NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are. THIS WEEK: The third installment in the rebooted Trek franchise under executive producer/magic-man J.J. Abrams. Chris “Kirk” Pine, Zack “Spock” Quinto, Zoe “Uhura” Saldana, Karl “Bones” Urban, Simon “Scotty” Pegg (who co-wrote the screenplay), John “Sulu” Cho and the (sadly early) late Anton “Chekov” Yelchin return. It’s about 2.5 years after Star Trek: Into Darkness as the U.S.S. Enterprise answers a distress call and ends up marooned on a planet fighting a deadly foe with a world-ending weapon and a bug against the Federation.
Written by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung. Directed by Justin “Fast & Furious” Lin.
• With this (and every other) mega-budget franchise, you expect masterful, jaw-dropping visual effects and this doesn’t disappoint. The ships, environments, designs (especially the Yorktown outpost), creature makeup and everything else is amazing, thrilling and effective. (One motorcycle scene looks comparitively fake but there’s a reason.) You see the Enterprise like never before—good and bad—and it’s awesome.
• Good story and action. Dramatic/funny opening, slow ramp-up, then all hell breaks loose. Cool twists that I didn’t see coming. Thrilling and suspenseful climax with multiple “not done yets.”
• Great character interplay. Scotty pairs up with a female alien warrior and McCoy is paired up with Spock, both with entertaining, insightful and funny dialog/results. (MIKE: The latter reminds me of the classic “Friday’s Child” original TV series episode.) The new actors, for the most part, are doing well with the difficult task of nailing the classic character personalities while being different enough to not be imitations or parodies.
• More aliens aboard the Enterprise than before, which makes sense with an intergalactic Federation (the TV show didn’t have any). This time, “diversity” not only makes sense, it takes on an entirely new meaning!
• Even without his ship, Kirk’s devotion and duty to it and his crew come across strong. Also, we get a glimpse of how boring long space travel can actually be (just look at his closet!).
• Each member of the crew actually has a part in “saving the day” so it’s not just Kirk or Spock hogging the glory.
• Uhura kicks some alien butt and looks good doing it. The alien chick Jayla is shaped nicely too (played by Sofia Boutella, who was the spike-legged babe in Kingsman: Secret Service); plus, she has the coolest face tats since Darth Maul!
• The Spock-Uhura “romance” is addressed but not a big focus. No mushy crap.
Idris Elba (aka Heimdall in the Thor movies) as baddie Krall is friggin’ great!
• Idris Elba (aka Heimdall in the Thor movies) as baddie Krall is friggin’ great! Took me half the flick to recognize him under that getup. (His voice is in Zootopia and The Secret Life Of Pets). He really should be starring in a Marvel or DC property (if he just loses the thick accent so I can understand him better).
• Music overall is pretty fantastic, especially the orchestra stuff. (Even the Beastie Boys show up on the soundtrack, with a song called “Sabotage,” as an inside joke for William Shatner fans.) The classic Star Trek theme and TV opening narration (“Space…the final frontier”) show up as well; the latter with a minor-but-good twist.
• Quick nod to the original TV cast at the end. Tribute lines at the credits to the departed-but-never-forgotten Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.
• Let’s face it: for most fans over 35, Kirk is Shatner, and it’s hard to think of anyone as Kirk without the speech pattern; but Pine still has most of the qualities of the character. Spock is even harder because you just can’t be Spock without imitating Leonard Nimoy. Quinto tries his best but it’s tough.
• For some bizarre reason, “Uhura” suddenly becomes “Yoo-Hoora.” Is she sponsoring the chocolate drink or something?
• There’s a sequence involving the Enterprise that might be hard for Trekkies and Trekkors to watch. That’s all I can say without a spoiler!
• Funny-but-cheap use of “classical” (20th century) rap music. I get the gag but some may find it too goofy and lightening what should be an intense sequence.
• A couple of minor Suspension Of Disbelief Dept. moments for true fans, especially those with technical knowledge of stuff. Also, the time-travel thing with Ambassador Spock from previous flicks is referenced and may bug some time-travel aficionados.
• NO button during or after the credits, not even to foreshadow the next installment. Booooo!!!
Definitely one of my favorites in the whole franchise, and better than the last one. I didn’t see it in DFX or IMAX but wish I had. Considering the kind of extras that should be on the Bluray/DVD, I’d buy it to check out the designs, making-of documentaries, gag reels (gotta be hilarious with Pegg) and other stuff. And it’s the kind of flick I can watch more than once and enjoy for more than one reason, noticing cool stuff each time. But ya gotta see it on that giant screen to really experience it! May the franchise live long and yada yada.
P.S.: You need some cool ART of the crew or aliens or anything else! Pascale can do an original art commission with YOU as Kirk, Spock, Uhura or even an alien bug. Just ask Craig here!
The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Starfleet, the United Federation of Planets, the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance, the Time Lords, The Space Agency, NASA or weird blue guys in Green Lantern. Bru thinks Jayla was wearing space pants because her butt was out of this world!