Star Trek Beyond Thoughts

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies' started by Joelist, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Okay, I have gone to the theater and, in a rather more crowded theater that I expected, seen Star Trek Beyond. I am going to try to present my thought here is a semi-organized manner.

    What Star Trek Beyond got right (lead with the positive):

    First, it is a MUCH more coherent and logical story than its predecessor (Star Trek Into Darkness). For once, it was not an Earth centered story and never involved a threat to Earth. It also did not have unexplained story elements and did not feel like an episode of Lost. The story is pretty straightforward and unfolds logically. It has a couple of surprise revelations as it goes on but NONE of them are the kind of nonsensical name dropping (like Khan) that sank Into Darkness – here they make sense in the context of the story.

    Second, I liked the much reduced amount of “fan callbacks”. Really there was just a very well played small tribute to the passing of Leonard Nimoy in the form of having Spock Prime pass away, and two or three minor name drops of alien races that had been encountered in the past.

    Third, the portrayals by the cast this time out were WAY improved. The characters felt more like their actual Trek counterparts than really they have in any of these films. In particular, Kirk came off as much more mature and was believable as a Captain. Also Spock was much more Vulcan like this time out, and Bones as usual was so on it was spooky (Karl Urban has managed in all three films to feel like he was channeling DeForrest Kelley). Sulu was Sulu. Uhura and Chekov I will speak about later.

    Fourth, this movie actually felt more like a Trek series two-parter than any of the Trek films. It had the quiet moments, which to me were where it did the best, and the alien girl they encounter is played well and she was a highlight of the film (and no, she did not hook up with Kirk).

    I think this is the place to talk about the motorbike, and by extension the USS Franklin. The motorbike was aboard the Franklin, which was a crashed old NX ship the crew discovered on the planet and with Jaylah's aid got to fly once more. Kirk uses the bike in what was actually a fairly clever diversion to cover a rescue raid for captive crewmates.

    The Franklin was pretty cool actually. It was rendered nicely as just a slightly updated NX look and in a way I almost wish they kept it.

    What Star Trek Beyond missed on:

    Uhura and Chekov. I’m not sure if it is the casting or the writing, but these two just do not feel like their Trek counterparts. I think it is in part because they keep trying to make Uhura an action hero and part because she and Chekov really were minor characters in Trek, leaving writers less to work with.

    Action scene overload. While the CGI was well done, both of the big battle scenes left me fatigued because they were almost TOO intense to the point of sensory overload. In a way, with the character focus and straightforward story in this film going with a more minimal effect approach would have enhanced things.

    Overdoing the climax. This seems to be a constant issue in recent films, where you have a final battle and then AFTER the battle there is a chase, then a fight, then another chase and so on. And it isn't just Star Trek that is guilty here - this seems to be a Hollywood gimmick the past couple of years. These winding conclusions do nothing but rob films of their story momentum. Please, give us back true finales!

    And of course, the “Is it Trek” question.

    I’m still thinking on that.

    On the one hand, the feel of the characters and the general pace and atmosphere did feel WAY more Trek than Into Darkness. On the other hand, the weapons and such still have that “Star Wars” feel, and while this time we are not dealing with yet another revenge plot the questions it raised (mainly what do soldiers do when the war ends) were on the simplistic side. However, when I stopped to think about it NONE of the Trek movies have ever raised more complex questions; maybe it is a limitation of the movie format?

    This I can say already - even if ultimately I decide that to me it is not Trek it is MUCH closer to being Trek than any of the new films so far.

    Overall, this was a massive improvement over Into Darkness. That said, they still have the problems of all the weird things that Into Darkness introduced (like Khan’s blood) into this Trek universe, so it likely is still necessary to engineer another soft reboot to let them fully correct the problems Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci wrote into the setting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
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  2. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    First, let me say I really like your optimism and appreciate the time you took to write this. :) I am going to respond to your post and try and present my agreements and disagreements in a similar way.

    I agree with this part of your comment, but I have to say that I feel they missed a real opportunity to flesh out this "Kelvin timeline" with the first two years of the journeys of this Enterprise. They have evidently been out in space on their mission long enough for Kirk to get bored with it. I find that hard to believe, since there are Klingons, Romulans, Federation business and the aftermath of Kahn and the events of the previous movies to address. The story is straightforward, but the elements of the story are incongruous. They show us a starbase which uses technology far far advanced from what is seen on the Enterprise and on earth, and is built evidently for appearance instead of function and purpose. Visually, it is stunning, with gravity defying structures and rollercoaster-like "trains" shuttling inhabitants back and forth between buildings jutting into the enclosed space at unlikely angles. Very very un-Treklike, but visually interesting. The Enterprise has to enter it through a port outside the station, then travel along a fairly long corridor before it can dock. This makes no scientific or engineering sense. But is cool to look at (the point of making it like that).

    That was cool. They need to eliminate the fan callbacks altogether and treat this movie franchise as a separate property divorced completely from previous Trek. It has diverged so much from Star Trek of the Prime timeline that they can no longer be held up side by side for comparison.

    I agree that Karl Urban had McCoy spot on, and that he has it down so good that it channels DeForest Kelley very well. I have to completely disagree about Spock. This Spock is decidedly not Vulcan in the classic sense. He is emotional, and he smiles and grins and smirks and seems more human than alien. I never got the sense that he was a logical being, and his bonding moment with McCoy centered around his breakup of Uhura and his conflicted feelings about serving New Vulcan or Starfleet. Kirk...well, he still comes off as more of a football quarterback/jock/prom King than a Starfleet captain. In this movie, he does a much better job of being Captain than any of the previous two. You feel he is the Captain of the crew in this, and is in charge. Sulu came to this base to be with his husband, and that was handled nicely, but the fact that he has a daughter and husband on THIS base so far away from earth makes no sense. It should make no difference in this timeline who he is with, and showing that scene did not add to the story or to the Sulu character. It was gratuitous. Uhura and Chekov...meh. This Uhura is a severe disappointment. She does not seem to have any function in this crew other than sitting at a station and being a love interest. I never get the sense that she is talented and competent as a Starfleet officer. She is nice to look at, but a shallow character.

    She was great. I thought she was a bit punk-rockish, and the fact that she is the one who was playing rap in the old ship sorta turned me off. They were trying to make her hip and cool, and they largely succeeded in that. In this Trek, a character like her works well, and yes she was the highlight of the film.

    I found the bike on the Franklin to be a huge turnoff. It was fully functional, and it was on the Franklin (why would it be there?). When they used it, it had a smoke cartridge like in a motoross show, which dramatically left a plume of smoke behind it as it leaped through the air and sped around the camp where our captives were. It almost made me stop watching the movie. The Franklin was cool, but it made no sense that it had crashed on that planet, because there were only a few of the NX class built. It would seem that Starfleet would know where EVERY one of them were at all times, especially if one had crashed and it's flightworthiness were unknown. This one was essentially laying around, like a Bugatti left in the desert with a pinkslip and keys in the ignition and a full tank of gas. What was most appalling was the fact that they treated it like an atmospheric plane. They "jump started" it by allowing it to slide off a cliff, and freefall to get it "started". This made no sense on any level to me. The NX class is not an atmospheric ship. By what means would falling through atmosphere allow it to start it's engines? It is a warp ship. :facepalm:. I did not like it.

    Agree here on everything you said, but I still think that this Star Trek reboot (all three films) miss the point and are not Star Trek. If you are a fan of science and technology and the original Star Trek series and films, this one will frustrate you and insult your intelligence. But it is a great companion to popcorn and Milk Duds.

    I find it surprising that you are still undecided on whether or not this (and any of these three films) is Star Trek. Personally, I think not even close. But as an action franchise, it might have some life left in it.

    Thanks for your review!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
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  3. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Some points to add (since the film is fresh in mind):

    - The starbase was very advanced technology. One thing that was not totally clear was if it was purpose built as a starbase or if it was a structure already in existence courtesy of an alien race that they had a base on (there was dialogue when they first docked that made it seem it might be an artificial homeworld of a race).

    - They explained how the Franklin got there when they saw the log that revealed who Kroll really was. The Franklin crash landed after being transported there via being caught in a wormhole (which by the way happened in an episode of VOY also I think). They even had a scene near the end where the "lost ship" files were closed on the Franklin.

    - The bike was personal property of the Captain of the Franklin. They added the smoke (actually it was the same smoke-like gunk Jaylah trapped Kirk and Chekov with earlier) projectors to the bike for the diversionary run.

    - The "jump start" actually occurred before they went over the edge - the free fall drop part was using the engines and the speed picked up from the fall to in essence do a slingshot to give them enough velocity to clear atmosphere. They even mentioned that the ship was not designed for atmospheric flight, which necessitated the unorthodox takeoff.

    And yes, I could have done without the Beastie Boys too. That said, I did like the concept of using VHF audio to jam the interlink between the hive ships.

    On Spock and Kirk, I felt that in this film (unlike Into Darkness especially but 09 too) Kirk and Spock were both FAR more restrained in their performances. And Kirk did come across as an actual Captain this time instead of a frat boy. Spock was FAR more restrained and Vulcan this time out and not a giant jerk like he was the first two films.

    I would note that even TOS Spock had the occasional moment of mild emotion - he was not a totally emotionless android. And that was what Spock did this time. Mostly he was the stoic Vulcan with a couple of instances of mild emotion.

    As to why I am still thinking on whether this film (not the series - this film) is "Trek" is precisely because of the reasons I stated. Tonally it felt like Trek. The characterizations were much more Trek-like. On the other hand, the technological part is still off base and it did not raise "Trek style" questions (then again, it is debatable whether ANY of the Trek movies ever made really raised those types of questions).
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
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  4. yongjin02

    yongjin02 Well Known GateFan

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    funny--that was one--among many other things-that I disliked about the first 2 movies

    the so "spot on" of Urban trying so hard to sound like Kelly; why? Is Pine channeling Shatner, or is Quinto channeling Nimoy? Were they ever trying to do so?

    I like Karl Urban--the "horse lord" of LOTR's of course! In the Riddick movies,,all great acting.

    But I see his being a hand puppet for Kelley's ghost just irritating. Why is it necessary? It's not, IMO.

    Kelly wasn't channeling anyone when he did McCoy-he was just being himself-Urban's mimickry is just distracting and takes away from Urban's performance-why can't we have a McCoy with an New Zealander's accent? It is a diff. universe with other things changed.

    but then, it is JJ trek, so maybe I can forgive Urban for trying to mask his appearance :)
     
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  5. yongjin02

    yongjin02 Well Known GateFan

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    Does anyone think that the studio going with the prime timeline for the tv series is one way of deciphering if paramount still has faith in the JJ kelvin timeline?

    IDK? in the past, tv shows have been made in the "universe"/setting of the movie they are emulating-one would think that is the case here, but with so many changes to tv, who knows?
     
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  6. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    I have a solid theory about why JJ Abrams never understood Trek, and I have touched upon it here before. JJ was/is a Star Wars fan, and looking at all of his previous works, they have all been CHARACTER driven. The universe they are in has always been secondary, like those cardboard backdrops used in plays. When he rebooted his Star trek, he ignored the universe of Trek (which is it's core and it's most important element), and assumed that it's audience was all about the characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Chekov and McCoy. He concentrated all of his efforts on them and has centered all three movies around them and ignored the universe because he does not understand it or care about it.

    The most obvious element missing from the NuTrek reboot is science and plausible technology and a continuity of those things throughout the Trek universe. The Federation planets are all bound together because they all have warp drive capability. Civilizations approaching that threshold are the ones who are candidates for first contact or membership in the Federation. JJ does not get that. If he did, he would never have introduced transwarp beaming. He would have noted that in the timeline where Kirk is, the technology was not at that level. He does not understand Roddenberry's concept of warp travel, because if he did he would realize that NONE of the warp starships should be able to fly through the atmosphere or end up underwater or flying through the air to be "jump started". The design of the original Enterprise was partly configured to show us that this was a spacefaring ship only. No landing gear, no aerodynamic surfaces, etc.

    The destruction of Vulcan will forever be a thorn in this reboot because of HOW it was destroyed (with a drop of magical red matter, by a "Romulan" from the future). They have backtracked the transwarp beaming and red matter and magic tribble blood, but not really. Ignoring those things is not the same as eliminating them. And finally, the lack of science and military decorum gives us no reason to remember that the Enterprise and it's crew are members of a Federation of Planets and are only ONE starship in a fleet of ships. This reboot relies upon what he assumes is a solid connection to actual Star Trek which really does not exist at all. The new fans are unaware of Cochran, of first contact, and of the way the quadrants are laid out, and they don't care.

    Finally, the use of contemporary rap and Beastie Boys and facepaint and over-the-top action elements makes everything feel juvenile and hipsterish. So, for me, this Trek is not Star Trek and never can be Star Trek. It is a completely different creation with Star Trek stickers put on it.
     
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  7. yongjin02

    yongjin02 Well Known GateFan

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    yeah..but why can't we have an ANZAC McCoy? :icon_lol:
     
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  8. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Karl Urban is always a chameleon actor. It isn't just his McCoy (which even the Trek fans who dislike JJ Trek like), his Judge Dredd is considered THE on screen rendition of the character. And the best part is that there is little to no similarity between Doctor McCoy and Judge Dredd. The same thing applies to his Riddick performance as Lord Vakko - it does not feel like Karl Urban playing a character but rather like you are really seeing that character.
     
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  9. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Oh, and lest we forget Enterprise on at least two occasions (Broken Bow and Storm Front) had an NX engaging in atmospheric flight. And it was intimated in TOS that the Enterprise saucer could both separate and if needed land on planets. Also (as stated above) they were clear that it was not jump starting the engines it was using the momentum from the drop to help in getting the old ship to escape velocity.
     
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  10. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    I mostly agree here. One thing I will note is JJ's name may have been on Beyond but neither he nor his crew were involved in the making or writing of it. And I suspect that has a LOT to do with this film feeling WAY more "Trek" than the others. I'm glad Lin and Pegg decided to ignore nonsense like transwarp beaming, magic Khan blood et al. They probably did not have the full authority needed to actively write the stuff out so ignoring is the next best step. I'm also glad they dialed back the portrayals particularly of Kirk and Spock. Note that even Scotty's portrayal was dialed back so he felt more like an engineer and less like a Scottish standup comic.
     
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  11. Lord Ba'al

    Lord Ba'al GateFans Member

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    Beastie Boys never disturbes me. And the song was quite relevant to the situation.
     
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  12. yongjin02

    yongjin02 Well Known GateFan

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    didn't they actually do this in an episode?

    they landed VOYAGER quite a few times on planets.
     
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  13. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    It did work in the scene where they played it, but hey...Beastie Boys? :)
     
  14. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Voyager was DESIGNED to land on planets. Evidently, the Defiant class ships can also land (read that somewhere), and the Nova class starships:

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Planetary_landing

    In the original TOS, the Constitution class starship's saucer section was designed to detach and land on a planet and you can clearly see the landing gear underneath the saucer section. The NX class introduced by Enterprise was not an atmospheric ship by design and was basic compared to later starships. The Enterprise of the reboot is more than twice the size of the TOS Enterprise and we have seen it submerged in an ocean. It's what the new thing is, I guess. :) I don't really like it though.
     
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  15. Lord Ba'al

    Lord Ba'al GateFans Member

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    Beastie Boys was the shizzle. Best white hiphop of all time.

     
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  16. Lord Ba'al

    Lord Ba'al GateFans Member

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    If you subscribe to the vision of starship enterprise can't submerge because in TOS it was never done, then by extension you can't have anything in Star Trek that wasn't in TOS. That would not leave an awful lot of room for things to write about. People already complain that there is too much repetition from series to series. You've gotta leave room for new things. Scottie did say he wasn't happy about the Star Ship being submerged. Easy enough to imagine that it could have been done in TOS, they just never got around to doing it.
     
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  17. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    The entire ship came into the atmosphere and submerged. None of the starships before Voyager could enter atmospheres like that by design, let alone submerge.

    To me its like showing regular cars flying from place to place like shuttles or seeing paved streets with boats sailing on them.

    The bottom line is that JJ Trek can basically do whatever it wants. I just hope he knows it has nothing to do with Roddenberry Trek because it doesn't. He might as well have wheels on it too. Lets make it able to transform into a battle bot too! That would look cool. Maybe have it be sentient and have a relationship with a sexy cargo ship. Obviously, the possibilities are endless. It just isn't Star Trek, that's all. :) Well, I suppose it is for the mainstream.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  18. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    As I posted upthread the Enterprise NX entered atmosphere at least twice in its series run, maybe more. In fact, in Storm Front it was dueling with old Earth fighters in the atmosphere while making a low altitude run over New York City.
     
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  19. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Even the TOS Enterprise entered the atmosphere on occasion. That is not what I am talking about. It is not an atmospheric ship like a shuttle or Voyager. The NX class is a very very old starship design.

    You guys are missing the point. :) I guess I am picky because I have the blueprints for many of these ships and have done extensive reading on their intended designs and capabilities. Im a Trekkie!
     
  20. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    I understand that. But if in the Prime universe in a series episode the ship in question is voluntarily flying around in the atmosphere then no matter what a website says about them canonically they can fly in the atmosphere. Ergo, the NX is atmosphere flight capable so Beyond having an NX do it is not outside canon.

    Now Into Darkness having the ENTIRE Enterprise acting like a submarine? That tripped my canon sensor too!
     
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