There’s a certain poetic nature to this. My personal journey toward Star Trek Beyond began with Star Wars: The Force Awakens some seven months ago, and on the day that I saw Beyond, it was announced filming has wrapped on Episode VIII. The circle continues.
This is also a film tinged with sadness. It’s the first Star Trek film since the passing of Leonard Nimoy in 2015, and the last time we’ll see Anton Yelchin as Chekov, as he was taken from us far too early in a tragic accident.
Does the film pay due deference and respect to the Star Trek saga, in a fashion that does all involved and those lost credit? With 2016 marking the 50th anniversary of this adventure, can Beyond, as part of a reboot maligned in some quarters, do justice to the Star Trek legacy?
In my humble opinion, it succeeds. We are given a story that manages to be both sweeping and intimate at the same time. It offers links to other elements of Star Trek in subtle ways, and gives us little insights into the hearts and minds of these characters. It is difficult to do so properly in a two hour movie, but we experience the weariness of a crew that has spent three years in deep space, and when their backs are against the wall, we see what the characters are made of. We see how a crew is defined not by the ship, but by each other. Their faith in one another, and their willingness to sacrifice for each other, is what makes a crew a family, and every character is prepared to make that sacrifice.
It’s also a voyage of rediscovery. Kirk and Spock in particular have their reasons for feeling tired and jaded, but they find their passion for what they rekindled by their experiences of the film.
I’m sure not everyone will like it, and I might even attract criticism for daring to say this, but Star Trek Beyond is a better film than The Force Awakens, and I dare say is one of the best Star Trek films. I rate it 9/10.