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A movie with all of the action, character development, plot twists, and depth that you could ask for in a sci-fi flick. Overall, the perfect movie.
The third movie of J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, directed by Justin Lin, followed the path of the first two: a slowly deteriorating, mildly disappointing reflection of an amazing film franchise. As a big Star Trek fan, this was a movie I was interested in seeing this summer despite my apprehension that the trailer looked a bit chaotic and not very intriguing. In the end, I was disappointed with what I felt was an uninspired and shallow movie with a muddled conflict and without real stakes or consequences.
The movie begins with Spock and Kirk both questioning their Starfleet career paths and seeking to move onto a new chapter in their lives. Before any developments can happen, the crew is sucked into a rescue mission that goes awry on an alien planet. It is up to the crew, though separated, to work together to escape and defeat the machinations of a mysterious alien who goes by the name Krall.
This movie fell apart almost from the outset as the Enterprise crew flies off on this rescue mission with the least amount of exposition possible.
There were too many competing characters, interpersonal relationships, and storylines going on to develop any of them to a successful, or even a satisfactory, degree. Bones-Spock (obligatory, undeveloped antagonistic friendship), Spock-Kirk (mostly unspoken, undeveloped mutual-respect friendship), Spock-Uhura (token romance with inconsequential break-up quickly resolved), Scotty-Jayla (the one relationship I would have liked to see develop more but couldn't because of wasted screentime), are all interpersonal relationships whose development starts and stops during the film in herky-jerky spurts. We know the relationships between the first three pairs of characters, but the movie nonetheless introduced conflict into these relationships which was quickly resolved each time in a waste of time without true meaning.
The main victim of all of these inconsequential conflicts was the main conflict between Krall and the Enterprise crew. Despite an interesting premise and the struggle of the crew to coordinate efforts once they split up, we have very little development on the mystery of who Krall is, why he is doing what he is doing, or why the audience should care other than that he's the bad guy until it all comes together in 30 seconds at the end.
There is also never truly a feeling of danger or loss in that we don't see any main characters in danger or see characters react appropriately to danger or loss. Kirk's actions directly lead to the death of a member of Starfleet and although Uhura seems concerned in the moment, no one else, including Kirk, ever seem bothered by this fact. Most of the battling looked like it took place in a video game without any risk or believability with untouchable characters who were impervious to hurt.
In the end, all of the conflicts are tied up neatly without any growth, development, or change. Kirk and Spock, of course, spoiler alert, both decide to stay in Starfleet without much (any) prodding and each never bother to discuss their internal struggle with the other. Two supposedly best friends never seem to find the time to discuss that each is considering leaving Starfleet with each other. It is enough to make one wish for the depth and dialogue of the Spock-Kirk relationship in the Wrath of Khan.
Despite the heavy reliance on Star Trek TOS, I have enjoyed that the reboot movies have used new actors to bring fresh flavor to the old characters. It was also an honorable tribute to two actors who passed away before this film was released - Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, and Pavel Yelchin who played Anton Chekov. Still, there is no doubt that this movie was the weakest of the reboots thus far and I'd only recommend it to people who feel the need to see every Star Trek movie ever made. Otherwise, you aren't missing anything.