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Star Trek Beyond (2016), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

Aug 25, 2022
Star Trek Beyond (2016), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

Star Trek Beyond (2016), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

 

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

The crew of the USS Enterprise explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy, who puts them, and everything the Federation stands for, to the test.

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Trailer

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Reviews

“There’s no relative direction in the vastness of space,” a Starfleet high mucky-muck tells Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) in “Star Trek Beyond.” “There’s only you.” She’s asking him whether he wants to give up his captain’s seat for a chance at a powerful desk job on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, a year younger than his father was when he died.Her language is meant to spur Kirk to look inward, and for a moment we might hope that he will, and that the film will look inward with him.

There’s a precedent for this sort of thing. Where all of the TV incarnations of “Star Trek” were mainly about morality and philosophy, with characterization serving as a means of examining those dramatic values, most of the big-screen film versions, including the ’80s and ’90s versions of the flagship TV show, were mainly concerned with the heroes’ personalities.The screenplays gave us detailed examinations of, say, the relationship between Kirk and his half-Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock, between Kirk and the United Federation of Planets, between Kirk and the Klingons who tormented his civilization and killed his only son, and between all the characters (Kirk especially) and the prospect of aging and death. It was more soap opera than space opera at times, but always fun to watch, sometimes moving.

What undermines “Star Trek Beyond” is that it’s ultimately not interested in taking a long look at the “you” of Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), ship’s doctor “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), communications officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and the rest of the NCC-1701 crew. Sure, it nods in that direction. Even the worst “Star Trek” stories do.

But in the end it’s mostly a good big-budget sci-fi action movie that’s been marinated in “Star Trek” flavor packets—and thus not terribly different from the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot or its sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

“Star Trek Beyond” pits the crew of the Enterprise against another bellowing megalomaniac (Idris Elba) who wants to punish the United Federation of Planets for its perceived sins.

It’s the best of the new “Trek” films, but it’s still an unsatisfying effort if you want “Star Trek” to be something more than a military-minded outer space action flick, with familiar, beloved characters shoehorned into a standard mix of martial arts slugfests, close-quarters firefights, and scenes of starships and cities being shredded and burned.

Advance publicity hyped “Star Trek Beyond” as a return to the original series’ roots as a showcase for a bunch of eccentric personalities traveling the galaxy, ingeniously solving problems, and indulging in populist philosophizing about civilization and the frontier as they went along. But that’s not what we get here—not really.

Yes, there’s a promising setup (the Enterprise crew is held hostage by a vicious bad guy who rules a backwater planet a la Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness”). And there are suggestions of classic “Star Trek” style action-plus-characterization-plus-cleverness, and pleasing performances by a cast that has settled into each others’ rhythms, as a real-world naval crew would after years of sailing together.But the movie never delivers on its considerable promise because it’s always in such a hurry to get to the next action scene. And aside from three magnificent setpieces—the first, crippling sneak attack by a fleet of tiny ships that swarm the Enterprise like explosive bees, and two vertigo-inducing chase-and-fight scenes in which geography goes all M.C. Escher on us—the action is not good enough to be the film’s main course.

Lin, who proved in the “Fast and Furious” series that he could do great or near-great action, here substitutes wobbly camerawork, chop-chop editing and rumbling sound effects for suspense and a sense of spatial design. It’s a step up from the action in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” movies, but that’s not the sort of thing one should brag about.

A climactic reprise of a certain overused Beastie Boys song might be the franchise’s low point, rivaled only by the laughable credits sequence of “Star Trek V,” which cut from a helicopter shot of a lean young stuntman scaling a craggy peak in the Pyrenees to a close-up of the 57-year-old star/director Shatner’s meaty hand in a studio, gripping a fiberglas “rock.”

Simon Pegg and Doug Jung’s screenplay provides the right amount of homage (as when Kirk grumbles after an opening action scene that he ripped his shirt again), plus Spock/McCoy odd-couple banter and some marvelous, character-based laugh lines (Scotty demands that Kirk give an opinion on one of his engineering improvisations, because “if I mess it up, I don’t want it to be just my fault”).

There’s psychological nuance, irony, even a political subtext (Elba’s character, Krall, a reptilian Che Guevara-type who wants the galaxy’s “frontier” to “push back” against the Federation’s expansionism).

Too bad none of these aspects are filled out with the detail they deserve. Krail’s fire-and-brimstone sermonizing is turned to nonsense by a pointless and self-defeating third act “twist”—like we need another one of those after the boneheaded fan service of “Darkness”!—and there are points late in the film where “Star Trek Beyond” seems jolted by the sudden remembrance of things that it told us it was going to deal with but didn’t.

Uhura spends most of the movie in a prison camp. Kirk, Spock and even McCoy have human moments, but they spend too much of their screen time sprinting through hallways, firing phaser pistols, and piloting spaceships while yelling and grimacing in tight closeup, like the heroes of every other science fiction-flavored action movie projected in theaters recently.

Krall and other characters allude to the Federation’s fake-benevolent brand of imperialism, but unless you’re familiar with examples from elsewhere in the “Star Trek” universe or got briefed by a super-fan before buying a ticket, you’ll leave with no sense of whether the villains’ grievances are legitimate, much less if you’re supposed to feel mixed emotions at Kirk’s inevitable triumph.

Spock, whose home planet was destroyed by a renegade Romulan warlord in the first movie, suffers most from the filmmakers’ preoccupation with pew-pew-pew! action-adventure. For three movies now, Spock’s been carrying a crushing load of survivor’s guilt.The character’s barely disguised Jewishness, brilliantly articulated by the late Leonard Nimoy in the original TV and movie series, is more pronounced in the new franchise: he’s been turned into a holocaust survivor, part of a fragile Vulcan diaspora haunted by genocide. But the scripts seem scared of treating Spock’s predicament with the seriousness it deserves, much less daring to put it at the center of a film.

Here it’s treated mainly as an explanation for why Spock can’t seem to keep a relationship going with Uhura. The death of Leonard Nimoy is integrated into the story by having Vulcan diplomats inform Spock of the death of Ambassador Spock, an alternate-universe incarnation of the character who dispensed advice and plot points to new Spock whenever the screenwriters painted themselves into a corner.

The film’s method of mourning Nimoy’s Spock makes the Spockus ex machina thing worse. New Spock mourns classic Spock as if the two were dear friends who had dinner every Monday at the same Chinese restaurant.

The missteps of writing and direction are more depressing when you consider the excellence of the core cast. Quinto and Saldana give the Spock-Uhura relationship and their own spotlight moments a lot more than the film gives them. Pegg is a hoot as Scotty, colorful but never hammy, though we may justifiably raise a Spock-like eyebrow at all the times that the actor-screenwriter lets his character save the day.

Pine’s Kirk seems to be morphing seamlessly into Shatner’s, complete with surprising pauses and intonations, but he’s more credible as a strong, respected leader; watch how the actor grows more calm and friendly whenever Kirk’s bridge crew is becoming more agitated. Elba is such a strong presence throughout, even near the end, that it’s a shame Krall is never granted the depth and complexity that his character keeps threatening to disclose.

At this point it’s worth asking what, if anything, this franchise is good for besides generating cash for Paramount and its above-the-line talent. Everything that made the original TV series and its follow-ups, small- and big-screen, seem so open-hearted, intelligent and playful is marginalized to make room for hyperactively edited action scenes and displays of hardware and production design.

These are technically state-of-the-art but ultimately not all that different from what you see in most other CGI-driven action pictures, superhero as well as sci-fi—long, loud spectacles that are filled with people fighting, blowing up cities and planets, and crashing things into other things, instead of finding some other, more surprising way to move the plot along.

What’s the point of giving up pleasures that the “Star Trek” franchise is good at providing, to make more room for pleasures that most big-budget science fiction and fantasy already give us, month after month and year after year? Why boldly go where everyone else is already going?

  • Matt Zoller Seitz  – Roger Ebert
  • Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com, TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism.

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Star Trek Beyond (2016) Credits

Star Trek Beyond movie poster

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.

120 minutes

Cast

Chris Pine as Kirk

Zachary Quinto as Spock

Karl Urban as Bones

Zoe Saldana as Uhura

Simon Pegg as Scotty

John Cho as Sulu

Anton Yelchin as Chekov

Idris Elba as Krall

Sofia Boutella as Jaylah

Deep Roy as Keenser

Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus

Director

  • Justin Lin

Writer (television series “Star Trek”)

  • Gene Roddenberry

Writer

  • Doug Jung
  • Simon Pegg

Writer (uncredited)

  • Roberto Orci
  • Patrick McKay
  • John D. Payne

Cinematographer

  • Stephen F. Windon

Editor

  • Greg D’Auria
  • Dylan Highsmith
  • Kelly Matsumoto
  • Steven Sprung

Composer

  • Michael Giacchino

 

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Plot

The Federation starship USS Enterprise arrives at starbase Yorktown, for resupply and shore leave for its crew. Struggling to find meaning in their exploration, Captain James T. Kirk has applied for a promotion to vice admiral; he recommends Spock as his replacement.

Meanwhile, Hikaru Sulu reunites with his family, Montgomery Scott works to keep the ship operational, and Spock and Nyota Uhura have ended their relationship; Spock also receives word from New Vulcan that Ambassador Spock has died.

Enterprise is dispatched on a rescue mission after an escape pod drifts out of a nearby uncharted nebula. Its occupant, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded on Altamid, a planet in the nebula. Upon arrival, a massive swarm of small ships ambushes the Enterprise and quickly tears it apart.

The swarm’s leader, Krall, and his crew board the crippled Enterprise, capture and kill many crew members, and attempt to capture the Abronath, a relic recovered during a recent mission. Kirk orders the crew to abandon ship, leaving the disintegrating Enterprise saucer section to crash on Altamid.

On the planet, Krall captures Sulu, Uhura, and other survivors. Kirk and Pavel Chekov, accompanied by Kalara, locate the Enterprises saucer section. Knowing that Kalara knew they would be attacked, Kirk tricks her into revealing herself as Krall’s spy. She is killed when Kirk and Chekov escape Krall’s soldiers and flip the Enterprise saucer, crushing her.

Elsewhere on the planet, Dr. Leonard McCoy and a wounded Spock search for other survivors. Spock tells McCoy that he ended his relationship with Uhura and is leaving Starfleet to help the Vulcan survivors, and continue the late Ambassador Spock’s work.

Jaylah, a scavenger who previously escaped Krall’s encampment where her father was killed, rescues Scott and takes him to her makeshift home, the grounded USS Franklin, an early Starfleet vessel reported missing over a century earlier. Scott is reunited with Kirk, Chekov, McCoy and Spock.

Krall coerces the captive Enterprise crew to hand over the Abronath, then uses it to complete an ancient bioweapon. With the device complete, Krall intends to kill Yorktowns inhabitants, then use the base to attack the United Federation of Planets. Kirk and the others free the crew as Krall launches into space with the bioweapon, leading his drones to Yorktown.

The Enterprise survivors power up the Franklin and launch her in pursuit of Krall. Theorizing the swarm’s system may be vulnerable to high frequencies such as VHF or radio, they jam and destroy the swarm by broadcasting the song “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. Krall is chased by the Franklin through Yorktown.

Uhura, Kirk and Scotty discover from the Franklins logs that Krall is actually Balthazar Edison, Franklins former captain. A pre-Federation human soldier, Edison rejected the Federation’s principles of unity and cooperation with former enemies like the Xindi and the Romulans.

When he and his crew were stranded on Altamid by a wormhole, the survivors used the extinct natives’ technology to prolong their lives at the cost of the others, and re-purposed the ancient race’s dormant mining drone workers into the swarm. Thinking the Federation had abandoned them, Edison planned to destroy the Federation and resume galactic conflict. Kirk pursues Edison into Yorktowns ventilation system, where Edison activates the bioweapon.

Before it can spread, Kirk ejects it and Edison into space, where the weapon disintegrates Edison. Using a commandeered alien ship, Spock and McCoy save Kirk moments before he is also blown into space.

In the aftermath, Commodore Paris closes the files of Captain Edison and the USS Franklin crew. Though offered the promotion to vice admiral, Kirk decides to remain as a captain; Spock chooses to remain in Starfleet, and renews his relationship with Uhura. On Kirk’s recommendation, Jaylah is accepted into Starfleet Academy. As the crew celebrates Kirk’s birthday, they watch the construction of their new ship, the USS Enterprise-A—and resume their mission.

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Star Trek Beyond (2016) Box office

Star Trek Beyond underperformed financially at the box office. Scott Mendelson of Forbes observed that one factor contributing to the film’s underperformance was its untimely release in a crowded summer in which it was surrounded by other films like GhostbustersJason Bourne and Suicide Squad.

He also noted that had Paramount released the film for the Star Treks 50th anniversary on September 8, the film could have benefited from that occasion, as demonstrated in October 2012 when MGM released the James Bond film Skyfall (which went on to gross over $1 billion)[56] for that series’ 50th anniversary.[57][58]

Star Trek Beyond grossed $158.8 million in the United States and Canada and $184.6 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $343.5 million, against a production budget of $185 million.[2] It had a global opening of $89.2 million and an IMAX opening of $11.6 million on 571 IMAX screens.

Industry analyst Danny Cox had previously estimated that in order for the film to break even, it would have to earn $340–350 million worldwide,[60] and ended losing an estimated $50.5 million.

 

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 86% based on 310 reviews, with an average rating of 7.00/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Star Trek Beyond continues the franchise’s post-reboot hot streak with an epic sci-fi adventure that honors the series’ sci-fi roots without skimping on the blockbuster action.”

On Metacritic, the film has a score of 68 out of 100, based on 50 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.[93] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A−” on an A+ to F scale, down from the first two films’ “A”.

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and said, “Even with its big-screen pyrotechnics and its feature-length running time, Star Trek Beyond plays like an extended version of one of the better episodes from the original series, and I mean that in the best possible way.”

Scott Collura of IGN awarded the film 8.4/10, describing it as being: “terrific, a fun and exciting entry in the series that balances subtle fan service while also feeling fresh and modern; Star Trek Beyond is the perfect way to celebrate the series’ 50th anniversary.”

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said the screenplay by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung “injects a welcome strain of humor that’s true to the original Gene Roddenberry creation, delivering nostalgia without stiff veneration”, and went on by saying, “While Beyond won’t unseat 1982’s thrilling The Wrath of Khan as the gold standard for Star Trek movies, it’s a highly entertaining entry guaranteed to give the franchise continuing life.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety, in an otherwise positive review, described the film being: “a very familiar, old-fangled, no-mystery structure, and that’s because it’s basically the Star Trek version of an interplanetary action film, with a plot that doesn’t take you to many new frontiers.”

Furthermore, he called Star Trek Beyond “a somewhat diverting place holder, but one hopes that the next Star Trek movie will have what it takes to boldly go where no Star Trek movie has gone before.”

Mark Hugues of Forbes said, “Star Trek Beyond is the third-best Star Trek film of all time, creating the sort of emotional connection and familiar, powerful characterizations we loved in the original series while delivering top-notch action and the best Star Trek movie villain since First Contacts Borg Queen.”

Despite its international success, Star Trek Beyond was met by critics who were less taken with the film. Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film 1½ stars out of 4 and he commented that the filmmakers “should have called it Star Trek Into Drowsiness.” Smith later added, “Beyond is tepid when it’s trying to be emotional, moronic when it’s trying to be thrilling and unfunny when it’s trying to be non-unfunny.

It lacks a storytelling module: Things just click into place when needed, as when Kirk commands Scotty to rev up a busted old spaceship, Scott says it’s impossible, and 14 seconds later everything is ready to rip.”[100] James Berardinelli of Reelviews gave 2½ stars out of 4, writing: “Star Trek Beyond is a Star Trek movie, although not an especially good one; The action sequences are frenetic, kinetic, and, at times, incoherent.

This isn’t unexpected; it’s Lin’s trademark. But the plot, credited to Simon Pegg & Doug Jung, is pure Trek. Unfortunately, it’s also instantly forgettable.”[101] Dave Robinson of outlet Crash Landed writes that “Star Trek Beyond fails to push beyond its own roots and becomes just another very safe sci-fi popcorn movie in an increasingly crowded market, that will likely have you leaving the theatre feeling exactly as you entered.”

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C+ and wrote, “[w]ith Beyond, it feels like just another summer tentpole with not enough going on underneath the tent.”

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Star Trek Beyond (2016) Accolades

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards February 26, 2017 Best Makeup and Hairstyling Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo Nominated
Critics Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie Star Trek Beyond Nominated
Best Hair and Makeup Star Trek Beyond Nominated
Empire Awards March 19, 2017 Best Make-Up and Hairstyling Star Trek Beyond Nominated
GLAAD Media Award April 1, 2017 Outstanding Film – Wide Release Star Trek Beyond Nominated
Golden Tomato Awards January 12, 2017 Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie 2016 Star Trek Beyond 5th Place
Golden Trailer Awards May 4, 2016 Best Teaser “Impossible” Nominated
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 17, 2016 Best Song – Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film “Sledgehammer” – Sia Furler, Robyn Fenty and Jesse Shatkin Nominated
Jupiter Awards March 29, 2017 Best International Actor Chris Pine Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards March 11, 2017 Best Villain Idris Elba Nominated
Favorite Butt-Kicker Zoe Saldana Nominated
BFFs (Best Friends Forever) Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto Nominated
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild February 19, 2017 Feature-Length Motion Picture – Special Make-Up Effects Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo Won
Saturn Awards June 28, 2017 Best Science Fiction Film Star Trek Beyond Nominated
Best Actor Chris Pine Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Zachary Quinto Nominated
Best Make-up Joel Harlow and Monica Huppert Won
Teen Choice Awards July 31, 2016 Choice AnTEENcipated Movie Star Trek Beyond Nominated
Choice Movie Actor: AnTEENcipated Chris Pine Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: AnTEENcipated Zoe Saldana Nominated
Visual Effects Society February 7, 2017 Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project Enterprise – Chris Elmer, Andreas Maaninka, Daniel Nicholson and Rhys Salcombe Nominated

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Movie Info

A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims.
Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that’s aboard the badly damaged starship. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.

 

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