Star Trek: Beyond

First let me say that I’d never seen a film in IMAX 3D until today.  Didn’t think it mattered much, and didn’t want to wear the glasses.  Let me tell you: it matters – very realistic 3D – and the glasses didn’t detract from the experience, even though I wore them over my own specs.  So if you haven’t tried this, you should.

I’d also like to express a small amount of disappointment that we didn’t get the first adventure in the new five-year mission.  I would like to have seen an episode more like something from the original series – or The Wrath of Khan (the best Star Trek episode ever made, by the way, bar none).  The swashbuckling crew encounters alien race that presents a problem, they solve it just in the nick of time, and viewers get some humorous banter on the bridge in the final scene.  This from Journey to Babel, for example.  Or the classic Trouble with Tribbles.

But Star Trek: Beyond is an excellent film and a great episode in the series.  The special effects were excellent, and for the most part things didn’t move too quickly – viewers could follow the flight of ships and the back and forth of fights without getting too lost.  I think they could have made the reason for the mission clearer and foreshadowed a couple of things more effectively.  But the film carried a classic Trek story line and theme.

I was 8 years old when Gene Rodenberry sold “Wagon Train to the Stars” to CBS in 1966.  For a kid who devoured Asimov and Heinlein stories this was television I could really buy into.  I remember hoping for rainouts of my little league games so I could stay home and watch.  As a kid I simply loved the idea of this naval vessel exploring space with a diverse crew that cared for each other and clearly loved their lives and careers together.  In no small measure, this influenced my later decision to serve in the Army.  So yes, I’ve been a fan and aTrekkie for fifty years.

So the best part of Star Trek: Beyond for me was the interplay among the crew.  Every single actor in the core Kirk/Spock/McCoy/Uhura/Sulu/Checkov executive team helps evoke the dynamic in the original series.  Karl Urban knocks it out of the park as McCoy – he is perfectly cast for this role – and I would say the same about Simon Pegg’s ScottyChris Pine does Captain Kirk nicely as well, and without becoming William Shatner.  I like Quinto’s Spock as well.  Though he comes across as young an inexperienced, he does the “Vulcan” speech inflections well.  Cho, Saldana, and Yelchin round out the core crew with great takes on the characters – Yelchin perfectly delivers the “Scotch was inwented by a little old lady in Russia” line, though it was Leningrad in the original version.  It’s terribly sad and a crying damn shame that a freak accident ended such a promising career so early.

Go see Star Trek: Beyond.  It will satisfy your craving for a Trek film and excite you for the next one.  And if you can, try it in IMAX 3D.  It works.