Star Trek: Beyond Review (no spoilers)

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It’s All About the Characters

Star Trek: Beyond is the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise. JJ Abrams doesn’t direct the film but handed the reigns over to Justin Lin. He directed three of the Fast and Furious movies and the second season of True Detective.  Simon Pegg and Doug Jung wrote the film after Robert Orci left due to creative differences with Paramount. Star Trek: Beyond excels and expands on character development of members of the crew. The film has had a tragedy surrounding it as Anton Yelchin, Lt. Chekov, died in motor vehicle accident before the movie’s release.  Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, died last summer and the film is dedicate two both actors who play fan favorites.

The crew of the Enterprise is in the third year of their five year mission. The crew seems to be happy and be enjoying each other’s company despite being away from their different home planet. Kirk and Spock are conflicted though and are considering different options. The crew visits a new Star Base but it is interrupted when they receive a distress call. Kirk and his crew come to the aid of the call but are attacked by a deadly enemy.

Star Trek: Beyond has two minor weaknesses. The weakness is the first act is a set up and build up for the second act when the conflict really gets going. However, the first act (like 20 minutes) isn’t bad. They are entertaining 20 minutes because the audience is introduced to a new alien species and the comradery between the crew. The first act is definitely entertaining. The other minor weakness is the villain. He doesn’t get enough screen time to have interactions with key members of the crew. Star Trek: Beyond does explain the villains motivations which is a bright spot. The film so many bright spots.

The direction and storytelling is a major bright spot. Justin Lin directs a wonderful science fiction action movie with tons of heart. His action sequences are shot perfectly and are so entertaining. The film has hand to hand combat action sequences, chase scenes, and a great sequence involving a classic Star Trek relic.  Lin also brought a Star Trek television show setting to the big screen which made audience enjoy this film better. The best thing about Star Trek: Beyond is the dynamic between crew members and new characters.

The interaction between the characters make this blockbuster so memorable. Kirk and Chekov spend time together on screen. They both really form a solid bond. Scotty meets Jaylen, the new female alien. The interactions between McCoy and Spock or Kirk or even both of them. Bones really drives the heart of the story. He delivers the best lines of the movie, and Karl Urban is the perfect casting for Bones. The rest of the cast are perfect in the film as their characters.

Go see Star Trek: Beyond because the movie is very entertaining, and critics and audience love the film. Star Trek: Beyond gets a 4.0 out of 5.

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The Secret Life of Pets review

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A Pets Lover Dream Film

The Secret Life of Pets stars a variety of pets living in New York City. The film was made by the same studio who made Minions and the Despicable  Me series.  Louis C.K. voices Max, a Jack Russell Terrier is the center of the film. His friends are Mel the Pug ( Bobby Moynihan), Buddy the Dachshund (Hannibal Buress), Chloe the Tabby Cat (Lake Bell), and Sweet Pea the Parakeet (Tara Strong).  They all live in the same apartment building in New York City and spend time together during the day when their owners are away.  The Secret Life of Pets is an animated comedy for all ages.

Max lives with his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper), and they are pretty inseparable. Max’s friends are: Chloe, Sweet Pea, Buddy, and Mel, and they spend time together when their owners are at work. Katie decides to adopt a new dog, Duke the Newfoundland (Eric Stonestreet). Max is extremely jealous, and two pets fight over Katie’s affections.  Duke and Max eventually fight so much that they get lost in New York City and caught by Animal Control. They are rescued by Snowball the rabbit (Kevin Hart) and have to find their way home.  In another apartment across from Max, Gidget the Pomeranian (Jenny Slate), notices Max is missing and sets out to find him. She teams up with Chloe, Sweet Pea, Buddy, and Mel along with a Red-tail Hawk named Tiberius (Albert Brooks)  and Buddy the disable Bassett Hound (Dana Carvey) to find Max. Max and Dude have to invade Snowball and his pet hating human gang and the animal control officers to find their way back home.

There are two minor negatives to the film which are the hot dog factory sequence, and the film has points of slowing down to much.  The hot dog factory sequence was unnecessary and strange. Yes, dogs love hot dogs but the dream sequence is so out there that adults might take a bathroom break during it while the kids laugh during it. The film really starts off with a fast pace introduction to each pet and continues until the hot dog factory sequence. It slows down after that. These are nitpicky criticisms but the film is very enjoyable.

The Secret Life of Pet is a great comedy. The voice cast is great and animation of New York City might be the best of any feature animated film. Albert Brooks, Louis C.K., and Kevin Hart are very memorable as their animated characters.  Kevin Hart really infuses his persona while voicing Snowball and causing the audience to pay attention to him more. The film is written in such a unique way that the audience can believe each pet are friends and each pet have their shinning moments.  The dynamic between Duke and Max are a sibling rivalry and it involves throughout the movie.  The film is very colorful, and each pet mocks each other being either a cat, dog, or even prey if you have a hawk.

The Secret Life of Pets gets a 4 out of 5.