My love of Abrams.
I have a strong obsession with Abrams' Star Trek films. I think the first film is absolutely amazing and incredibly directed. I think it is a monumental film in this era of the industry. I also thought Into Darkness was a freaking blast! I remember getting chills in the first scene when the enterprise rose out of the water.
Not only was the storytelling genius, but the filmmaking was as well. The cinematography was vibrant and fresh; Abrams' use of the dolly in swift moves is riveting. There is such a fresh feeling to the films, especially with Abrams' obsessive use of 35mm film (and lens flares). The visual effects were also great. They blended gorgeously.
It's safe to say I love the universe Abrams built with these new films. So I had relatively high expectations for what seems to be the final film in the series. But was it good?
Fast, Furious, and... not my favorite.
So as you should know by now, Abrams did not, in fact, direct this film. He was off working on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was a masterpiece. So Fast & Furious Justin Lin was assigned the task of wrapping up with the trilogy.
To be honest, I genuinely thought that under the circumstances, Justin Lin did a fairly good job crafting the vision of this project. For those of you that disagree, let's go through the circumstances he was thrown into:
So I think he was under a lot of pressure not to screw this up. And with that in mind, he pulled something cool off. With that being said, I thought the film was definitely lacking.
For one the film shot digitally. Which I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing about, but I don't care. The image and visual effects just were not up to par with Abrams' universe. The feel of the movie just had this dull kind of 'Diet Star Trek' feel. It wasn't as fresh and invigorating as the first two. Also the lens flares were 100% gone. Which I understand why, but it just felt abnormal to be able to see the entire screen without flinching at the light.
The direction just did not feel like the Star Trek I knew. And in some ways it worked, and in others it really didn't.
The Trek itself.
Another thing I thought was dull compared to it's predecessors was the story. Now I thought Simon Pegg and Doug Jung did a really nice job with the characters, which I'll get back to in a second.
However, the story itself was lacking in so many areas. Remember, this is most likely the last film of the series as we know it. When a series ends I want to be riveted and I want a completed emotional journey. But with this film, I did not find the story that riveting, and I felt the story lacked any real emotional arc.
The movie is really good at being fun, and I'm okay with fun movies. But when your trying to conclude a well-received, sci-fi mammoth as big as Star Trek, fun does not cut it! By the end of the film I want to feel satisfied with walking away and knowing there isn't another film to get excited about. But walking out of this film was anti-climactic, there wasn't really any conclusion. And any conclusion the story provided was more of a call back to the original series and less of a conclusion for the characters in this Star Trek Universe.
The story of this film really feels like a stand-alone journey. The stakes were really not that high for me in the film, a lot of it really felt like a re-hash of the previous films,and how many times can they crash the enterprise and expect us to care?
Okay there was my mini-rant on the story. It wasn't bad, but it didn't deliver anything I thought deserved the title: Star Trek Beyond.
Okay so now we get to talk about the best thing about Star Trek, the characters. Most of the crew is back besides Alice Eve. It was great to see them again and watch them interact. Pegg and Jung did a fantastic job with Spock and Bones and expanding their relationship.
All of the love interest has been basically cast out of the movie. Zoe Saldana's Uhura and Quintos' Spock have ended their relationship, and as stated previously Kirk's minor interest Alice Eve is not in the film at all.
So as far as character development goes, it really is lacking for most characters. The character's are just utilized as they currently exist. They try to expand on Kirk with an insecurity of his position in Starfleet, but I feel like that's been here since the beginning and the issue kind of disappears all together when the main plot of the film takes hold.
There are also new cast members that are introduced through out the film. Which these two new characters really represent the films strongest and weakest points.
Jaylah is definitely one of the films strongest attributes. She is a strong female character that not only adds a lot of humanity to the story, but also introduces some of the best aspects of the story, including some of the homages to the original series. And she actually has character development, unlike most of the other characters.
And then there's the villain, who is sort of cool, and kind of lame at the same time. This new villain, Krall, played by Idris Elba has a lot of Merit. He is creepy, strong, and posses a major threat to Kirk's crew.
However, there is a twist towards the end of the film. I really liked this twist, I thought it was a great idea on the writer's part, and it was setup from the very beginning. But it didn't make the villain any more satisfying. It also felt oddly familiar. He definitely represents the weakest point of the film for me. He's a fun villain, but in the big scheme of things, he turns out to be quite dull.
Star Trek is an absolutely massive franchise with millions of fans, and a countless number of films and television shows. J.J Abrams brought a fresh and bold vision to the reboot of the franchise in 2009 and carried the legacy to a new generation. It was a gigantic success and brought us a fantastic new story, promising more great stories to come.
Now it seems we are at the end of this series. Overall, it has been a solid journey. Having the cast back for the finale alone was enough to warrant the purchase of a ticket. But the storytelling, filmmaking, and vision for this final project is really what counts. Unfortunately, I do not thing this film lived up to it's predecessors. It didn't feel as big or bold, and it really didn't feel anymore like a conclusion than the last film. It almost leaves me wanting more.
Sadly, it doesn't look like we are going to get anymore, and that is why am hard on this film. I do understand the circumstances the team was put under with trying to finish the series, but in the end, the story did, in fact, feel dull to me. With that being said, I do think you will enjoy this film. And I think the purchase of a ticket for the movie is not dishonorable. It's fun, action-packed, and full of thrills. But I wouldn't go in expecting a satisfying conclusion to a strong trilogy. Go in looking for fun, and you might come out with a little bit more.
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