Star Trek Beyond (2016)

It is hard to grasp the fact that 50 years have past since the first airing of Star Trek the original series back in 1966 (Star Trek (1966))!

Since then there have been 5 TV series:

Star Trek (1966-1969)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999)
Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001)
Enterprise (2001–2005)

And 13 movies:

Star Trek I The.Motion.Picture (1979)
Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III The Search For Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek VII Generations (1994)
Star Trek VIII First Contact (1996)
Star Trek IX Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek X Nemesis (2002)
Star Trek XI Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek XII Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek XIII Beyond (2016)

As a fan I have always enjoyed them but they have always been a hit or miss.. There have been some great moments there and also some pretty boring ones. The latest installment is not far from the usual recipe.

We have a well established cast (on the younger versions of the original cast) who have a good chemistry and are fun to watch on screen:

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and a new addition that brings a breath of fresh air to the movie (Sofia Boutella as Jayla):

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The story is not so bad, it revolves around an unknown alien race that for some reason feels the need to stop the Human (+allies) Expansion (a wink to the Sci-Fi series of novels that are making an impact). So they take the initiative to land a 1st strike on their unsuspecting foe, the United Federation. The Expanse influence continues with the addition of «Avasarala» actor from the TV series of Expanse (2nd wink) plus the ancient bio-weapon that seems to be the center of the conflict (3rd wink). Of course Star Trek is far older and has influenced all of the later Sci-Fi space drama novels/movies/series.

The bad guy is bad enough to feel menacing so that the chase has a meaningful impact.

My problem, yet again, revolves around the direction/montage of the film. In old Sci-Fi or Fantasy film, due to the fact that special effects were difficult and rarely successful, most scenes were filmed in dark locations, at night, in a blur with high speed so that you would miss how funny looking the creatures or sets actually were. In 2016 the CGI effects are so advanced that you can never tell what is real and what is not.. So one would expect to actually see the grand visuals that we only used to dream of while watching the fantasy illustrations of comic books and novels. Well, keep dreaming! Besides LOTR, Avatar, Sunshine and maybe a couple more (not Star-Wars for sure!) I have never witnessed scenes that were true to the vision in our minds and made us feel «awe».  You have movies that spend millions of $$ and I am sure a lot of talent is involved in the creation of sets, costumes, CGI, 3D models,etc but the actual result is mediocre to say the least.

With UltraHD visuals, designs and effects of space ships and alien planets at your disposal and all you finally get to see is an Ultra closeup to the eyelashes of heroins and the possible wrinkles of the actors skins.. No panoramic views to admire, no view of the sets (more than 1,5″),  no wide angle view of the battle.. only macro, ultra-closeups that someone must have told them they are super cool and they should use them ALL of the time.

And to add another layer of torture you get the «action scenes», were the camera spins constantly 360 degrees in every direction (out of control) and with the zoom at maximum so that they make sure you cannot actually see anything… This new trend in action movies is the stuff that makes me actually start to HATE this type of movies!! Action movies and scenes used to be fun to watch, were memorable and actually made an impression! Who can forget the chase on Bullitt (1968), the Bus scenes on Speed (1994), the foot chase scene on The Enforcer (1976), the fight scenes on The Bourne Identity (2002) ? (the list can go on for a while..) What I remember from last night’s action scenes of this movie?? Not a single thing.

Star Trek Beyond 6.5 /10

(I really hope a better director comes along..)