When Justin Lin of Fast & Furious fame took over the helm for Star Trek from the director of the previous two installments, J. J Abrams, a product with tightly packed action sequences was expected. And Star Trek Beyond, the latest installment of the rebooted franchise, does not disappoint, or at least not in that quarter.
In Star Trek Beyond we are thrown into the middle of the action right from the start. There is a sense of urgency pervading the 2-hour-long movie, in spite of the action getting confusing at times.
But that is something which has also come to be one of the major hurdles for the film to be considered a commercial success, in spite of the positive reviews that it has garnered so far. This seems to be a problem the series struggles with.
With a projected budget of $185 million, the film has gathered $127,901,364 as of last Sunday. Its earnings fell by 58% on the third week where it earned $10.2 million.
As Samuel Mendelson, a film industry analyst with Forbes, pointed out, with the extravagant budget, the franchise needs to come to a place where a $150 million domestic and $300 million worldwide total for a Star Trek movie can be considered profitable.
He goes on to elaborate that the problem with the new movie is the special focus given to the action sequences, something which is often unnecessary considering the fact that fans don’t watch a movie for its action when there are other points of relevance, especially in a Star Trek movie.
A good example to illustrate this would be Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The first movie of the series released in 1979 was a commercial success, but had cut a big hole in the studio pockets and received negative reviews.
The next movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, reduced the budget and became one of the most critical movies of the franchise.
Keeping in line with the emotional relevance of the series, Tasha Robinson writes in The Verge that the rebooted Star Trek series scores where others do not, in not losing focus of the bigger picture.
With the majority of the series at present, the linear development is often lost with new creative teams and directors helming later installments of an ongoing series.
She says that it is not that the Star Trek movies are getting better with each new movie, as the series does have consistent problems with logic in addition to underwhelming villains. What shines out is the character development, especially of the protagonist Captain James T. Kirk.
Absent in the new series is Lieutenant Carol Marcus, Kirk’s lover, played by Alice Eve in Star Trek Into Darkness. Scriptwriter Simon Pegg (Scotty in the film) explained that this was done to prevent her from feeling that she did not have much screen time.
This seems to be a wise decision, considering the furor caused by Marcus stripping down to her underwear for no apparent reason in the last sequel.
Apparently, in one of the initial drafts of the latest movie, the scriptwriters did think of mentioning her absence, but that didn’t make it to the final cut.
The idea that the villain of the new movie, Krall, played by Idris Elba, is a waste, seems to be a common belief with the critics.
As is the revelation of Hikaru Sulu, now played by John Cho, being gay. While this was supposed to be an homage to George Takei, who is also an LGBT activist, nobody is impressed.