Stixen Stones Reviews Star Trek Beyond

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Stixen Stones’ Spoiler-Free Review

Do you enjoy carbon copy Star Trek films? Probably not, but that’s okay! Because if you like Chris Pine’s eyebrows, Spock’s constant existential crisis and crying because Anton Yelchin was just too pure for this world- then this film is definitely for you!

Warning! Spoilers Materialize Below this Point

Me: Impressions going in vs. coming out?

Stixen: Going in, I think I was expecting a recycle of the same Star Trek film we’ve been seeing over the last few years. Coming out, I didn’t feel much different, unfortunately.

Me: The third installment definitely revealed some repetitive plot points. It felt like the action followed the exact same course, in the same way, and I wasn’t surprised a single time. I wasn’t even worried about the safety of the main characters. There were some good moments, especially towards the beginning of the film, but we’d lost that by the end.

Stixen: It didn’t really add anything new or exciting to the franchise. It was all pretty expected. Even the plot twist at the end was fairly unoriginal. It’s a shame, considering the Star Trek franchise is known for its strong themes of diversity and acceptance. In a time like this, we could use a Star Trek film with an important message. But this one missed the mark on that front.

Me: That was especially disappointing after the strong theme (anti retaliatory violence) from the last film. This film’s theme made no sense. They tried to make it about identity and soldiers, but Kirk has never been a soldier, which was kind of the point of the last film, and the villain was entirely unsympathetic or understandable.

Stixen: The villain felt similar to every villain in the Star Trek film franchise. He was nothing new and he felt oddly spliced together. His motivation seemed weak and as such, I wasn’t really scared to see what he would do next. It seemed obvious. That’s not to say that Idris Elba didn’t do his best. He was certainly chilling. But the actor could only do so much. The character needed work.

Me: Was it just me, or did it feel like the people who were really invested in the story (like Simon Pegg) were not allowed to really handle the full story. It felt like they were given control of the fun stuff, and their input was ‘appreciated’ for the main plot. While the themes rang true for the past two movies, this felt like a jumble of different ideas and directions that were patchily clapped together. The villain – the unifying force of the story – didn’t work. They tried to make it about identity, but then they tried to pull in identity through violence, but it was poorly thought out and presented.

Stixen: So true! The minor characters couldn’t be more one-sided. Montgomery Scott was, yet again, a bumbling and sarcastic engineer and nothing more. It’s such a shame, considering the fun cast of characters that we’re presented with. But again, they’re woefully underwhelming, especially with a poor plot line like the one this film boasts.

Me: Yeah, especially since it teased so much development in the beginning: Kirk coming to understand his own identity, Spock wrestling with the question of his responsibility to Vulcan now that his get-out-of-guilt-free card has passed on…

Stixen: I could’ve forgiven the shallowness of the minor characters if Kirk and Spock had been allowed to grow more, but as it was the growth was expected. Spock and Kirk, as foreseen in the beginning, still choose the Enterprise and their crew over everything else.

Me: To be fair, I think Kirk and Spock will always choose their space-family. I think the problem is that the characters and the plot worked so well for the first film that the producers or whatever have been restricting any risky development. Unfortunately, in order to have good stories, you have to take risks. This felt like a very, very safe movie that borrowed aspects from the first two shows and a pinch of nostalgia. There were some really great moments, but they couldn’t make up for the hollow plot and restricted character development.

Stixen: Any risks were calculated ones. Which is an absolute shame. The Trek franchise should be able to grow over time and grow with its fanbase, both young and old. It should also be able to grow with the times, so it can be relevant to all of us- especially in difficult times like this. So, I think we’ve covered what we didn’t like. What parts did you enjoy?

Me: I enjoyed the beginning. I liked the thoughts about spending so long in a restricted environment with the same people for years on end. It was a promising train of thought. I also enjoyed the space city, even though it reminded me of Guardians of the Galaxy during the final fight.

Stixen: I can agree with that. The space city was pretty magical. It was a shame that they were using it merely as a plot device for later in the film. I almost would’ve rather seen the crew enjoying the city a bit. For instance, maybe seeing Spock attempting to flirt with someone in the local alien bar/nightclub or something funny like that. Better yet, I would’ve loved to see a large portion of the plotline occur there. Maybe instead of our standard alien overlord taking over the Enterprise (as per usual), I’d love to see him sneak onto the space city while the crew is docked there. And while they’re trying to navigate the new city and navigate their interpersonal relationships, he’s busy shapeshifting behind the scenes, killing people to take their identity so he can get access to the tower. That way, the crew would have to forget their differences, band together and follow the clues to stop the villain before it’s too late.

Me: That would be great! I miss the range of plots the older films had (pre-reboot). Some had barely any ship-time, and what there was didn’t focus on battles. Then others were all about space fights. They had different premises. The reboot series is getting a little insecure and clingy with its plot.

Stixen: It’s a shame because the original series had so much to pull from. They’ve created a plethora of planets, species and characters to pull from. I could forgive the new series for trying to go its own way, but they haven’t really been creating anything new. So, if they’re going to regurgitate old characters/villains and concepts, the least they could do is pick more diversely from the Trekkie archive.

Me: It’s still a fun series, though. I should clarify that. I wasn’t thrilled with this latest installment, but I liked the first one and I really liked the second.

Stixen: It’s got some amazing talent. So if they could brush up the plot in the next one, the series could really be a game changer.

Me: It’s probably my favorite reboot series ever. Not counting the ten million versions of Sherlock Holmes, of course.

Stixen: I mean, that goes without saying! But that does bring up the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is involved with both those franchises.

Me: He’s involved in every franchise now. Let’s be honest. He’s also in Middle Earth and the Marvel Universe.

Stixen: I’m sure we could probably find a way to wind all those universes up into one film. Or maybe even a TV series. Too bad there’s no franchise out there about time traveling witty British men.

Official Heel Rating:

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And I’d give it 2 1/2 heels. Not much to shake a stick at, but a fun summer flick that you’ll probably forget you saw after you left the theater.


M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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