Star Trek Beyond: Extremely Positive Reviews Cite Old-School Optimism

Friday, 15 July 2016 - 4:29PM
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Star Trek Beyond
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Friday, 15 July 2016 - 4:29PM
Star Trek Beyond: Extremely Positive Reviews Cite Old-School Optimism
Yesterday's first reactions to Star Trek Beyond were very positive--suspiciously so. After an underwhelming marketing campaign, it was easy to write off those initial reactions as inflated, especially after we were burned by the early viewers of movies like Fantastic Four and Batman v Superman. But as it turns out, those first reactions were legitimate, at least to the extent that the critics all seem to agree with them.

The first responses emphasized that Beyond is a course-correction, and finally manages to recapture the spirit of the original series. According to the critics, this assessment is exactly right: 

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Throughout it all, there's a lovely reverence for the legacy of Trek... A return to fun, and a return to form for the new version of the old Trek. - Empire
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The third installment of the rebooted franchise finally recaptures the spirit of the original, and it's beyond entertaining... Star Trek Beyond is a great piece of blockbuster entertainment, the sort of reassuringly good-natured thrill ride that makes the world a happier place for a couple of hours. That this new Star Trek can recapture the sense of wonderment and hope from the original series, even after all that darkness, is a beautiful thing. - Crave Online
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The script injects a welcome strain of humor that's true to the original Gene Roddenberry creation, delivering nostalgia without stiff veneration. - THR
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"Beyond" is quite familiar, with a structure that marries modern blockbuster form to a plot outline that could easily be at home in the 1960s original series... This episode cuts right to the core of the series' original appeal, giving the terrific cast a chance to play against one another in a straightforward story. It's not exactly bold, but "Beyond" does satisfy. - The Wrap
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Star Trek is fun again... The drama never swamps the film's humour, and it combines a glossy Hollywood sense of wonder with that classic Star Trek optimism. In the uncertain world we live in, it couldn't feel more timely. - Digital Spy
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Beyond feels very much like Star Trek. While it fits smoothly with the universe J.J. started, it's lighter and funnier than Abrams' movies, with a welcome sense of adventure after Into Darkness', erm, darkness. - Games Radar
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But, that's not to say that the film is without its flaws. While Sofia Boutella's Jaylah was widely cited as a standout, critics agreed that Idris Elba's Krall is underwhelming, both because his motivations are too opaque and because Elba's natural charisma is stifled by a voice box and prosthetics. And while the film is hailed as a welcome return to form for the franchise, it plays it very safe, and was described by many critics as "fun but inessential," and in spite of the series' motto, not particularly bold. 

But on the plus side, there are reportedly wonderful tributes to both of the major Trekkies we lost in the last year--Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, the latter of whom died only a month before the film came out. And in keeping with the progressive spirit of the original series, the reveal of Sulu's homosexuality is treated with casual acceptance, as it should be.

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Home and family have always been important motifs in the Star Trek mythology, and the pleasingly unemphatic presentation here of a gay family unit is a natural, progressive extension of the inclusive universe that Roddenberry conceived. Hysterical homophobes and traditionalists need to shut the hell up. - THR
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