Opinions on the JJ Abrams rebooted Star Trek movies are divided among Star Trek fans. Ever since the release of Star Trek in 2009, I found myself a bit conflicted about these films. In my opinion, the best of Trek often does not rely on action, and it provides excellent storytelling and character development.
That being said, I generally like Star Trek 2009. The Star Trek film franchise was killed after the awful Star Trek: Nemesis, and, after an 18 year run on television, there were no current Star Trek shows on the air. Star Trek 2009 was exactly what Trek needed at the time. A fresh, exciting movie to get general audiences interested in Star Trek.
I did not like Star Trek Into Darkness. After watching Into Darkness, I was not optimistic about the next film.
I watched Star Trek Beyond as part of a marathon at the Regal Cinema in Chicago. Prior to seeing Beyond, I had an opportunity to rewatch 2009 and Into Darkness. This gave me some good perspective going into Star Trek Beyond, but it also meant I was a little burnt out by the time the movie started. I’ll be seeing it again in a couple days, which is why this is not a review of Beyond, but rather my initial impressions.
Minor spoilers follow.
The opening scenes of Beyond are some of my favorite. The crew is well into their five year mission, and we get to see some of the more character-based moments (without a huge looming threat) that we often only see on TV. This now feels like a genuine crew that has become a family. I don’t think I would’ve said this prior to seeing Beyond, but, based on these opening sequences, I would gladly watch a TV series starring this crew (which, of course, will never happen since these are high-paid movie stars).
As the movie kicks into high-gear and the action starts, the strong character relationships remain in place. There is a lot of fantastic dialogue between Spock & Bones. This is one of many pairings that occur early on in the film which provide some great interactions. Additionally, we have some time with Kirk/Chekov, Uhura/Sulu, and Scotty/Jaylah. Okay, Jaylah is a new character: A very well-developed and superbly acted new character.
Beyond pays tribute to Leonard Nimoy in a few very touching and effective scenes. I won’t say more than that in the interest of avoiding further spoilers.
Interestingly, the film references some events from Star Trek: Enterprise while simultaneously providing some canonical inconsistencies. The inconsistencies are not a very big deal, and the nerd in me got a kick out of the Enterprise references.
I’m looking forward to seeing the movie a second time. I’m sure I’ll pick up on many things that I missed the first time around. And this time, I’ll be watching it without the burnout of seeing two movies just before it.