Beyond The Federation, There Lies An Okay Adventure


            Space, the final frontier, a line that continues to repeat over the years in one of the most popular science fiction movies to grace entertainment. Less than a decade ago, J.J. Abrams decided to reset the series and open up a new universe in the Star Trek universe that led to a lot of controversy. This weekend the third installment of this series has warped into our theaters this weekend and I assembled a crew to journey into the unknown and report our findings, (aka a review). So bold up, get set, and read up on my review of Star Trek Beyond.



  • A true Star Trek adventure
  • Beautiful special effects
  • Comedy that kills
  • Great acting


As mentioned by a few fans, Beyond drops back from the federation centered tales and returns back to exploring the unknown. Beyond goes into the exploration of nebulae, running from CGI crafted natives, and facing technological warfare that always seems to be deadly to extras. As Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew are forced into the seemingly abandoned world, you get pulled into the nostalgic voyages made famous all those years. While some of the wild live and environmental hazards are a bit lacking, this adventure focuses on what the crew must do to complete their mission with the most members possible. Just like the Star Trek episodes of yore.

How this adventure is brought to life, is by the special effects department.  Abrams use of special effects is top of the line, blending live pyrotechnics with computer generated magic. All of the space stations, starships, and stunt work are incredibly animated, flowing into sequences that are somewhat exciting and worthy of the silver screen. The alien world as well holds the same magic, and feels like a Star Trek landscape, albeit a little more simplified and unimaginative than some of the other places we have visited. Regardless the special effects will certainly be the wow factor to the audience members and will help break up some of the mundane parts of the movie.

My friends and I agreed though that the most entertaining feature was the comedy in this movie. Kirk gets a few laughs in here, but Pine’s character takes a more serious role in this installment, but his well timed snipes got a chuckle from the audience. Scotty the ever angry/irritated engineer still brings the laughs with his irate venting rants and Simon Pegg’s delivery to maximize the enjoyment factor. But it is the dynamic duo of Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) that really had me in stitches. Spock’s neutral stating of the obvious and his failures in love provide enough ammunition for the good doctor to bash with it. The constant bickering between the two continues to evolve which leads to great character development and dialogue that continues to remain funny throughout the two hours. As I mentioned, none of this would have been possible without the insane acting abilities and fantastic deliveries of our acting cast.


  • The lack of danger/challenge
  • An almost pointless plot device

It was somewhat hard to find faults in this movie for me, but one thing was the lack of challenge our heroes faced in this movie. Think about the Star Trek saga, our crew gets pulled into some crazy situation and it takes every ounce of energy to penetrate, attack, or defend their target. In this movie, both enemy and hero had too easy a time accomplishing their goals. Our crew snuck into places without much resistance, and even when their presence was known the confrontation was a little too one sided and quite poorly executed. Therefore the movie was a little on the boring side for me at times, or at least dull to say the least. It was missing the adrenaline rush and suspense of the second movie, which must have been traded in order to achieve the adventure part of the movie. Even newcomer Jaylah was a bit lackluster, with her combat stances and speeches more impressive than the skills she displayed. And despite the visual effects, the blaster fire was colorful, but seemingly pointless in the ship-to-ship battles. Oh well, number four may be able to correct this…if there is a number four.

In terms of the plot, the movie is pretty sound and focuses a lot on character development than anything else. Don’t get me wrong…this is a good thing, but I was still hoping to have a bit more in terms of action/suspense balance to keep me engaged in the tale. Krall’s (Idris Elba) goal in this movie was almost pointless, his path to revenge centering on a trinket that almost pointless in the grand scheme of things. There was little strategy, and again struggle, to implementing this device and as such I found the central plot of this movie a tad daunting.



Nevertheless despite these weaknesses, Beyond’s delivery is solid. The visual effects craft a wonderful world for our crew to explore and the cast certainly looks the part on all fronts. The biggest strength is certainly the actors bringing characters that we love to an even deeper self, and the comedic punch many provide gives you the laughs. However, I don’t think this one reached the level that Into the Darkness did, especially in terms of excitement and suspense. This reviewer though has to recommend a visit to the theater for this one though, and was the best of the three I saw.

My scores:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5

Another Fine Tale by Disney


The Finest Hours, yet another heroic tale about individuals who defy the limits of nature to pull off miracles. Disney certainly enjoys capitalizing on these tales in the early seasons don’t they? Chis Pine leads the cast in this story about a small band of coast guards ordered to brave a massive storm to rescue a crew onboard a capsizing tanker. Can this inspirational drama stand out from the sea of other similar tales, or has Disney just pumped out another feat of mediocrity in an effort to obtain money? Let’s analyze shall we?


When it comes to a drama like this an engaging tale is required as the backbone of the movie. Fortunately the Finest Hours manages to accomplish this by taking a straightforward plot and presenting it in fantastic way. The film follows the whole incident from three different perspectives that intertwine across the full two hours. This dynamic approach gave you the full picture and continued to spice things up as they illustrated the dangers faced on all fronts. As such, there is sure to be some part of the tale that audiences will enjoy that will bait your attention in this straightforward tale. Unfortunately, the tale is very predictable and lacked suspense for me, especially knowing the outcome thanks to the trailers with only the ambiguity of who would survive the ordeal. At least the love component is not to mushy to become cheesy and annoying so that’s an added benefit.


Let’s jump to the acting now. Chris Pine grabs the part by the horns and takes it full throttle. His portrayal of Bernie Webber was a nice balance between bravery and hesitation as he tackles the challenges before him. While his accent is funny to hear at first, it eventually grows on you and adds some endearment to the character. Holliday Grainger’s portrayal of Miriam was okay, a nice portrayal of a strong, brave woman whose verbal and non-verbal acting brought the courageous nature of this woman to life. However, the trailers made her out to be more involved with the process and I was disappointed with her limited interactions in the film. But best actor in this film goes to Casey Affleck, who played the deepest role of the bunch as the chief engineer. The emotions to which he had to balance were challenging, but I feel Affleck kept the character grounded and realistic on all fronts, thereby making his feats all the more impressive. All the other actors hit their mark well, but there are too many to cast in such a short amount of space.


Perhaps the strongest quality of the movie though is the cinematic magic and special effects that brought the true suspense. The Finest Hours’ computer animation is on point, with the deadly snow storm brought to life with high-definition details and incredible sound editing. I was brought into the storm, feeling the misery and despair the foreboding nor’easter brought to our sailors as the fury of the sea was unleashed. In the belly of the tanker, the chaos of sinking ship was brilliantly recreated that didn’t involve the over use of pyrotechnics and explosions (take a hint Michael Bay). Special effects aside the cinematography was a key aspect in bringing the emotions to the scenes. Our cast of characters do a nice job delivering their lines, but it’s the nonverbal acting that really delivers the punch. The camerawork is stable through and through (again pay attention Bay) and captures all the detail despite the aggressive winds and waves. And the symphony soundtrack only adds an extra kick to subtly make the scenes complete.


The Finest Hours is certainly not the most original, or unique movie from Disney’s collective vault. However, while it is not the most entertaining tale, it does highlight the important qualities of faith, duty, honor, and a slew of other morals that people harp on. The visual effects of this studio are certainly the highlight of this movie, which may be further enhanced by a 3-D showing. Overall, I’m satisfied with the work Disney studios did and feel this a movie most will enjoy.


My recommendations for audience members who will like it are: older generations from that time period, fans of inspirational tales, and those who appreciate good cinema magic. I also believe this movie is worth a trip to the theater, thanks to the cinematic qualities.


My scores overall:


Action/Drama/History: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0