Reviews: Star Trek: Beyond
I saw the new Star Trek film “Beyond” this weekend. When we first arrived at the theatre I could hear some folks complaining that a movie was at 97% capacity. What that movie was I didn’t ascertain. I began wondering what films had just come out because a film being filled to the brim isn’t altogether common. This is the second time since we’ve lived here that this has been the case; I cannot recall the last film but that experience was also this year.
We walked into the theatre and gave the ticket master our phones (we were using a program called Atom, something I may write about at a future point). He checked us in and told us the movie was playing in Theatre Hall 7. Alright, off we go!
The moment we passed the “mystery” point of 7 we realized which movie was packed. The mystery point is that moment as the stairwell finally dips to where you can see over it into the theatre proper. A slow unveiling of the room via an ever lowering wall. Nearly every seat was taken save for the front two nosebleed rows. Regal has a very unusual design in Canyon Country where a number of their seats are absolutely awful. We grabbed the best two eats of that awful set. If we’d be in the literal and proverbial bottom, we might as well be the royals of that zone.
Hall 7 packed further and further as the previews went off. Until I presume they just stopped selling tickets because there was basically nowhere to sit anymore. I wondered how many people that were there, like us, using free movie tickets. If not that, is this movie really doing that well? I suppose we should dive into the movie itself and see if I should be surprised by the turnout.
The short answer is that no; I shouldn’t be surprised. Star Trek: Beyond is a very enjoyable experience. I would start by saying that the marketing for this film is some of the worst I’ve seen in years. Beyond has a marketing team that is on par or worse than the team behind the Ghostbusters commercials. I’m starting to wonder if marketing teams are actively trying to sabotage the film they’ve been hired to market. When I saw the trailers the movie looked bland, earthbound, and I couldn’t parse a single plot thread from it other than action.
Going into this film I had no idea what to expect other than it would probably be good. Not because of marketing, they had failed me miserably, but instead because of viewer feedback. Friends and family had all seemed to agree that it was quite good. If I do care to write about spoilers I will likely do that in a separate post. Anyone who hasn’t seen the film should be able to read this without it impacting their experience too much. Alternatively, just know that you’ll likely enjoy it and go give it a watch. It’s pretty great.
By the first five minutes of the film you’ve probably already figured out if you are going to like it or not. Our packed theatre was reacting pretty positively by that point which suggests that most people who will like this movie are going to know in short order. Beyond that point it maintains quality or gets better depending on which of the many facets of the film you are hoping to be satisfied by. The actors all handle their parts well, I’m not one to learn an actor’s name, so don’t expect any specific names on this list unless I’ve been pummeled by it. Spock continues his onslaught on my mind to erase his prior character of Sylar from Heroes. At this point I don’t know if I could see him as anyone but Spock. Kirk too is really solid, I think he has grown into the part to the point where I think I’m officially very glad he was picked for the part.
The new faces are great too. I don’t know whether you’ve seen any trailers, and god help you if you have, so I’ll keep this bit vague. But the film doesn’t really introduce anyone that overstays their welcome. This may be in part because of strong casting but is also likely assisted by Simon Pegg writing the script (alongside another name I’ve forgotten). As seems to always be the case, Pegg’s writing is top notch. I enjoyed every joke, and though the story didn’t really surprise me I enjoyed every twist and turn therein.
The cinematography is pretty great as well. Apparently a fair bit of the film takes place in Dubai, as the twelve trillion credits to the city at the end can attest. And by “takes place in Dubai” I don’t mean in canon, but rather it was filmed there in some capacity. There is only one point in the film where you are suddenly reminded you are watching a film. A surprisingly bad piece of CGI that is almost confounding given how much effort they put into the rest. I wondered at the time if it was supposed to wake you up for the climax of the film, if by some weird twist of fate you happened to be getting drowsy. Otherwise my only other criticism is that because of our seats the blur effect used to mask cuts during action scenes was almost nauseating. I don’t even really get motion sickness but it was working me over. So I would warn future viewers to have a seat where they can see the entire screen to compensate.
Everything else you would consider to be present in a good film can be found here. The sound design is just dandy. I will admit I’m teetering on whether or not I like the Wilhelm Scream. These days I think it might take me out of movies more than it provides me with a chuckle. But otherwise the music was fitting and it helped to tie various scenes together.
So that’s that I suppose for a more broad review. You already found out what you might have wanted to know. I liked it, quite a bit. I dare say that I loved it. It wasn’t perfect but it made me smile, and on a few occasions it made me feel. Beyond was bombastic, but quiet, touching, but funny. It hit a lot of different notes. Ultimately the movie never surprised me but I don’t think it was lesser for that. Sometimes the obvious can still be very enjoyable and this was definitely one of those times.