“Star Trek Beyond” Movie Review

If you’ve ever wanted a summary of the old Star Trek movies, here you go: Even-numbered Star Trek movies are good. Odd-numbered movies aren’t so good. That’s generally speaking. Worst of the worst is still the fifth movie, The Final Frontier; that one’s… well it’s almost unwatchable. Now let’s move on to the latest Star Trek movie. This science-fiction action-adventure released nationwide on July 22nd, 2016, only managing to earn $95 million against a budget of $185 million in its opening weekend. This is likely due to the film’s unfortunate premiere during San Diego Comic-Con International. For the sake of full disclosure, I was very skeptical about the third iteration in the new line of reboot movies. J.J. Abrams, who directed the first two films, left in 2013 to work on The Force Awakens, and then it was announced that Justin Lin of the Fast and Furious franchise would take over the helm. And when the first trailer dropped, it practically confirmed my fears about it ruining everything the Star Trek series stood for. Then, I watched Star Trek Beyond and found I was dead wrong, because this movie is superbly entertaining. Picking up three years after Star Trek Into Darkness, the crew of the Enterprise led by James T. Kirk has made it halfway through their Five-Year Mission, each member considering how to move on with their lives. Then while resting at the Starbase Yorktown, they receive a distress call from beyond a dense nebula and decide to go track its origins. But hay hits the fan once the crew is attacked by an unknown enemy named Krall, who subsequently destroys the Enterprise and captures most of the crew. A select few members escape and crash land on the nearby planet where with the help of Jaylah, a scavenger who escaped Krall’s wrath, they plan to free their imprisoned comrades. I keep it vague like that because it is best that you go into this film as cold as possible. The best way I can describe Star Trek Beyond is that it is arguably the closest in spirit to The Original Series out of the three reboot films. It recalls the franchise’s themes of unity and hope while giving us some great character progression. During a scene of solemnity, Commander Spock informs Dr. Leonard McCoy , “Fear of death is illogical.” To which Bones remarks, “Fear of death is what keeps us alive.”  The relationship between Kirk and Spock may not be at the forefront of this installment, but it’s still one of the most endearing parts of the overall story. Their back-and-forth banter is only elevated by the excellent chemistry between Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the script, is hilarious once again as Montgomery Scott, or Scotty. In fact, the movie itself is generally funnier than either Star Trek or Star Trek Into Darkness. And thankfully, Michael Giacchino returned to compose the musical score. His contribution gives such a sense of wonder and scale that I can’t picture any other composer who could have done it better. Sofia Boutella is a wonderful new addition to the franchise as Jaylah and is yet another great example of a strong female character in recent science-fiction. Rounding out the new cast is Idris Elba as the villain Krall. I keep professing this guy is one of the best actors in the business. He was a vicious, tactful, and commanding villain throughout most of this film. The biggest problem is in the last act when the plot seemingly makes some huge leaps in logic. Especially after the villain’s true motivations and backstory are revealed, a number plot elements and details from earlier on seem like they contradict one another. So don’t try to think too much about it after leaving the theater. In the end, Star Trek Beyond was better than I expected it to be, with great character development, a strong premise, and fantastic music. Even though it starts to throw logic away in the final act, the action is still very exciting and intense. Easily one of the best Star Trek movies in years, there’s also a chance of it making it onto my list of the best movies of the year.

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