A TiT’s Musings About Star Trek Beyond

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* WARNING – SPOILER ALERT! *

I have been a very excited little TiT these past few weeks. The release of Star Trek Beyond marks the first “new Trek” that I have experienced since becoming a Trekkie in Training and fully-fledged TrekkieGirl. It was great to see my excitement and enthusiasm mirrored in two such hardcore Trekkies like Sam and Carole.

Having sadly been unable to attend the EPIC world premiere in San Diego because of the quite serious potential to loose both jobs and husbands following our whirlwind trip to LA, we had to settle for the next best thing – the very first screening of Star Trek Beyond at our local cinema, the Vue at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. There was no discussion to be had, we would attend the triple bill screening including both Star Trek and Into Darkness, before the hotly anticipated Beyond.

As somebody said to me just recently, any new Trek is good Trek. I personally like both of the first films, and so I knew that I was going to love this one. I just wasn’t really prepared for how much it would totally and utterly blow me away – I LOVED it!!

Let’s just get this bit out the way first – gay Sulu. WHAT was the big deal? I think they could have actually left in the deleted “kiss” and it would still have been completely un-shocking. In the context – of a military or service person greeting their loved one after a period away – what could be more natural? Regardless of gender or sexuality. As John Cho said when speaking to news.com.au:

“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out of it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations.”

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand where George Takei is coming from, but I hope that now he’s seen Beyond, he can take the whole thing as it was intended. I’m sure that Sam and Carole will fill me in on his response when asked THAT question during his panel at STLV!

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Following on quite nicely from that, I really liked the way they handled the tribute to Leonard Nimoy – so thoughtfully done. It was beautiful to watch Spock grieving for his future self, just as I’m sure Zachary Quinto grieved for his predecessor in real life (it’s no secret that he was close to Leonard and sees the Nimoy’s as “his family”). You could see real emotion in all the cast member faces, not just Quinto, but he did admittedly do an amazing job. Nimoy would have been proud. It was also lovely to see the photographic ode to the TOS cast – TrekkieGirl Sam was literally in floods of tears at this point!

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In a way, I’m envious of Sam and Carole. As lifelong fans, they can take so much more away from the movies than I can? All the subtle references to Enterprise that I just didn’t get, or the “Easter Eggs” that go straight over my head. I hope that this wave of new Star Trek continues so that one day I might enjoy it in the same way they do.

The character development in Beyond was really top-notch! A fact I think you can attribute to the film being co-written by the awesome (and out and proud Trekkie) Simon Pegg. Right from the very beginning where Kirk is explaining what it’s like having been in space for 966 days (loved the bit where he spilt his coffee – I just HAVE to get me one of those mugs!!). The ‘birthday drink’ between Kirk and Bones was a real nod to TOS and the relationship that the two characters had when played by Shatner and Kelly – namely, the “glasses / Romulan Ale” scene in Wrath of Khan – yes, that was one Easter Egg I did pick up on!!!

As TrekkieGirls we had expressed our excited anticipation at the unfamiliar on-screen pairings: Kirk-Chekov, Spock-Bones, Uhuru-Sulu, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The increase in screen time given to Bones was well deserved – I’m so glad Karl Urban agreed to sign up for Beyond (I believe it was in doubt at one point?). That guy is frickin’ hilarious?! He had, without doubt, the best lines!? The sparring between Bones and an injured Spock, stranded on Altamid, again, was a real throwback to the Kelly / Nimoy era and fantastically done! I think these scenes were some of my favourite of the whole movie!

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Something that did irk me a just little bit – every time the (a) ship was going terrifyingly fast, the camera would cut to Uhura screaming whilst all the men sat there stoically as if it were just another day at the office? I love Uhura because of her ballsyness, her feistiness, and don’t get me wrong, she demonstrates plenty of that in the film, but I just think these scenes were a little bit insulting? There was something “helpless female” about it? A bit too “Troi” for my liking? It just really stood out to me. Surely there is another way of demonstrating the impending peril of the ship? Maybe it’s just me…

Conversely, fickle like I am, I loved seeing the vulnerability in Spock – faced with his own mortality with the passing of Ambassador Spock, torn between head and heart, and seeing how both he and Kirk feared letting the other down.

Side note: (I guess this happens when you watch all three films in a row) how well-matched is young Spock in the first movie, to Zachary Quinto?! In the “emotional” scenes in Beyond, he is the spitting image of him! Fantastic casting!

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Speaking of which, I absolutely LOVED Jaylah!!! And the friendship that she formed with Scotty. It was great that he seemed more impressed by her engineering capabilities than by the fact that she is a smokin’ hot badass?! He’s SUCH a geek?! I really hope Sophia Boutella returns in the next movie as a fully-graduated-from-Star-Fleet member of the Enterprise crew.

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Okay, I’ve been putting this off because as you know I get quite emotional about it: Chekov. Anton really came in to his own in this movie. Being the youngest member of the cast (I think he was just 17 when he began filming the first movie?), he really has grown up, in to a man, before our very eyes over the course of the movies. I loved the direction they took with the character in Beyond – he’s almost turning in to a young Kirk? (Funny that the two of them should be stranded together?) I may have been imagining it, but I’m sure he was the guy being kicked out of the green girls’ room, during Kirk’s “daily life aboard a Starship” scene? And the way he looked Jaylah up and down – he was certainly becoming a little bit of a ladies man. I am so sad, as I feel like there was so much more to come from the character, so much more Anton had to give, that will sadly never be realised. I personally am happy that they won’t be recasting the role. I just couldn’t bear to see anybody else playing this Chekov now. So long as there is some plausible explanation for his absence.

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Of course, I’m not forgetting one very important character – the quite simply terrifying, Krall.

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Being a Psychology graduate, I was absolutely fascinated by this character, both fearing and pitying him at the same time. Despite possibly always having been a megalomaniac, I think he was clearly suffering from some of PTSD, having been a soldier before the formation of Starfleet. You’d think by the 23rd Century we would have worked out a way of solving that problem? Okay, so they didn’t foresee his ship getting marooned on a planet so far away, and the subsequent effects of this isolation were perhaps inevitable. However, expecting him to just adapt to this new “peaceful” way of life, all of a sudden, when all he had known was war and battle, was somewhat ignorant and negligent I feel?

I loved the parallel that could be drawn between Kirk and Krall (or rather his human self, Balthazar Edison) – you could see that Kirk felt a certain empathy for what he had been forced to endure, bearing in mind the apathy he had started to feel in his own role as a Captain. When the almost-back-to-human Krall, saw his face in the shard of glass, I thought he was going to have some sort of epiphany, realise the error of his ways and try to help Kirk stop the release of the bioweapon. But sadly not. You see that’s the difference between Kirk and Krall – Kirk is inherently good, Krall, whatever the reasons, is stark raving bonkers.

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So, there you have the TiT’s review of Star Trek Beyond. I hope my musings amuse you?! Needless to say, I am super excited that there’s going to be a forth film, and even more excited that it’s going to feature the gorgeous Chris Hemsworth!

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One more thing before I go…

Again, watching the three JJ films together, I was left wondering – what is the obsession with gravity in these films? From the gravity-defying stalactite-type buildings on Vulcan in the first film, to the mind-bending design of Starbase Yorktown – I mean, what’s with that place?! I couldn’t work out which way was up and which way was down? Also, on more than one occasion throughout the three films, there were scenes where you assume the ship is “above planet” and then the camera pans out and does this weird twisted angle thing to show that actually the ship is at the Southern pole of the planet, and is effectively upside down? Let me see if I can find a demo of this…

I guess when you are completely oblivious to these “Easter Eggs”, you notice other things? However, it all left me wondering, if, when you’re in space, do you ever really know which way is up and which way is down? Is there even an up/down in space? Just thinking about it makes my head hurt… Maybe Tim Peake can help me out on that?!

2 thoughts on “A TiT’s Musings About Star Trek Beyond”

  1. Great review!

    The youtube video “is private” though?

    Btw., Anton Yelchin 18 and almost 8 months when filming on ST2009 started. Still very young though, maybe too young for a academy graduate?

    Ac. gravity, I guess it’s just an easy way to “action up” a movie.

    There’s no real up or down in space of course, except relative to the planet orbited or some arbitrarily defined coordinate system 😉
    Flying a “standard orbit” with the ships’ “roof” towards the planet seems surprisingly logical: The centrifugal force might save energy regarding otherwise purely artifical gravity, and the planet is directly visible through the glass domes that some ships’ bridges feature.

    I’d love to see prime universe’s Jaylah in the new TV series, Star Trek Discovery 😉

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