This was my morning. I woke up to study for some finals, when a passing YouTube thumbnail made me think, “Screw finals… the new Trek trailer is up!” Could this be the one where they finally make these films allegorical? You know, have the USS Enterprise crew land on some mysterious planet, go through some culture shock and ultimately learn something about our collective humanity in the process? Might this be the film where Director Justin Lin and Producer J.J. Abrams apologize for making Khan a British guy in the last one, and making him, Spock—hell, the whole crew cry a lot? Will the third time be charm?
Nope. I guess not.
I’m not that mad, I promise. How could I be mad when The Force Awakens is so close at hand? No—I’m just disappointed. The kind of disappointed that a parent might feel towards their prodigy of a child, who they know is capable of great things, but instead wastes their life skipping class and doing drugs.
Star Trek Beyond (no colon in the title again, I guess) looks like an offbeat, fun and shiny action film with all the quips and set pieces you’d expect from The Fast and Furious, but with NONE of the identifying characteristics that make Trek… Trek.
We open to the Enterprise being attacked by little Matrix-y buzzard-looking things, getting damaged, and the crew led by Chris Pine’s charismatic Captain Kirk going down to a lush jungle planet to do some adventure stuff. Simon Pegg looks aloof as ever. Spock does some eyebrow raises. Check out the nice vista below.
All of this is goes down while “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys—Kirk’s favorite song ever—jams in the background. I guess Sulu’s playing it out of some subwoofers they installed on the bridge or something… I have no idea. My issue has been said before, sure, but why the hell do people living in the mid 2200’s give a damn about a reasonably well-liked rock/rapcore song released in the 1990’s? Let’s assume even for one second that Kirk would somehow know the song. People like classical music these days, but you wouldn’t hear marines playing a Bach prelude in their jump jet as pump-up music before deploying! I digress.
My issue is not that plot hole, nor is it any specific line of dialogue or joke that didn’t land in this teaser trailer.
My main gripe is that every explosion, judo hand-to-hand combat scene and motorcycle stunt executed (yes, there’s a motorcycle stunt in here) suggest a film that should be titled literally anything else. “Fast and Furious: Space Cruise”? “Indiana Jones and the Frontier in Space”? Hell… maybe even, “Future Adventurers in Brightly Colored Outfits”! Just not Star Trek. Having that name is like claiming you have a doctorate if you are lying and also walk, talk and act like you definitely do not have a doctorate.
One part that got me a bit more hopeful was the shot of all the Enterprise crew being escorted around like prisoners, which would suggest that they will interact with the alien culture, on the ground, for at least a while… should be Sci-Fi-esque and I want to see it. Next, I dug Idris Elba’s line, “This is where the frontier pushes back”. His costume looks pretty menacing, but more than that, the concept of the alien species resisting the crew’s mission to discover would be great if spread throughout the entire story.
Star Trek Beyond desperately wants to take place in the established universe. I mean, what studio wouldn’t want access to that gold mine. It doesn’t matter what any critic thinks of Beyond when it comes out this July, every single person seen in the picture below will go see Paramount’s new film because it has the Star Trek name on it.
Now, this is just a teaser. I haven’t seen the movie. It might be great, have some smart concepts even. I hope it does. I love these characters and this universe, so I’m rooting for it! Let’s just hope that the next trailer shows a more thoughtful movie than this one does. I’ll keep my fingers crossed… after all, trailers have been dead-wrong before! *cough* Man of Steel *cough*.