broutella has some good lines. This is a movie with eight distinct and meaningful characters, and they handle that well.

Having such a large cast lends well into the theme of the movie that unity is better than isolation. The message is timely even though it was made well before Brexit and Trump's fortress America speeches. 

Cast: Idris Elba, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella 

Directed by:
Justin Lin

The Music:
Solid orchestral score by Michael Giacchino. Plus two hard rock songs not on the soundtrack. 

The Visuals:
There are some new special effects. I like Jaylah's fighting scene with her holographic images. I liked the Yorktown spacestation's design, so angular and creative. 

2.5 stars: The good part is the cast acting. The bad part is the battles & tech which can't followed. The real fault is the writing. The first half is unpleasant, and the second half has its moments. I don't want to see it again. 

More: Too many movies have magical ancient relics that the characters have to collect -- just like a video game quest. It was stupid to have a magic relic here. The writers should have tried harder.

Even More: I liked the Swarm bots. This was new is space battles, and the way they fought them made sense.