Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond July 29, 2016

Star Trek BeyondI went to see Star Trek Beyond yesterday, and enjoyed it. It seems as though with each new film, the rebooted franchise seems a closer and closer match to the original series. The performances by Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto as McCoy and Spock are especially authentic in this regard – and the references to the death of Ambassador Spock, and the photo he left behind of the crew as they were in his timeline (many years later from the perspective of these characters in their timeline), made this all the more poignant. Even the story and the setting on a rocky world seemed right out of classic Star Trek. And the bookends of the film – Kirk’s birthday (with a cute reference to his eyesight) and his pursuit and then rejection of a position as vice-admiral – witnessed Chris Pine’s rendition of the most different version of someone from this timeline – Capt. Kirk – finding his way in the direction of the character that we know from the Original Series as well.

Finding one’s way is a major theme of the movie, and the story may have seemed more like the Original Series precisely because it explored classic Trek questions about war and peace, the nature of the Federation, and other matters of ethics and philosophy as they relate to humanity’s spread to the stars.

The film is by no means flawless, in terms of its story. The biggest oddity that jumped out at me was that the U. S. S. Franklin was apparently a ship the whereabouts of which Krall would have known about – and so how would Jaylah’s cloaking devices have served to hide the ship from him effectively?

But on the whole I found it enjoyable, and its utopian depiction of Starfleet’s personnel and mission, in particular on Starbase Yorktown but also on the Enterprise, and the reference to medical technology that for us is still a dream as “things…from the dark ages,” to be true to Gene Roddenberry’s vision, however much this modernistic outlook may seem antiquated to some. I suspect that many have grown tired of postmodernism, with its attempt to view all perspectives as valuable and to be respected. Perhaps the film was poking fun at this, as it showed Kirk attempting in vain to mediate between two cultures, one of which turned out to be bigger in its own eyes than from a human perspective. And so it was refreshing to hear characters assert that in fact “there is no such thing as the unknown, only the temporarily hidden,” and that however true it is that struggle makes us who we are, a time comes when one must end war and turn enemies into friends. We have to change, otherwise we needlessly keep fighting the same values, Kirk says. There’s a message for our time in that which is as poignant as the message of the Original Series was in its time, don’t you think?

Have you seen Star Trek Beyond yet? If so, what did you think of it? And are you excited by the prospect of a new Star Trek series on TV, Star Trek Discovery?

Kirk Pines Shatner


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  • I forgot to mention in the blog post itself that I liked the reference to classical music…

  • Phil Ledgerwood

    I saw it Wednesday, and I completely agree. I thought it was the closest so far to the feel of the original series – wacky technical solutions that only succeed with a healthy dose of dangerous action sequences performed by the top brass of the Enterprise. The only thing missing was Kirk seducing one of the alien women, but I’m ok with that.

    Also, as a programmer, the demonstrable superiority of the swarm of small ships vs. one big ship was a cool thing. I told my current client’s developers about it, as well as the critical weakness of the way Krull had architected it.

    And, of course, Krull’s name kept making me think of the movie “Krull.”

  • John MacDonald

    I thought the reference in the movie to “absent friends” was touching.

  • I also loved this one of the three. The Spock & McCoy scenes were delightful. I’ve loved the classic references to Treks of yore.

    As to Star Trek: Discovery, I’ve been more excited about the behind the scenes staff. Having Brian Fuller in charge as well as Nicholas Meyer, and others gives me a lot of hope. Especially since I know this road well, remembering the fits and starts of the 70’s and bumpy start to the Next Gen.