What did you think of the plot?
This was a really nice take in the new series. So far they have basically copied two original Star Trek movies into remakes without any new plots. Of course, the first Star Trek wasn't anything like the adventure in Star Trek while the 2nd Into Darkness is really a complete remake of Wrath of Khan. This new movie has to build off the reality that Vulcan is completely destroyed, which didn't exist in the other series Star Trek, Next Gen, Enterprie, etc. It truly goes into new territory. The repeat is that the entire ship is destroyed similar to the 2nd movie yet in an original manner. I loved the darkness in the plot, this movie should have been "Into Darkness" since it is really dark for all the characters.
What is so dark in the plot vs. other movies?
In the other movies, the characters are struggling to gel as a team, fighting to decide who is captain, but nothing really devious. In this story, Kirk is thinking of hanging up the game after only 5 years in space (which we have seen none of) so it feels like he's quitting before the series even gets a go. Part of the darkness comes from the fact two actors actually die before the release Leonard Nimoy (original spock) and Anton Yelchin playing Chekov. The real darkness is the villain literally tortures his victims to remain youthful and is seeking revenge on the Federation from abandonning him. This is (SPOILER) an original Star Trek captain slowly taken over by desparation and then true darkness.
The TV series cover quite a lot of topics. In Voyager: Equinox, the crew finds a lost small exploration Federation ship Equinox that has discovered how to make its warp engine go faster by harvesting alien spirit forms. So in a way they are rehashing an old plot, but I love the originality of this movie none the less.
One thing you have to respect the TV series for was the element of knowledge that is built upon. In the very first 1960s Star Trek, the characters used everyday language to convey the plot. By the time Enterprise (the immediate follow up series) started in 1987, they actually assume you know all the language of Star Trek. It all made sense if you grew up on Star Trek, but I'm certain non-sci-fi fans would have been totally lost. The beauty was they didn't dumb it down just to get some huge audience, since they had a die-hard base of fans to appeal to. Plus with cable TV, I think they have a lot more freedom to do that since they didn't have to have great wide audience like in the 1960s 13 channel world. In this movie, they respect most of the language of Star Trek with a touch of the watered down language. I think its fair since its based off the original Star Trek of the 1960s that used straight shooting language of the day.
I would say not every series in the multiple Star Trek series are battle scenes, since you need a lot of variety to keep the fan base going. So they had more space to have a touchy-feeling plot that a movie plot likely would not have the freedom to do. The last time I saw a sci-fi film that didn't involve Aliens vs. humans fight to the death may have been 2001. I like the over the top action scenes in this movie since they started the new Star Trek as it captures the human values in the flight, what would you do if you die and how will you die. Those are things we all consider at least philosophically.
Are you surprised that Star Trek: Beyond hasn't been such a hit as say Jason Bourne?
I think a sci-fi film will ALWAYS be at a disadvantage to another story that is easily understood by the average joe. Everyone in the world has read about the CIA and Edward Snowden. Star Trek kind of assumes you are PhD smart, read lots of sci-fi fantasy and are science oriented regardless of how universal the plot, so if you aren't smart you likely don't like Star Trek, since it reinforces the fact you haven't done anything in your life and these guys are reaching other worlds and kicking ass. Jason Bourne is everyone if they worked out a lot and trained to be a hitman.
I would say the light speed shots off the original 1960s TV series directly can be seen in some of my Architectural Abstraction style. The original series would have these quirky right angle types of manoeuvres that are impossible, but the best they could do in the 1960s on TV on a low budget.ma·neu·ver