Movie Name: Star Trek Beyond
Studio: Bad Robot
Release Date(s): July 7, 2016 (Premiere)/July 22, 2016 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
It is three years into the five year mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) has grown restless. With a decision to leave as acting captain, Kirk is unaware that Spock (Zachary Quinto) is also having doubts after receiving news from New Vulcan about the death of Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy). When the Enterprise arrives at Starbase Yorktown, the crew finds themselves thrust into a rescue mission in a dangerous nebula. The Enterprise quickly learns that the rescue might not just be a rescue and that danger could threaten the crew, the population of Yorktown, and the entire galaxy.
Directed by Justin Lin with a script by Simon Peg and Doug Jung, Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the Star Trek relaunch following Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. The film was dedicated to both Leonard Nimoy who died in 2015 and Anton Yelchin who was killed in a freak accident in 2016 before the film’s release. The movie was received positively and had a strong box office performance. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
A lot of people were down on Star Trek Into Darkness…especially a year or so after its release. I actually rather enjoyed it. The new Star Trek isn’t the old Star Trek, and while the old Star Trek often explored science-fiction, the new Star Trek is more of a action-fantasy. Star Trek Beyond continues this trend.
Star Trek Beyond feels almost like what Star Trek: Insurrection was attempting. The film is simply an adventure in the world of Star Trek…it isn’t a recreation of a canon story like Star Trek Into Darkness and it doesn’t involve saving Earth (directly). Unlike Star Trek: Insurrection, it feels like an episode but achieves the “big feel” that Insurrection couldn’t achieve…and it does it with a lot of fun.
The cast remains one of the strongest aspects of the new Star Trek (and the old Star Trek for that matter). Pine, Quinto, and Urban are a great trio and I love the increased role for Uhura’s character (played by Zoe Saldana). Simon Pegg can sometimes be a bit much as Scotty but as script writer, he has to make his role. Idris Elba is a great villain and I like Sofia Boutella’s Jaylah character. Pegg wrote out Alice Eve’s Dr. Carol Marcus due to no real place for her and the loss of Anton Yelchin will be felt in future films.
One controversy that rocked the movie was the decision to make John Cho’s Hikaru Sulu gay. Sulu’s original portrayer George Takei objected to the change despite being gay since it wasn’t the original vision for the character. It seems however that science-fiction’s lack of gay characters also is a reflection that homosexuality is something that was “cured” in future and that isn’t a message that seems to fit Star Trek (or many sci-fi stories)…so Sulu being gay doesn’t seem to hurt anything to me.
The movie looks fantastic like the previous entries. You have your patented Abrams light flares and some great looking effects. A preview which incorporated Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” seemed gratuitous, but it actually was smartly incorporated into the script for one of the great scenes of the movie.
Star Trek Beyond probably won’t win die-hard Star Trek fans that feel that the new movies have diverged too much from the original vision, but the film does deliver to the casual Star Trek fan. I enjoy the new take on Star Trek and I continue to look forward to see where it goes…I just wish that the movies would be a little closer together so key cast members aren’t lost in movie deals and more of the story can be revealed.