director: Justin Lin
writers: Simon Pegg & Doug Jung
starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and Idris Elba
genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-fi
released: 22 July 2016 (USA), 21 July 2016 (Australia & Greece), 28 July 2016 (Germany)
What was a good beginning for an action oriented 'Star Trek' series has now led to an imperfect array of sequels with various degrees of problems ranging from bad villains, terrible callbacks and an over estimation of future technology while also enemy capabilities. Still being not enough to please fans of old or soothe fans of new that these characters are worth traversing the stars with, even just for one more film.
The USS Enterprise's crew is on its 5 year scientific mission to explore the galaxy, follow the prime directive and get used to the mundanes of space travel. When Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew try to assist an alien ship in peril. It gets caught up in the vendetta of a strange villain who hates the Federation and has been preparing his strike against them in the shadows for decades.
From the way this film begins its noticeable how its handled almost like your typical 'Star Trek' TV series episode. With some exposition, character details, the world view and the overarching theme of the episode and in this case film. It is not only nostalgic to most of us Trek fans (mostly Generations fan), but it also does settle you in better to the 'Star Trek' mentality and also the characters emotional status and arcs. Which was the primary issue with the previous films and it's still to this day my gripe now. As if we actually had gone through more things like this, we would have had sequels that we were much more invested in.
To further emphasize about the difference made in this film compared to the rest. I would have to say its due to the extra emphasis put by the new writers of the film, but also the production as a whole realizing finally that they weren't focused on the characters as much as they should have in the previous films. Pay attention to how the characters now actually have scenes of quiet interaction between each other, where they speak their mind, and have goals for the future. While also other moments where characters actually are made to be useful and also interact in funny situations. With none of main crew being left without a role to play in the story and counter the opposition.
However, this introduction of elements that are common sense aren't enough to make this into the great series that the studio had hoped it to be. Not only that we are 3 films in, but also because the villain, his tech, his followers and world are highly questionable. Not to mention the Federation's space station that dwarves the 'Deep Space Nine' space station in size and functionality by a gazillion. To be specific, the space station is gargantuan in size and is a station of immense innovation that begs the question of how the Federation just doesn't have complete dominance over the galaxy with that kind of tech or have already been a couple of scuffles in general because of it.
Let's though backtrack a bit back to the main villain and his devious evil plot. The way he lures the Enterprise into his trap of capturing the crew and destroying the ship was obvious to say the least. Nothing about it was subtle, as when Kirk gets convinced to head into the unknown section of that space sector to save the crew. He doesn't ask any questions of the survivor whatsoever. Immediately from that point on you knew it was a trap.
His motive in general for attacking the federation is simplistic and seems like a desire built on pure uncontrollable anger and that's it. The Federation changed and then he was left on a planet with incredible technology. Not that he as a villain wanted a different kind of galaxy to live in or him to be running things his own or what have you. Simply, he was angry, he was a fighter and he wants to keep on fighting. Then there was the fact that this guy supposedly was looking for years for a WMD when he technically already had one. His torpedo ships that are impenetrable except in the case when they are breached by music of the Beastie Boys.
Moreover, don't how to feel about having music win the day in a way that happened so fast with science mumbo jumbo in the mix that I couldn't have possibly fully comprehended. This is somewhat of a spoiler, but supposedly the weakness of the swarm was something about their link up and that their was a patch of frequency if set loose would make them explode. All this happened so fast in the film that at that point, I kind of accepted it, but still was perplexed by it.
Additionally, there is the coincidence of the coincidence for the artifact to reach Kirk and then get to Idris Elba's villain character's hands. While also for him to find the right planet with destructive technology and loyal followers. That is quite a lot to swallow and yes these coincidences lead to decent action sequences, but that isn't enough.
Getting the series back to its roots (sort of) did make it into a better film overall. However, why should we care? It's quite late in the game now to care about the rebooted film series and most would be better off by getting better familiar with the characters through the old episodes and films. Which is possibly the worst critique you can make of the new 'Star Trek' film series that is still to this day subpar.