Monday, August 22, 2016

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

I hardly know every nook and cranny of the Star Trek fan base, but I'm starting to get the impression—that is, getting it through my thick noggin—that many, perhaps a majority, truly believe it begins and ends with the original TV series from the '60s. It begins there, I'm willing to concede that, but now three movies into the reboot I see less sign than ever that it's going to connect dots beyond that. I know they are separated two centuries and more from the rest, but when has something like that ever been a problem? Q alone could take care of it with a snap of his fingers. So that's the bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that they're doing a real swell job reviving the vibe of the old show. Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock and Karl Urban as Doctor "Bones" McCoy are developing an amazing simulacrum of the old chemistry. Chris Pine is a fine James T. Kirk hard-on from the manly commanding class of figures who fuck aliens,. Simon Pegg is wonderful as Scotty—really. And I was sad every time Anton Yelchin as Chekov was on the screen. He will be missed, and hardly for just this role. The story of Star Trek Beyond? Well, it's OK. I mean, it's excellent if you're comparing the action pyrotechnics with the TV show. That's what we have here, a solid action picture set in space with lots of familiar nostalgic notes. It mixes in some strange and interesting new characters, including a real hot babe, but always the deepest love of all is reserved for the proud ship Enterprise. "In brightest day, in blackest night"—wait, no, that's wrong. It's "Space.... The final frontier." And yes, they unroll the whole frakking speech right in the middle of the movie just because they think they can (the degenderized version, by the way, one element anyway picked up from the later versions). This franchise is probably not going to be enough for me without things like the developed Klingons, or robots who feel therefore they are, or even the blasted Borg if they must, and above all the Federation mission of exploration and peace—you know, those Thoreau space hippies we love to see working out skits of ethical dilemmas. In the recent reboot run, I think Beyond is generally better than Into Darkness but not up to the brawny, bravura highs of the original 2009 reboot. (Who's in charge of these ridiculous titles anyway?) I'm not sure everyone sees it my way—I've seen where this one is rated over the first, about which there seems to be a settled if generalized dubious sense ("it's OK"). Check it out. I guess we could do worse than another decade of Spock and McCoy sparring. Wait, are we so sure about that? But again, not to begrudge anything, and struggling as always with my general skepticism about sequels, this is solid if what you're looking for is a great big honking nostalgia wallow. Oh hell, they even pull out pictures of Leonard Nimoy. Who am I to quibble in the face of a great franchise?

1 comment:

  1. I'm one of those people who never got past the original series. And Kirk's hardon for hot space aliens is a strength, I'd say. But I haven't made it past the first reboot yet, either.