What is new is now old. That is the beginning premise of the third Star Trek film. Our new reboot crew is feeling the effects of being in space for three and half years. Roughly the same amount of time the original crew had when their TV show got canceled. We find Kirk is bored with being Captain. He tries to offer a piece of an old weapon to a new race to foster peace with another race. It doesn’t go well. This plus he has a birthday coming and like Buffy Summers, nothing good comes from that. We get a nice scene with him and Bones talking how Kirk joined Starfleet on a dare instead of believing in it like his father or even his William Shatner version. I guess it makes sense. We see that life is fairly normal on the ship, but they are headed to a new starbase called Yorktown for some rest, relaxation and rethinking.
The Yorktown is worth going to the film. It is a beautiful special effect of the human imagination. Built inside an oxygen rich dome, we see human life going on. The very dream of Roddenberry’s future is given new life in this amazing scene. Spock received devastating news from Vulcan High Command that Ambassador Spock is dead. Leonard Nimoy’s real life death finds its way into the film for good reason. It makes Spock question if he should stay in Starfleet or repopulate his species. In determining that decision, he breaks it off with Uhura, but she gets to keep a necklace from Spock’s mom which is important later. Kirk even takes a meeting to be Vice-Admiral of the Yorktown. Before, he can take it a mysterious ship appears from the equally mysterious nebula that the Yorktown parked next to. A female alien says her crew is stranded on a planet inside the nebula. The Enterprise is the only ship in the area to handle this problem, of course it is, of course it is.
The Enterprise heads off into more of an asteroid field than a nebula. When it arrives at the planet, it is attacked by a swarm of tiny ships that seem to know the weakness of the Enterprise pretty well. We get a really exciting action piece of the ships ramming into the Enterprise and opening up to reveal an invading party. The invasion of the Enterprise is a bit too shaky and dark for my liking. However, all the principals from McCoy to Scotty to Uhura get heroic moments. Our new villain is called Krall and he wants the weapon thing Kirk was trying to give away earlier. The crew is separated with McCoy and Spock taking one of the enemy ships after being told to evacuate the ship. Uhura and Sulu are taken when they help Kirk separate the saucer section. Scotty is able to Ipod his escape pod away from the ships that are taking the pods for captives. Kirk, Chekov and the alien woman escape pod out as well when the ship crashes.
Here the movie does a nice job of developing these characters further. Scotty becomes a friend to an alien indigenous to the world named Jaylah. Jaylah could be seen as Rey from Star Wars. We get mysterious stuff from her, but she is not another Kirk kid or something. Instead Jaylah has been hanging out on the NX-350, Franklin. One of the early Starfleet vessels that crashed there. The Franklin was thought lost by Captain Eidson. Kirk and Chekov try to use the broken Enterprise to find the rest of the crew. When they go to the Enterprise, they discover our new alien friend is a traitor. After flipping the Enterprise’s hull over, we get rid of her and any chance to find the rest of the crew.
Probably the best pairing is Spock and McCoy. Urban brings it all as McCoy and Quinto matches it. They both embody the characters and both feel the weight of those who made those character. When Quinto tells McCoy about the death of Ambassador Spock, there is a single tear. I feel that we see Quinto in that moment and maybe in a bizarre way, the character of Spock himself mourning that loss. Spock being injured and possibly delirious helps to explain his emotional outbursts. Enough cannot be said for the team up of these two as they help carry a part of the movie that can get boring.
Speaking of boring. The villain. I love Idris Elba. Love Luthor. Love him in the Thor films. I am all in day one if he wants to be Bond or Doctor Who. Here, he is missed used. Krall is not a one note villain, he in his mind is justified in wanting to destroy the Federation. However, we needed more of that why and maybe even a bit of regret and redemption about it. The big reveal is he was Edison. His crew was stranded and found a machine that could prolong life. To do that, you need to sacrifice other lives. Thus, he and his crew enslaved Jayhal’s people and also stole their mining ships. Now, how he turns mining ships into indestructible boarding party ships is never explained. What is explained is all of the ships attack as one unit at a certain frequency.
Eventually, Scotty and Jayhal find Chekov and Kirk who then beam Spock and McCoy aboard. So, we get most of the band back together. Jayhal doesn’t want to help, because the last time she was there, Kral”s man, Mason, killed her father. Scotty explains that together they can do this. Which is the big them of this movie and Star Trek. IDIC. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination. The true vision of Star Trek, that we are all in this together and the only way out is together. A bumper stick you did not see at the GOP 2016 Convention. It is actually great to have that be the theme of this film with everything that is going on in the world.
The rescue mission involves using Jayhal’s holo projections that can make doubles of herself as well as hide the Franklin. It also has the motorcycle that we have been dreading in the trailer. Yeah, its cheesy, but it somehow works for the rescue of the lost Enterprise crew. Jayhal kills Mason while Krall is able to get the piece he needs to build a weapon that consumes all life. Krall takes his fleet to the Yorktown. In a tense scene, the crew gets the Franklin to fly one last time. As they head off, Krall attacks the Yorktown. Spock is able to decode the Krall’s ship in either an eye rolling or genius move, the crew plays the Beastie’s Sabotage on a radio frequency to destroy the ships. Of course, Krall escapes and enters the Yorktown. There is a great scene where the Franklin comes up from the river in the Yorktown to destroy Krall’s ship. He even survives that. He is part Terminator at this point.
There is usually a big punch fight in some Star Trek movies usually in the bad ones and here is no different. Kirk has to stop Krall from injecting the bio-weapon into the environmental controls. Kirk stops Krall, Spock and McCoy save Kirk and all is right with the universe. Kirk wants to be the captain again. Jayhal is accepted to Starfleet Academy and…ok..I know I have spoilers in the subject title, but this is is pretty big….still with me. Alright. When Spock goes through Ambassador Spock’s things, we see a picture of the original crew from Star Trek VI. Probably one of the last pictures of that crew together. It broke me. After seeing that Spock decides to get back with Uhura. We also get the Enterprise-A and the start of new missions. However, we will be doing it without Chekov. Anton’s passing is mentioned at the end credits with Leonard Nimoy’s memorial. All tastefully done.
I can rip the movie for the dark shaky cam during the big fights especially the invasion of the Enterprise. I can tear it apart for destroying the Enterprise way too early for this point in the franchise. I can also shake my head for the next Star Trek film in a row with having Starfleet as the bad guys. All of that doesn’t matter, because this felt like a Star Trek film. Probably more so than most of the Next Generation movies. It was an original story. It had new aliens. It had science that sparked the imagination. It also had Kirk and crew. It has taken three films, ok Urban, Anton and Pegg nailed their characters day one. Quinto, Zoe and Cho it took Into Darkness. Now, I feel Pine is Kirk. They are the crew of the Enterprise even without the Enterprise. That seems to be another theme the movie is going for, is the Enterprise is important, but their crew is more important. Which was totally missing from Into Darkness. If this was the second movie and they didn’t destroy the Enterprise. It would feel more like what we wanted when they decided to reboot this thing.
I chided X-Men:Apocalypse for rebooting their Universe and then totally ignoring it to play around with the younger cast for really no reason. Here, the reboot makes sense to tell this story. It feels like a story that Kirk and company would go through. Like those Lost Tales books between the show being canned in the 1960s and the Motion Picture. I do think the idea of destroying the Enterprise is both a nod to Star Trek III and the fact that in season 3, the show was canned the Enterprise gets refitted only to become the Enterprise-A. I guess I can live with that. I just hope its not a reoccurring thing.
If you are a fan of Enterprise the series, you got a ton of love in this movie. The hero ship is an NX style. There is mention of the MACO which were the marines during that time. We even have a Xindi shout out. Ridiculous, a show that is viewed so low by the fans gets this much screen time more than TNG is getting. There is even a Voyager reference to a Commodore Paris. Where is young cadet Picard? Oh, he is not born. Crap.
I thought they would bring up Ambassador Spock dying as a side thing, acknowledging and moving on. Instead, they ran with it. It is obvious this crew enjoyed working with Leonard Nimoy. He was the one that came off the bench to justify the reboot. He had great scenes with Pine and Quinto and from what you hear was there for the rest of the crew to help them along the way. The older crew did that too behind the scenes, but it was Nimoy who was there to even take hits for them. He is as much as their universe as he was the original universe that Trek fans know and love. By making his death, a big deal makes the final reveal of the original crew photo all that emotional, you feel that love and pain. Next to Spock’s death in Wrath of Khan, this might be the most emotional moment in all of the Trek films. Probably more so in the years to come, because there is no way to bring him back. Again, I do hope they plan something emotional for Star Trek IV for Anton. He deserves that much love and respect for playing Chekov with grace and charm.
This film is good. Not Star Trek good which depending on who you ask it has multiple meanings. Its good in that is enjoyable, has a positive message and you get a heartbreaking scene. I highly recommend this film even to the nit pickers out there, because the characters are on point. The most important part of Star Trek is the characters. If you don’t care about the characters then it doesn’t matter how you film a shot or how well you write dialogue or how layered your plots are, you need to care about those characters. It is probably the first time, in this reboot you care about the characters and they pop off the screen. It does help the script is good and when we get interactions with the crew, it feels like Spock and McCoy not Quinto and Urban. I also like the addition of Jayhal to the crew. If you are going to change things around, go all the way. I just hope in the next film even though its time travel, we get something more tangible to that universe. I know people talk about the Borg in the film, but what about Q? Who knows, because it feels like anything can happen which is great for Star Trek.