‘Star Trek Beyond’ goes boldly down familiar roads

Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in ‘Star Trek Beyond’

“If ‘Trek’ is a hit, we’d love to do a series of films – a regular event. Look at James Bond’s films. They’ve been around since the early sixties.” – Gene Roddenberry

If only the Great Bird of the Galaxy, Mr. Gene Roddenberry had lived to see his vision going strong, five decades after the first episode of the TV series “Star Trek” first aired.  Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the reboot of the movie franchise and while it isn’t as excellent as the initial Star Trek from 2009, it is very pleasing to the eye.

The crew of the USS Enterprise returns, in their now familiar roles.  “Captain Kirk” (Chris Pine) hasn’t told “Spock” (Zachary Quinto) or any other member of his crew that he’s put in for a promotion and new position as a Vice-Admiral aboard the Federation’s newest star base, Yorktown.  Yorktown is not on a planet, but is a gigantic facility that was built in space.  This was done to avoid any appearance of favoritism by placing it on a particular planet.  Spock also has a secret, he plans to leave Star Fleet to work on the restoration of his race on New Vulcan; in the wake of the passing of Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy appears only in a photograph).

John Cho, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana in ‘Star Trek Beyond’

966 days into the five year mission finds the Enterprise docked at Yorktown for shore leave and supply replenishment but an emergency arises.  “Kalara” (Lydia Wilson) arrives at Yorktown in an escape pod and claims that her ship’s entire crew is marooned on a planet within a nearby nebula.  Enterprise is dispatched on a rescue mission, but it turns out to be a trap.  A trap set by “Krall” (Idris Elba) whose true origins will be revealed late in the movie’s third act.

His ships overwhelm Enterprise and the saucer section makes a crash landing on the planet where Krall’s base of operations is.  He captures most of the crew, but “Scotty” (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the film), Spock and “Doctor McCoy” (Karl Urban, who steals every scene he appears in), and Kirk and “Chekov” (Anton Yelchin, who died in a tragic accident after filming and before the release of the movie) all manage to avoid detection.  Scotty meets “Jaylah” (Sofia Boutella who was brilliant in Kingsman: The Secret Service) who is living on the planet in an old star ship that is hidden from view.  With Jaylah’s help, the members of the Enterprise crew who have evaded capture must work to free their imprisoned crew and stop Krall from his plan to destroy Yorktown.

Idris Elba as "Krall" in 'Star Trek Beyond
Idris Elba as “Krall” in ‘Star Trek Beyond’

There are elements from the TV versions of Star Trek and while they allow criticism of the movie as not entirely original, they give it a familiar feel that fans of the series should enjoy.   Director Justin Lin’s extraordinary skill at action, as shown off in his entries in the Fast and the Furious films is on display here and he rocks the battle scenes in this movie.  As the late James Doohan noted when he decried the lack of an Oscar nomination for Ricardo Montalban’s performance in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, this type of film doesn’t generate acting award nominations outside of sci-fi specific types of awards.  That there aren’t any award-worth performances here, even though Karl Urban is terrific isn’t a knock on the movie.  It’s merely an acknowledgement that in this instance, the movie is the star.

For those who haven’t been followers of things Star Trek  over the last five decades, TailSlate has put together some information you might enjoy here.

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