Out on digital HD today is the third of the “Abramsverse” (now Kelvin Timeline) Star Trek movies, and Beyond is the best of the three. We didn’t review it when it was released theatrically, but we decided to take today’s digital release as the opportunity to let you know to not miss Star Trek Beyond.
JJ Abrams 2009 original is still the best Star Wars movie he made, and that 2009 original is still great, but Beyond really feels like a loving tribute to the 50 year legacy of Star Trek.
Set a couple of years into the original Five Year Mission, Beyond shows us the characters as the family they’re supposed to be. There are great character moments between Bones & Kirk and Bones & Spock, which is what you expect from a Star Trek movie. The story itself, set on a remote alien planet without the Enterprise feels like the sort of story they would do in the Original Series (only with a much much bigger budget).
The story also embraces the early canon on Star Trek. Where Admiral Archer and Porthos were mentioned in the 2009 Star Trek, the story here has a direct connection to Enterprise and that era of Star Trek. The USS Franklin is a direct call back to the Warp 5 Enterprise, and there is a big twist in the movie that also harkens back to the Xindi war.
Perhaps one of the best parts of the movie is one of the most controversial. There is a scene where Sabotage is played once again in a Star Trek movie, but this time the writers have an awesome explanation for it. Just like our “classical” music is stuff from hundreds of years ago the pop music of today would be considered classical music in three hundred years. That makes the Sabotage scene one of the highlights of Star Trek Beyond.
The loss of Leonard Nimoy is handled very well in the story and ties in with Spock’s story in the movie. With Ambassador Spock dead, young Spock considers leaving Starfleet to return to New Vulcan. It takes a photo of the Original Crew (from Star Trek V) to change his mind and let him know that they’ll all grow old together. It’s a very touching tribute to that cast on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.
Most importantly, Star Trek Beyond is a lot of fun that gets the characters right. It’s the Wagon Train to the Stars that Roddenberry sold to the network fifty years ago and captures the tone of the Original Series better than either of JJ Abrams’ movies.
It didn’t do well in the box office, but Star Trek Beyond is a great Star Trek movie to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary with.