stranger things, season one
music friday: ralph j. gleason and me

by request: star trek beyond (justin lin, 2016)

I asked my wife if she’d like to go to the theater to see Don’t Breathe, and her response was that I hadn’t even taken her to see the new Star Trek movie yet. So off we went to see a movie I would likely never see on my own.

Of course, one of the best things about having a request line is precisely that I’ll see movies outside of my comfort zone. In this case, that is a poor choice of words, for Star Trek Beyond is in the comfort zone of its audience before it is anything else. I am neither a fan nor a hater ... I never watched any of the various series beyond a scattered episode here or there, and have only seen a couple of Star Trek movies. I’ve always been a little jealous of the fans who have such a deep catalog to revisit, but nonetheless I’ve never become a fan.

Still, it’s impossible to have lived through the entire Star Trek run without being aware the basics, which is why even for a non-fan, Star Trek Beyond is comforting. As far as I could tell, the characters are the same characters they have always been, and the dialogue reflects this. Bones and Spock spar verbally, and spar some more, the crew is diverse without being particularly deep (the big deal here is when we find out Sulu is gay, but it is such an innocuous reveal that you might miss it if you weren’t looking for it). There’s action, and dialogue that passes for snappy. Hardcore fans can probably list the various ways this movie is different from the others, but I doubt there’s too much to say about that topic. In this, they are rather like James Bond movies ... some are better than others, but they all follow a template.

The people in the theater seemed happy enough, laughing at the familiar dialogue, clapping at the end of the movie. Perhaps they were moved. There was a brief shot near the end of a photo of the original actors, and it was a clear attempt to bring a tear or two to the eyes of the fans. Me, my favorite parts came when they somehow managed to work Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys into the mix. Simon Pegg not only played Scotty (“played Scotty” being sufficient to explain everything about the character), but co-wrote the script, and I’ll be damned if I can see any of Pegg in the finished product. I can say that I’d rather re-watch Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz than return to ST: Beyond.

So file Star Trek Beyond under “Not for Steven” and leave it at that. 6/10.

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