Beyond the Trek review
Sci-fi mysteries aren’t an overused genre so Beyond the Trek isn’t flying in a crowded space. It’s disappointing then that Beyond the Trek fails to distinguish itself from more traditional sci-fi fare.
Five genetically enhanced humans make up the crew of Teleios, a space shuttle conducting a standard rescue mission. They’re a little too late though as there’s only one survivor O’Neill (Weetus Cren) and he’s only speaking in various foreign languages. The ship’s robot, Lulu AH-320 (Ursula Mills) is even less talkative.
It’s up to Teleios’ first mate Iris Duncan (Sunny Mabrey, Once Upon a Time) to get some answers. Meanwhile, the crew starts experiencing vastly different sensations — emotions.
On the surface and through most of the film, Beyond the Trek plays out like a typical Star Trek episode only with less thrills. Director/Writer Ian Truitner stumbles onto deeper themes more fully explored in films like Ex Machina and Elysium that warranted greater examination. Some of the crew has a disdainful attitude toward non-enhanced humans. That would have been an interesting personality flaw to delve into more than a throwaway moment.
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The crew looks like the kind of perfect specimens you’d find on a gym brochure. That’s in line with the premise and at least provides a little eye candy for everyone. While the acting is somewhat sketchy, Truitner’s script beautifully covers for any acting deficiencies. As genetically enhanced humans beyond standard emotions they’d tend to sound robotic. Mabrey is easily the best of the cast. She offers a genuine, believable performance that frequently rises above the material.
Gradually the crew starts getting in touch with their emotions, which threatens to destroy their well-oiled teamwork. Zimmer (T.J. Hoban) is lusting after the increasingly more emotional Anderson (Christian Pitre, Crazy, Stupid, Love). Commander Linden (Lance Broadway) becomes more aggressive while the ship’s doctor (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) starts getting forgetful. This would feel more significant if the characters had better defined personalities at the start.
Truitner goes the bold route of not establishing a true hero or villain. That makes it hard to invest in the weird final act when the crew starts getting killed off. It’s not like viewers were given much time to connect with the characters.
Considering the $1 million budget, Truitner largely avoids giving the film an overly cheap look. Sure, the costumes look a little style deprived even before they start lighting up like laser tag, but the plot accounts for the limited locations. Smartly, Truitner keeps the special effects and action sequences to a minimum.
Beyond the Trek has gone through a slew of aliases from Teleios to Deep Space. However viewers stumble across it, Beyond the Trek is an uninspired way to kill 89 minutes. It’s not the worst VOD offering this year, but it had the potential to be more much engaging.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Screen Media