(image courtesy: trekmovie.com)
I watched Star Trek Beyond on IMAX just two or three days after it opened in cinemas. This blog might seem a little late, or no, not a little at all. This really is so late thinking that it has been up in the big screen for three weeks now.
Honestly, I already decided some few days after I and my boyfriend finished watching it that I wouldn't write a blog about Star Trek Beyond anymore especially here in Bitlanders. I admittedly really am very biased about Chris Pine at this point of my life that to write an objective movie review would mean a real hard work and effort. That being this blog came late is justified.
(image courtesy: androidauthority.com)
What made me change my mind though was just before I started off writing this one, I came across one latest news article in google about Star Trek Beyond. It's from geek.com and the title of the article is Star Trek Beyond was great, so why is no one seeing it? Clearly, just seeing the title stirred all my emotions in right places that I just want to write something about it. Hence this blog I am writing now entitled relative to the question imposed by the title of the news article I am talking about was born. (I just want to note that the news article is a really great read and I love it. Click on the title to get directed to the article page.)
STAR TREK: A QUICK INTRODUCTION
Star Trek is one of world's famous entertainment franchises. It is an American science fiction (sci-fi) series created by the late Gene Roddenberry in the 60's. It centers on the galactic pursuit of James Tiberius "Jim" Kirk (originally played by William Shatner) and the entire crew of starship enterprise.
Below is a photo of the cast of the original series in their starship enterprise crew uniforms.
(image courtesy: moviepilot.com)
FAST-FORWARD TO STAR TREK BEYOND
To keep this blog as short as possible, I need to jump start to Star Trek Beyond and not discuss anymore the previous Star Trek stuff before it. Otherwise, I'd be producing a single blog article with the length of like ten medium-length ones. But to somehow give non-trekkie (although I am not a trekkie in its truest sense) readers a quick and short glimpse, the entire span of Star Trek legacy included the original television series, an animated series, six feature films, four spin-off television series, four additional feature films, and finally, the reboot films which include Star Trek Beyond. HUGE.
This reboot of the original Star Trek series was set in what they call the Kelvin Timeline or the alternate timeline, featuring new set of cast portraying younger versions of the original crew. Star Trek Beyond is the third of the reboot films, following Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and the most beautiful thing about it is its release coincided the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Yes, 50 beautiful years.
(image courtesy: daveexaminesmovies.com)
THE CAST OF STAR TREK BEYOND
One of the strongest points of the reboot films in general is its perfect (or almost) casting, to which many fans have since agreed. Here's the crew of the Enterprise:
1) CHRIS PINE as Captain James "Jim" Tiberius Kirk, the commanding officer of the USS Enterprise
2) ZACHARY QUINTO as Commander Spock, the first officer and science officer
3) KARL URBAN as Lieutenant Commander Leonard "Bones" McCoy, M.D., chief medical officer
4) ZOE SALDANA as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, communications officer
5) SIMON PEGG as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, second officer and chief engineer
6) JOHN CHO as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, third officer and helmsman
7) ANTON YELCHIN as Ensign Pavel Chekov, the ship's main navigator.
(image courtesy: comingsoon.net)
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE STAR TREK BEYOND?
Basically, Star Trek Beyond had both its strong and weak points as I see it from a very objective point of view. Do the strong points outnumbered the weak ones? Or the weak points overpowered the strong ones? Actually, it does not matter. Why? Because I just realized, by reading comments from other moviegoers and solid Trekkie, that every point I saw about the movie could be either strong or weak depending on a person's perspective.
Look, to me, regardless of whether the movie has many strong points or many weak points, you should still watch it. Read further so you can understand what I am saying.
IT IS VERY "TREKKIE"
The main point of argument presented by Daniel Starkey, the geek.com writer and a self-confessed Trekkie, was about the Star Trek Beyond movie being "too Trekkie" that it didn't appeal to the general mass moviegoers. In fact, of all the three reboot films, it is said that Beyond had been the one that's got the most Trekkie vibe in it.
Thinking about it, this should actually be a positive, more of a strong point for the movie. As Starkey was trying to point out at the beginning of his article, and also according to many Star Trek fans (the Trekkies or the Trekkers), Beyond so far has been the best among the reboot films in terms of being Star Trek. Unlike the first two films which basically introduced a new direction to the well-loved franchise, and which many Trekkers did not find appealing.
But then again, as I have said, it depends on the moviegoers. While Beyond might have had the appeal to many original fans, it just seemed not to give any excitement to the other group of moviegoers, who are non-trekkers or those who have little idea of Star Trek.
(image courtesy: rogerebert.com)
NEW WRITERS AND DIRECTOR
Paramount hired new writers and director for Star Trek Beyond. Doug Jung and actor Simon Pegg, who played the character of Montgomery Scott, wrote the script while Justin Lin, famous for Fast and Furious, directed it. It was Orci and Kurtzman who wrote the scripts for the first two reboot films which were both directed by JJ Abrams, who took the role as one of the producers for this installment.
Many who didn't like how the story of Star Trek Beyond became how it was said that Simon Pegg must be kept away from script-writing for the next films (how rude and mean), while others praised Pegg and Jung for bringing back the Trekkie vibe in this new Star Trek film. As for Justin Lin, there were those who praised him for his job well done, then job well done for a crappy script (again, rude and mean), and there were those who showed dismay saying Lin should keep doing Fast and Furious type of movies and stay away from Star Trek (very rude, eh?)
IDRIS ELBA AND SOFIA BOUTELLA AS NEW CHARACTERS
There were two profound addition to the great ensemble for Star Trek Beyond - one villain, and one ally.
The first additional character, the main villain in this movie, was Krall, played by English actor Idris Elba. I wouldn't wanna give out too much spoilers by giving away his identity. So I will just echo what Starkey had stated in his article about this character which symbolized fascism and portrayed strong opposition to what starfleet stands for. As expected from Idris Elba, he was able to give a great performance as the main villain in this Star Trek movie.(video courtesy: Movieclips Trailers)
Another character which stole the scene was an alien scavenger named Jaylah who rescued Montgomery Scott "from danger" (I'd stop here to avoid giving out spoilers) and so an obvious ally. Algerian-French actress Sofia Boutella played this character.
As to what I saw, these two characters played essential roles in the development of the entire story of Beyond, not to mention that the actors behind these characters did well in portraying them. However, I have read comments who found Krall's character development to be quick and weak, and that Jaylah's character was not necessary, to which I would've agreed if only Beyond could've run for about five hours and with a complete different story.
SPLIT UP AND ODD COUPLINGS
(image courtesy: screenrant.com)
One thing I found odd but cool about the first few minutes up to the first quarter or half of the movie was the complete splitting up of the entire crew which resulted to beautifully odd couplings from among themselves. Captain Kirk ended up with Chekov while Bones was with injured Spock. Uhura and Sulu got stranded together with all of the surviving crew members. Then Scotty found a new ally in the character of alien scavenger, Jaylah. Although the entire crew got back to working with and as a team halfway through, it was still beautiful to see how chemistry between characters were explored and revealed in the movie through splitting them all up.
GAY SULU CONTROVERSY
This probably had the shortest screen time but had the most traction about Star Trek Beyond especially that the original Hikaru Sulu, actor George Takei, had spoken against the idea of making the character a gay stating that it would've been far from what Roddenberry ought for the character. There were some people who spoke against the idea as well showing much consideration for Takei's take on the issue and also saying that the idea made no sense because there was no need for the character to be what the writers made it.
(image courtesy: comicbook.com)
However, there were also people, including the main actors Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and John Cho, who supported the idea of political correctness in the movie which I also support given the fact that movies, especially as huge as Star Trek Beyond, could help in addressing very bad issues and happenings relating to this political issue. And with that, I rest my case.
LEONARD NIMOY TRIBUTE AND UNFORTUNATE DEATH OF ANTON YELCHIN
I might just allow myself to somehow give out spoiler in the movie. It is known that Leonard Nimoy, the first actor to play the role of Commander Spock in the original Star Trek series and now being played by actor Zachary Quinto, died last year. And in memory of him and his legacy in Star Trek, Beyond paid him a short but beautiful tribute in the film.
One more bittersweet tribute the movie paid was for Anton Yelchin, the actor who played the character of ensign Pavel Chekov. Yelchin suffered an unfortunate death just a month before the movie's release which broke the hearts of many fans, co-actors and his family. His performance in Star Trek Beyond was said to be his last movie performance.
GREAT CRITICAL RESPONSE
Even with some people showing dislike on this third installment in the Star Trek reboot, Beyond still managed to score greatly on many fans and critics. In IMDb, it scored a weighted average of 7.5/10 from 60,709 user votes. In Rotten Tomatoes, the movie received 83% on it tomatometer with an average rating of 6.9/10 and 222 reviews, 185 indicating it "Fresh" and 37 "Rotten". It also received an audience score of 83% with an average rating of 4/5 from 59,650 users.
In Metacritic, it received a metascore of 68 with generally favorable reviews from 50 critics. It also received a user score of 6.8 based from 513 ratings.
"APPARENTLY" BOX OFFICE FAILURE AND ISSUE WITH AXANAR
Even with positive reviews, critic ratings and fan acclaims, Beyond is still said to be facing box office failure with only $199 million on its box office for its fourth week in cinemas. On its opening weekend, it only made $59.2 million compared to the opening weekend box office figures of the two previous installments which were $75.2 million and $70.1 million respectively.
(image courtesy: screenrant.com)
According to some fans, the significant decline in the opening weekend figures was largely due to the conflict with the fanmade productions Axanar. Last year, CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit of copyright infringement against Axanar. This angered diehard Trekkies which resulted to many of them stating they'd boycott the latest reboot film.
Although this might be true that the issue with Axanar played an integral part in the decline of opening weekend box office of Beyond, I, together with many other fans, are still very positive about its general box office performance until it gets completely pulled off from the cinemas. Even though it had a significant decline in its own opening box office figures, Beyond still performed well relative to its competitor movies that were also out during the same time. It was number one. Also, considering that this issue with Axanar might only just had an effect mostly in North America, there are still areas in the world which await the opening of Star Trek Beyond on their cinemas. Recently, the cast went to South Korea and China to promote their movie. China has always been a huge factor as foreign market of Hollywood films. So, until then, I won't bow down and say Star Trek Beyond is a box office failure. And I don't think I will.
MY FINAL VERDICT: IMAX
(video courtesy: Paramount Pictures)
Come on, even if you're like super late because it's on its fourth week now in cinemas (at least here in our country), I still believe you should see Star Trek Beyond... if you want better experience, go for IMAX, man. IMAX!