Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Star Trek: Beyond

I had a very difficult time giving a shit about Star Trek: Beyond, which is why it took me this long to see it. I don't know why. It may have been lingering Into Darkness disappointment. It may have been the trailers with the motorcycle and the revelation that after doing Khan in the second movie they were destroying the Enterprise in the third movie. But even the knowledge that Simon Pegg was writing the script didn't drive me to want to go see it. Nor did positive reviews from friends.

But circumstances got me to it, and when it didn't suck, it was quite good. Which is also true of Into Darkness, but STID's sucky parts sucked harder and the good parts weren't as good. Plus it had ridiculous hats. Beyond got rid of the hats and added in ridiculous heads.

Basically, STB Is about as Star Trekky of a movie we're going to get in the modern blockbuster era. When it's not being stupid, it's very clever. When things aren't being solved by explosions and jumping, they're being solved by thinking shit through and general cleverness. The dialogue is snappy and the callbacks to OG Trek are generally more deftly handled than either previous movie. Even the scene this one appropriated from The Wrath Of Khan was much less obviously nerd dinner theater.

All the acting was on point except for Quinto, who's basically stuck having stereotypical Spock shit in the script and in his performance and as a result has absolutely zero room to make New Spok anything but a cosplay pastiche of Nimoy. The plot is... mostly solid, with one glaring exception. It's a lot of fun when it's not sucking, which, I need to stress, is most of the time.

There are basically three major problems and one minor problem with this movie. The first major problem is that it's a huge victim of Hollywood Blockbuster Difficulty Creep. In an attempt to top previous blockbusters, blockbuster movie makers are resorting to making the feats the heroes must perform more and more elaborate, and the odds they must overcome beyond even impossibility. STB is full of this shit. It has at least three possible climaxes and only one of them is final. True to form for director Justin Lin, at least two thirds of the action set pieces are completely implausible.

This leads directly to the other big problem with the movie, when a hundred year old starship defeats a massive swarm of drone ships by playing the Beastie Boys at them so that they explode. This is not an exaggeration or an oversimplification, this is in fact a thing that happens in the movie. Not only is this stupid as fuck, it also assumes a fondness for the use of "Sabotage" in the first movie for which THERE IS ZERO EVIDENCE. Fuck off, movie.

Third major problem is that there's a MacGuffin in the movie, an Ultimate Weapon that is basically just a small scale neutron bomb version of the drone spaceship army the bad guy has at the beginning of the movie. He doesn't really need it, so all the time the movie spends keeping it away from him (and not keeping it away from him) is a little pointless in retrospect.

The minor problem is that, even for a Star Trek movie, Chekhov has an entire arsenal on the mantlepiece. I don't think there's a casually tossed off line in this movie that DOESN'T have a plot payoff at some point, from a more advanced starship being constructed to a fucking sneeze. It's intricate plotting, but I found it distracting after a while.

All that said, though, I'll probably get it on home video, because I think the stuff I disliked, except for the Sabotage bullshit, is stuff I'll probably notice less on later viewings. And it really is good fun most of the time.

1 comment:

  1. Man, you gotta be careful referencing Chekhov in a Star Trek context. At first I thought you misspelled Chekov, and wondered why an ensign would be permitted his own private arsenal...