Anton Yelchin

Star Trek Beyond: Spoiler-Filled Review

For those who don’t know, I’m The Star Trek Dude on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also recently begun my Trek Watch in which I am reviewing literally every official episode and movie of Star Trek including The Animated Series. Even though my plan is to do this in order (TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and Enterprise with the movies interspersed as they happen), I thought I would take this opportunity to review Star Trek Beyond while it’s fresh in my mind. The review below is from my Trek Watch site, so please check out the rest of my reviews that are ongoing at TheStarTrekDude.com. You can find the original Start Trek Beyond review article here: thestartrekdude.com/star-trek-beyond

Stardate: 2263.02
Year: 2263
Written by: Simon Pegg & Doug Jung
Direct by: Justin Lin

This review, like all on this site unless noted otherwise, will contain spoilers but since the movie just came out, I wanted to warn you.

My Trek Watch is being shifted a bit in honor of Star Trek Beyond which opened in theaters today. Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the Kelvin Timeline (previously dubbed JJ-verse by many, myself included) and the 13th film of the franchise. The movie was co-written by self-proclaimed Trekkie and Trek actor, Simon Pegg and directed by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin, another self-proclaimed Trekkie. The film stars the returning cast which includes Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban (Bones), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov). We are joined by two newcomers in the main villain played by Idris Elba (Krall) and a new protagonist played by Sofia Boutella (Jaylah). You might remember Sofia Boutella from Kingsmen, as she plays Samuel L. Jackson’s #2, the woman with the blade legs.

Star Trek Beyond - Posters Small

Alright, let’s talk about the film. Star Trek Beyond takes place just about 3 years into the Enterprise’s Five Year Mission. This might even be a bit of a nod to The Original Series, since it was canceled around the time this movie would have taken place. I love the way the movie begins. We are shown a Captain Kirk who is bored, tired, and disenchanted by the chair. He even makes an inside-joke about things feeling episodic. I laughed. What I liked about this was the parallels to Captain Pike of the Prime Timeline in “The Cage”. Both characters had lost their sense of adventure and drive for exploration. They had lost themselves a bit and didn’t know what their next step would be. Both even thought about leaving the Enterprise.

In the meantime, we had Spock’s interesting arc of conflict dating back to the 2009 film. He is constantly struggling with his duties to Starfleet and his duties to the Vulcan people in the aftermath of Nero. In a truly touching tribute to Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime), Spock learns that the Ambassador has died. This is an incredibly complex situation. What does it feel like if a version of yourself dies? How can one know?

Things don’t stay dark the whole time, though. In fact, I found that the film brought a sense of light and brightness to the franchise we had not seen since Star Trek: Insurrection. I found that this movie enjoyed the spirit of The Original Series but did so in the 21st century when movies are more fast paced and action packed.

The overall plot is solid. I also really liked the origin of Krall, even if some critics claim they caught on immediately. I did not. I found Krall to be a menacing character as well. He is powerful, intelligent, and dedicated to his cause. The characters have fun and/or important arcs that are all more or less resolved by the end of the film. Again, Chekov has the least going on but he did get more screen time than Into Darkness. Jaylah was a nice breath of fresh air too. Her speaking style, visual appearance, and attitude made the movie more enjoyable and brought a sense of wonder with her.

Star Trek Beyond - Krall

The character relationships are the best part of this movie from a story perspective. Bones and Spock have some wonderful moments both humorous and serious in nature. When Spock is close to death, it is their respect and friendship that keeps them going. Since 1966, we’ve watch Bones and Spock trade barbs. McCoy would throw a “green blooded” insult and Spock would reply with something intellectual yet sarcastic. What some don’t realize is that they were true friends with deep respect for one another. Beyond showed this better than any film before it and I loved every second. Seeing the characters paired up differently was also fun. We had Kirk and Chekov, Uhura and Sulu, Scotty and Jaylah, and Bones and Spock as I mentioned.

Spock Jaylah and Bones

What sold this movie to me, as a Trekkie, is its understanding of the franchise and canon. While the 2009 film obviously referenced the Prime Timeline it didn’t add anything outside of Spock Prime. At the same token, Into Darkness ignored the Prime timeline all together with the exception of Khan’s existence. Star Trek Beyond does exactly the opposite throughout the film. First, we have all of the Star Trek: Enterprise references like the Xindi and Romulan Wars, MACOs, and the formation of the Federation. We even got a glimpse of that era’s uniforms and the USS Franklin is clearly based on the NX-01 Enterprise design from the TV show, even if it’s different. But that’s not where it ended. We got references in basic dialogue like Chekov’s tale pertaining to the origins of Scotch, straight from TOS. Kirk even makes a statement about “absent friends” in his toast toward the end of the film. The birthday references are there too. These were echos of The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock but in a different light for different incarnations.

The resolution for the film is fun, for me at least, but flimsy at best. I saw some similarities to how the Borg were handled at times during Voyager with the whole disrupt communication concept and I can appreciate all of the ships in the swarm functioning that way but I don’t understand why they blew up anymore than I understood it in the Voyager episode “The Swarm” when those ships exploded due to a phaser feedback… but at least that was an actual weapon. But, as I said, the scene and music is fun, so I’m going to let it slide because Trek has done worse before and it’s my only serious gripe for the film.

USS Franklin

Finally, we had the major tribute to Nimoy. Quinto’s Spock is looking through a box of items from Spock Prime. He then pulls out a small case where a photo slides out. I expected just a picture of Nimoy as Spock, maybe young, maybe old but just something to say goodbye one last time. We got so much more. We got the iconic photo of the original crew, similar to the one below. We got to see the Kelvin Timeline not only honor Nimoy in his passing but honor his Spock, his Kirk, his Enterprise, and his crew. It was a picture I never expected to see in new Trek and an acknowledgement of the franchise’s history that was perfectly deserving on its 50th year.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Crew

In the credits, we got a final goodbye to Nimoy and the film’s dedication to Anton Yelchin. While Nimoy’s loss was a major one for many in the Trek community and beyond, Yelchin’s was shocking and painful. He was so young and his presence will be missed in everything he could have been a part of. I fully support Abrams’ and the studio’s decision not to recast Chekov.

To end on a positive note, Star Trek Beyond was a fantastic birthday present to a franchise half a century old that has hit every corner of this globe. It captures the spirit of The Original Series while pushing forward in its own right, respecting the franchise every step of the way. I loved it and can’t wait to see what’s in store for Star Trek 4 and the upcoming TV series on CBS.

May you all live long and prosper.

For more of my thoughts on the film, catch the Screen Heroes podcast episode #31 with a live broadcast Tuesday, July 26th at 8PM CST at twitch.tv\griddaily or listen to the recorded episode at griddaily.com

If you have thoughts or are interested in more, go to TheStarTrekDude.com!

Star Trek Beyond: Spoiler-Filled Review

Green Room: Patrick Stewart Q&A

Green Room is a new film starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men), Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later, V for Vendetta), Alia Shawkat (Three Kings, Whip It), and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness). The film was written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Septien,Hamilton).

Here’s the official synopsis of the film:

“Green Room is a brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band.

Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, rundown club deep in the backwoods of Oregon.  What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see.  Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise.  But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.

Intense, emotional, and ingeniously twisted, Green Room is genre filmmaking at its best and most original. Saulnier continues to build his reputation as one of the most exciting and distinctive directors working today, with a movie that’s completely different from his previous, highly acclaimed Blue Ruin, but which is just as risk-taking and even more full of twists. The entire cast deliver first-rate performances, but Patrick Stewart gives a transforming and brilliantly devious turn as Darcy—elegant yet lethal, droll yet terrifying, Stewart makes the film simply unforgettable.”

Catch the official RED BAND trailer below followed by a Q&A with Patrick Stewart.

Green Room Q&A WITH ACTOR PATRICK STEWART

GREEN ROOM: Patrick Stewart

How did you first get involved in GREEN ROOM and what made you interested in doing it? 

A script arrived with the usual offer, plus a DVD of Jeremy’s first film Blue Ruin. I knew nothing about the story when I started to read Green Room but was at once interested, amused and touched by the situation of the punk band The Ain’t Rights.

The drama and horror that followed their rural gig was unexpected and shocking. Quickly turning pages my discomfort grew (I was alone in my rather remote house in the English countryside) and I was compelled to lay the script aside and pour a large scotch and soda. I didn’t think I could finish the script without it.

I was fascinated by the character of Darcy, so calm, so unruffled, so merciless. The next night I watched Blue Ruin and went through exactly the same experience as the previous evening. Beautiful and terrifying movie.

Was it appealing to play the villain in a movie? 

I don’t think in terms of “villain,” “hero,” and all that–but Darcy certainly wasn’t Jean-Luc Picard or Professor Xavier. I was intrigued by him and that’s enough.

Can you talk about the experience of working with Jeremy?  He is clearly rooted in genre filmmaking but also consistently works with great actors who give terrific performance in his films…what makes him an exciting filmmaker to collaborate with?   

Working with Jeremy was great. As writer he is so close to the work and he understands the genre marvelously.

How did you flesh out the character of Darcy?  Did you do research, discuss a backstory, etc.? 

I did research on the white supremacist movement in the USA and was surprised to find that its heartland is the Pacific Northwest.

Can you talk about your experience working with the other actors in the film?

I had never worked with any of these actors previously and I was immediately struck by their focus and commitment to the subject and story. Darcy is a very detached character and it worked well for me to keep my distance from the others except for Darcy’s closest “associates.” I had loved Macon Blair’s work in Blue Ruin and we became a brutal partnership.

Were there any outside performances, characters, or films that specifically influenced your work in Green Room?  

Yes, John Boorman’s brilliant movie, Deliverance. Same theme. Naive innocents as victims of people with whom you cannot reason.

Green Room Poster

Green Room is in theaters now!

Green Room: Patrick Stewart Q&A