Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

The third film in the Abrams' Star Trek franchise just opened last week. This is the first one not directed by him. He's given credit as the producer. Simon Pegg (Montgomery Scott) is credited as one of the script writers. Also credited for the script is Gene Roddenberry, the original creator of the franchise, who passed away years ago. I'm glad they incorporated his original ideas in the story, it shows.

The scope of this picture is huge. They are in the third year of their five year mission in uncharted space. The film opens with Kirk in the middle of a diplomatic assignment in which he contacts a species previously unknown. In the beginning it looks ominous but quickly turns to comedy. There's the touch of Simon Pegg as the scriptwriter.

The film continues at warp speed, filling the screen with amazing special effects and an enormous base in deep space which encloses a large glittering city, populated by scores of sapient lifeforms, some human, some not. There is also docking space for gigantic starships like the Enterprise. There is a mechanized shipbuilding area where robotics are used to build starships.

Star Trek Beyond is the first Trek film in several years that truly feels like one of the television episodes, to a much grander scale, of course. Maybe it's the Roddenberry influence in the script.

Upon leaving the station for a rescue mission of a crew captured by hostiles on a world hidden in a vast nebula, the Enterprise is destroyed, leaving the crew to take their escape pods down to a planet hostile in itself, not to mention the inhabitants.

It is there the crew members are captured by Krall, a lizard-like alien played by the great English actor, Idris Elba. He also plays Heimdall in the Thor movies.  You won't recognize him in this one, not even his voice.  I already knew he played the role and still didn't recognize him or his voice. By the way, if you get a chance to see the BBC series "Luther" in which he stars, take it.  It's an excellent series, in which he plays a world weary detective.

Okay, here's my one problem with this movie...the alien makeup used for Krall looks almost exactly like a character I remember from an old television series, "The Outer Limits." Look, I know most of the people who see STB are not old enough to remember "The Outer Limits," which pre-dated the original Star Trek series. But I do because it was one of my favorite episodes.  Ah well, I guess everything comes around again. Forgive me for being a Trekker nerd (and no, I am NOT a Trekkie, there's a distinction.) Besides, I've known worse ones than me. At least I don't argue with the number of decks the Enterprise has in a movie. I once heard a friend say Starfleet technical manuals specify the number of decks in the Enterprise to be 80 and the film showed 120. Believe me, I'm not THAT bad.

There were quite a few of the original Star Trek fans at the movie yesterday. Why they gotta be so old?!!! One silver haired lady sat working a crossword puzzle with a penlight throughout the previews, only stopping when the film began...

Wonderful performances are given by all the regulars in the film series, with an added melancholy turn for Chekhov (played by the late Anton Yelchin) who was finally growing up. He looked older in this one, not the gawky young man he was in the first two. He looked taller and heavier, more muscled than before, a man not a teen-ager.

A new alien, Jaylah (played by newcomer Sofia Boutella) is added to the cast. Given the ending of the film, I have a feeling she may return to the crew eventually. Her makeup is wonderful.

The film is a huge, fast-paced thrill ride. Not surprising, Justin Lin of the Fast and Furious films, directed this one.

This is one you should see in a movie theater on the big screen.

There is a lovely tribute to the original cast of Star Trek, which made me start to tear up.

Of course the credits made me cry. It is dedicated in loving memory to Leonard Nimoy.

Then below that it simply reads "For Anton."

Even for an old Trekker like me, I must admit Star Trek still lives and is definitely going in the right direction.

Okay, I'm hoping to get to the Absolutely Fabulous (AB FAB)  movie today or tomorrow. Based on a hysterical Britcom, irreverent, and out there, I'm looking forward to it. I need a good round of raucous laughter, Sweetie Darling!

Review will most definitely follow.

Until next time...

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