Written By: Kaitie Clink
The best part about a remake in today's cinema are the special affects! Even if the story being retold bombs and the acting is awful, we can at least be dazzled by the sense of sight. We have come a long way, within the last ten years of movie-making; Especially within the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres, One can't help but want the movie industry to remake movies just for those purposes alone! I grew up in the 90's and early Millennium, and I know we can redo those works 10 x's better now. I think that's saying a lot for technical progress for someone who is still in their 20's! To put the icing on the cake, we are opening up to a more diverse society (which is about time!) and we should enjoy seeing the inclusion of other ethnicities, genders, and lifestyles.
The first two Star Trek movies were basically just remakes of the TV series and past movies, but the general population let that slide since the acting and affects were phenomenal The series set up for a reboot of the franchise and it worked. This review of "Star Trek Beyond" is only happening, because of the success of the first 2 films and we can look forward to the new TV series on CBS, "Star Trek: Discovery", in January 2017. However, I couldn't figure out why the popularity of this film seemed to fizzle so fast and why I never heard much talk about it from anyone. I soon found out. - When we think of Star Trek, we think of the future. Not just a few years from now, but we think- "What will life be like 200 years from now?" and Star Trek is suppose to answer that in an action-adventure-type way. Star Trek has always been diverse in casting, intelligence, diplomacy, and culture. Of course, one would hope that 200 years from now we would have made considerable advances in those areas! Sadly, Star Trek Beyond seems to have come up short in all those categories.
So, this was the first film in the reboot series to stand alone and not be made from something of the past, but it just couldn't do it well. While many blame the fact that J.J. Abrams was absent from this one (he directed the first 2 films in the reboot), I can't help but think- Why would there be such a lack in every aspect, just because one man is not a part of the franchise anymore? I feel that critics are generally making excuses for a film's failure that instead of going beyond our time, actually took steps about 20 years back. Had I watched this film in the year 1996, it would have been something acceptable and expected, but as I stated before- We're in the year 2016 and we look forward to the advancements we are making in society and technology.
Let's start with the fact that we divert right back to "dark is bad" and "white is good". So, they made the heroes Caucasian- Captain Kirk, Spoc, McCoy (doctor), Montgomery Scott, and Jaylah. We made the villain, Krall, black. At first it's not really known what ethnicity Krall is, because he's become disfigured, unless you already knew that Idris Elba was portraying him. I honestly could tell right away it was a black man though and later the film does reveal Krall's original human form. Even Krall's second in command is played by an Indonesian actor. The truly sad part of it all, is that Jaylah is actually portrayed by an Algerian actress who is dark-skinned. Yet they choose to make her a being that covers her body in white paint for a truly colorless complexion and has pure white, straight hair. If you are not into the hip-hop or street dance scene then you would not even have known that she was not Caucasian. So, how did they go Beyond in this film, when we're still white washing in it? Simply put- they didn't.
The film also tried to pay tribute to actors who have passed away since the time of the last film and the release of this one, but they really failed at it. They don't hone or relinquish any of the wisdom or accomplishments of the past characters and instead we just are left with confused, sad characters of the present. Really, the characters of the current film did not seem to take any actions that honored them either or showed their success. The audience just sees pictures that we can Google. Many of the beloved actors of the original series and films are aging too,. The franchise seems to want them to show their faces in public and at conventions to rope in the original fan base, but not have any part of the current action or to honor them in the films like Nichelle Nichols and George Takei.
This leads us right into another great big problem of the film- Why in 200+ years from now can women still not save themselves? Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, while clever and even shooting her way out of harm and saving others, cannot save herself in the end; We need a team of mostly men to do that. Even, Jayla, who has a long overdue battle with Manas (Krall's second in command) cannot defeat him or save herself, despite the fact that she has technology and techniques that the crew of the Enterprise need in order to save themselves and their crew; instead she is saved by Kirk and given a second chance in life by Mr.Scott. It seemed all too fitting to have the epic battle scene be between Jayla and Manas, the being who killer her father, but I guess that's just too advanced for Star Trek Beyond.
Finally, there's the sad side stories that just are a repeat of the past two movies. Once again, Kirk is not sure he belongs on the Enterprise or is fit to lead and in the end he discoveries that he cannot stay away from space, the crew wants him to lead, and he is back in the captain's chair. We have the on-again-off-again Spoc and Nyota relationship, but of course, again, they end up together. Plus, Spoc ponders once again if he should be traveling on the Enterprise and what he should do for his race, but still ends up going back out into space. Maybe Star Trek Beyond did not take from the far past, but they definitely couldn't move past the last two movies.
I will say that they did have a few things that were nice to see. We did have more involvement and action from characters we did not get to see out of their chairs much in the last movies; doctor McCoy, Sulu, and Chekov had much more prominent roles. Even Lieutenant Uhura has more air time. We do get a brief peek into Sulu's life as a gay man raising a daughter with his partner and that is definitely a great way to honor Mr.Takei. They even have a truly interracial relationship with Spoc, an alien, and the human Nyota Uhura who is black, but other than those slight touches on these topics, we really don't get much more than that.
There's no question why the film plunged quickly down the drain at the box office. As we advance in the present time, we expect the future to show that and this film did not portray that. Despite how unoriginal in the story line was, We couldn't even get decent action or effects. "Pew-pew" shooting is done with - we are not in the 70's anymore. There were no great martial arts and they destroyed any chance of having a great battle scene. The ending battle between Kirk and Krall was even mediocre, and who didn't know what was going to happen? It was the same as the previous films! We find our captain having to battle alone and restricted by time, and of course, coming out a winner and a hero. Paramount cannot expect the audiences today to watch the future with actions from the past. While many original fans are upset that they have made too many changes to the franchise to draw in a wider audience, they can take rest in knowing that those changes have failed. The general movie-goer wants to be dazzled with effects and connect with the story and Star Trek Beyond does neither.