Star Trek Beyond

So let’s do this. I’m writing kinda «live» from the rooftop bar @ the Blue Balls Festival Lucerne. This is the place where I’m trying to find out whether I liked «Star Trek Beyond» or not or if I will just refer to the much recitet «rule» that every odd-numbered installation of the franchise is one of the bad ones and call it a day – or in this case – a review.

Well, I wrote too much about «Independence Day: Resurgence» (what an awful word to write on those tiny phone keys, gonna try to activate auto-correction now. Just give me a sec… Well that didn’t help much.)

Where were we? Right. I had just written too much about the mediocre but somehow likeable second part of ID4 to let «Beyond» just slip through. Mostly because the newest Star Trek is quite mediocre itself, I’m sad to say. I figure that Simon Pegg’s wonderful writing that I loved in the «Cornetto Trilogy» works much better when it’s brought to live on a smaller scale, taking advantage of the limitations given by a smaller budget. On the other hand: «Star Trek Beyond» sure looks better than «Independence Day: Retelling The Same Story» (as far as I could tell through those godawful 3D glasses), it sounds better, and it even has a tighter story, which doesn’t mean much. But it all remains another by-the-numbers Sci-Fi action adventure that happens to have «Star Trek» in the title. I really missed the almost perfectly written and cleverly re-introduced characters from the first one.

After the creators pulled off the seemingly impossible and rebootet one of the most iconic franchises in the known universe, they got lazy and went back to the standard handbook of cashing in on a blockbuster with «Into Darkness». (Not that «Star Trek» 2009 was especially original, but it sure as hell worked for me.)

«Beyond» is not much better. The tighter story makes more sense in a way for sure, but the characters didn’t really seem to care too much about the arcs they’re shoehorned into. With the exception of Scotty maybe, but it didn’t help that I keept thinking: «of course he would do that, he (Pegg) wrote the damn thing!». And as soon as I realized that Idris Elba was in this one (that wonderful, wonderful voice) I wanted to see more of him – sans the make up. But be careful what you wish for…

Which somehow brings us to the end of the second act of the movie: That’s some really impressive filmmaking right there and one of the most interesting sci-fi action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. And most importantly: it’s very funny. That sequence alone saves the movie from being just «the next one», highly forgettable instance of its franchise.
In the end, it sadly falls flat again and steps back onto the path which much too many movies have, not so boldly, gone before.

So let me do that, too: After writing a mediocre, hopefully tight review with the best ending possible, quoting some Star Trek, let me just keep writing on, just for the sake of a last paragraph:

No, «Star Trek» with the number 13 on its cover (or 3, depending on how you count) isn’t one of the bad ones. But it is, and always shall be, one of the not too great ones.

(Nailed it!)

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Independence Day: Resurgence

Well, that was silly! But to be honest, not much sillier than the first part, more than twenty years ago. And surely not sillier than let’s say «X-Men: Apocalypse».

I must say I really enjoyed «Independence Day: Resurgence».

And why shouldn’t I? In a sense it’s mostly an almost shot for shot remake of the original. With a lot less charm because of the lack of the impressive practical effects from back then which where replaced by state of the art, but still kinda copy and paste CGI (which isn’t improved by the green screen and compositing quality that somehow seemed to be stuck back in the nineties).

I admit I give the movie a lot of slack because its predecessor was one of the first high concept «let’s just blow some shit up» movies I loved as a child, which I think has to be given credit.

And I liked the characters: There’s of course Goldblum, Pullman and Spiner who I just loved the shit out of (minus one really too silly moment that I loathed). The second Hemsworth and the one and only William Fichtner who really wears those kind of characters like a glove. And I reeaally loved what they did to poor Will Smith (which is kinda mean, but I guess the second part of the movie that really put him on the map has somehow the right to make fun of his arrogance, in a way.) And somehow they also dragged Charlotte Gainsbourg into this which surprisingly didn’t hurt the movie any more than some other side characters I think they could’ve skipped.

Though for today’s standards the whole movie is kind of «been there, done that», I really liked this one, mostly because it doesn’t take itself serious at all, serves the fans with a big plate of references to the original, the one movie that startet it all back then as one of the first of its kind of that era.

As a fun action movie, it never reaches the quality of «Captain America 3 – Civil War» or to be honest, any of the Marvel Movies, but «ID4» 2 never annoyed me, because it doesn’t try to be anything that it isn’t. It knows that it’s silly and just goes with it; takes all its stupidity, ludicrous one-liners, over-the-top patriotism and heroism and shoves it up my ass right up to my pleasure center (which normally is not my preferred path of delivery).

If you’re old enough to have enjoyed the first one, I think you’ll like this one. If not, I’m not so sure, because there where a lot better films in the meantime that have done the same thing, much better (e.g. «Pacific Rim»).

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And correct me if I’m wrong. But didn’t I spot a reference to «Citizen Kane» in the last act?! I sure loved the boldness in doing that. 

This is neat, too: http://www.independencedaymystreet.com

And of course: Aurora.