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Star Trek Beyond

Coming Soon

Is it just me or has the USS Enterprise been destroyed more times than a public restroom at chili cook-off? The first time the Enterprise was deep-sixed was in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984) and the franchise hasn’t looked back since. The Millennium Falcon, on the other hand from that OTHER “Star” franchise, has avoided total destruction each and every time. So I suppose with the uncertainty that surrounds the fate of the flagship spacecraft of Star Trek comes the certainty that the current ship’s model may not be long for this universe. Not to be Mr. Spoiler or anything, but I’d say there’s a pretty good chance of Star Trek Beyond staying true to its destructive roots. If you’ve seen the trailers then you’ve already read between the lines here.

Just like the two previous movies in this modern trilogy, Star Trek Beyond starts off with a bang. In the middle of a five year deep exploration journey, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew are out and about spreading Federation goodwill and diplomacy to the farthest reaches of the known universe. It’s during this time out that they are into a battle that they are ill-equipped to handle. As a result, the ship’s crew-mates are sent scattering in different directions in order to try to survive. A formidable new foe has made his presence felt and it is one that the Federation will not soon forget. Krall (Idris Elba) is a merciless killing machine with one singular goal in mind; destroy the Federation and all that it stands for.

Many of the familiar faces return for this third movie. Zachary Quinto (Sylar of television’s Heroes), Karl Urban (Dredd (2012)), Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead (2004), John Cho (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)) and Anton Yelchin (Green Room (2016)) are all back to reprise the roles of their legendary characters. In addition to Idris Elba (Pacific Rim (2013) ) joining the fray, is Sofia Boutella (Gazelle, the blade leg wielding bad ass for Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) who plays Jaylah, a resourceful and talented alien with her own ax to grind with Krall. Together this pool of talented actors all get their moment in the spotlight. Unfortunately, one notable name is missing from this list and that is the late Leonard Nimoy, who of course played Spock in the original television series which ran from 1966 to 1969, again in the first six full length feature films, he was also in two episodes the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series (the Jean-Luc Picard era) and finally reprised his legendary role for the last two times in Star Trek (2011) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Nimoy was very well respected within the franchise and Star Trek Beyond made sure that respects were paid. In other sad news, Anton Yelchin also passed away earlier this year in a tragic accident. It has been said that his character will not be recast in future movies out of respect for the late actor. There is also a minor tribute paid to Yelchin during the end credits.

There is also a shake up behind the camera as well. Out is fan favorite J.J. Abrams, and in is Justin Lin. He has already proven in the past that he can jump right into a franchise that’s already ongoing build upon a solid foundation. But fear not, Abrams is still involved as a producer. Lin came on board to one of the most lucrative franchises in its early days and stayed for a while. Coincidentally it was also the third movie of the franchise, which is the Fast and Furious brand in case you didn’t know. He started with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) and went on to direct an additional three “Fast” movies after that. He left the thriving franchise for this project. Was the leap of faith to Star Trek Beyond a good gamble on his part?

There are no discernible differences from what Abrams did with this storied franchise to what Justin Lin presents in his first time out. Lin does an admirable following in the footsteps in which J.J. Abrams made for the first two movies. If viewers weren’t “in the know” they wouldn’t even notice the change. That being said, the tone of Star Trek Beyond is a little more on the grounded side, and I suppose that’s an unintended pun since they weren’t flying around as much as in Star Trek (2011) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).

All in all Star Trek Beyond is a solid continuation of the franchise even if it is a bit less “flashy” in terms of the locales and even the enemies. On that note, Idris Elba’s talents and menacing demeanor are muted by Krall’s appearance which was a letdown for me. He would have been better cast as a Klingon geekily speaking of course. Still, the movie is entertaining and fans should like the product on the screen. There’s no real need to marathon watch the first two movies before watching the new one, although I did and I don’t regret it. The story stands for itself and is entertaining on its own merits. Check it out in theaters now.

Star Trek Beyond is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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