The debut of Star Trek Beyond, the long awaited third film in the Abrams-Trek timeline is just a few days away, and the final trailer is out. It looks like non-stop action, from the trailer, and probably not as cerebral a Star Trek story as we’re all used to, but it still looks like it’s going to be worth the ticket price.
Of particular note are a few new shots that help define the enemy the crew of the Enterprise faces in this new mission. The little attack drones that we have seen ripping the ship apart in previous trailers now look like the tidal wave they really are, with the Enterprise “shooting the curl” as it attempts to escape.
We also get to see just how agile and effective a fighter Sofia Boutella is. She played that sword-legged double-amputee mercenary in Kingsman: The Secret Service, and she plays the alien queen Jaylah in this new Trek film. She creates such a center of interest in these trailers that you can’t help but want to see the movie, if for no other reason than to find out just who the heck Queen Jaylah is.
The effects, of course, are cutting edge, as we have come to expect from all modern sci-fi / fantasy films. The crew of the Enterprise faces an enemy unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and how they deal with this new threat will test the resourcefulness of the best starship crew in the galaxy.
Along with all this wonderful stuff going on with Star Trek Beyond, though, comes some baggage.
Star Trek Beyond looks like it’s being sold to the Fast & Furious crowd and not fans of the genre in particular, and the new J.J. Abrams series of films appear to have less to do with Trek than any of the preceding films. Chris Pine, who plays Captain James T. Kirk in this alternate timeline version of the venerated franchise, interviewed with SFX, Britain’s premiere science fiction fandom magazine, and said this about how Trek fits into modern sensibilities:
You can’t make a cerebral Star Trek in 2016. It just wouldn’t work in today’s marketplace. You can hide things in there – Star Trek Into Darkness has crazy, really demanding questions and themes, but you have to hide it under the guise of wham-bam explosions and planets blowing up. It’s very, very tricky. The question that our movie poses is “Does the Federation mean anything?” And in a world where everybody’s trying to kill one another all of the time, that’s an important thing. Is working together important? Should we all go our separate ways? Does being united against something mean anything?”
We think Chris Pine has been spending too much time listening to Paramount’s marketing people, and not enough time looking at the Star Trek phenomenon itself. The fact that fan shows like Axanar, Renegades, Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Horizon and Star Trek II: Der Anfang vom Ende have real traction in the Trek fandom community suggests that while the marketing drones think you can’t tell a real Star Trek story and get moviegoers interested in it, this isn’t the case. What is does suggest is that Paramount and CBS are intentionally trying to kill this aspect of Star Trek by destroying the grassroots efforts to keep it alive.
The folks who put their hearts and souls into making this new Star Trek movie deserve our attention, and our theater ticket dollars. You can’t make a movie like this without understanding at least some of what Trek is all about. Whether nonstop action and dirt bike stunts fit well in this universe is for you to judge.