star trek beyond

This weekend’s Star Trek Beyond, has been generating a lot of buzz — especially after the reveals of things like the origin of new character Jaylah’s name, or the fact that Sulu has a husband — and has been the subject of a lot of worry and cautious hope for many fans of the franchise.

J.J. Abrams has little to do with this iteration of the series, which came as a blessing for some; in his place, Justin Lin directed, and the writing was done by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg.  All involved reassured fans all throughout the process that this was going to be a labor of love.

And by god, it shows.

One of the biggest complaints about the reboot’s first two installments was that they didn’t always feel like Star Trek.  They were too loud, too action-y, without enough science fiction or social commentary.  Too much gloss, not enough of the things that made the Original Series the cultural powerhouse that it became.  This movie goes in the other direction; while it is definitely an action movie, it’s also undeniably Star Trek.

As a longtime fan of the Original Series, I can attest that there are a whole lot of direct references to TOS, but that’s not what makes the movie a really beautiful installment of the franchise.

What makes the movie what it is is how it heaves close to classic facets of the original series that maybe got lost along the way in the first two movies of the reboot, whether on accident or out of carelessness.  Things like Bones and McCoy’s idiosyncratic relationship, often lost in the shuffle under Kirk&Spock and Kirk&McCoy, or the idea that the things we send out into space will come back to us someday, or the committed conviction that peace, diplomacy, and unity are the moral way to ‘win’ — these are the things that make Star Trek Beyond a real Trek story.

It’s clear that Jung, Pegg, and Lin were committed to making this the real deal, and when you have that, the rest falls into place.

New character Jaylah is an absolute delight, as is her dynamic with Scotty.  Spock and Uhura’s relationship is understated and, well, fascinating for me, for the first time.  Chris Pine brings in certain Shatnerian mannerisms that were missing, before, showing a Jim Kirk who knows his own captaincy in a way he hadn’t grown into yet in Into Darkness.

The cinematography, also, and production design, are wonderful.  I loved the design of the Yorktown space base, and the whole sequence with ‘classical music’ — when you see the movie, you’ll know the one — was fabulous.

There is not a single element of this movie that feels out of place or done wrong, and I, for one, cannot wait for the next entry into the Star Trek franchise, if this is the sort of thing we’re going to be getting from here on out.

Congratulations to the cast, crew, and creative team, for creating a Star Trek that we all can believe in.

If you’re reading this, do this journalist a favor:

Go see Star Trek Beyond.  I sincerely do not believe you’ll regret it.

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