Star Trek: Beyond…Morality Plays


So, I watched the 2016 Star Trek movie, Beyond, with my family the other night. It was an adequate way to spend a couple hours. The special effects were terrific, of course. There were some moments of fun humor, and some time for character development.

By the way, when I write about films, or the books of other people, I do not intend to give the impression that I’m a better writer. I am probably more aware of my own failings and limitations than anyone else could possibly be. However, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible for me to accurately diagnose a problem in the writing of someone who is better than me.

Anyway, here’s the thing that got me about Star Trek: Beyond. For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to turn Star Trek into a platform for a message about unity. Star Trek: Beyond was positively preachy. I don’t mind the message of unity, in fact I like it. I think, in general, human beings are better off when they’re able to overlook their differences and work together. But in the case of Star Trek: Beyond, the message was completely external to the story. It was levered into the plot with a crowbar and pounded home with a sledgehammer. It had all the subtlety of a fourth grade boy hinting at what he wants for Christmas.

I’m sure that at times in my own books I fail, and end up pushing just a little too hard at some theme of which I’m particularly fond. But I hope I’ve never been quite as obvious as Star Trek: Beyond.

Again, I like the message. But I did not like that it was in the movie, because it was poorly done. In fact, it felt like it was being pushed down my throat. I almost had a counter reaction against the idea of unity, until I realized I was merely responding to the way it was presented.

That’s one reason I never put any sermon of Jonah’s into the pages of the books. I’m worried I might lose track of the story, and turn it into some sort of morality play. That’s not what I enjoy reading (or watching), and hopefully, not something I write.

Be well, keep reading!

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