Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

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Star Trek Beyond is the third movie in the rebooted Star Trek canon and the thirteenth Star Trek Movie overall.  It stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana and John Cho.  It opened in  North American theatres 22 Jul 2016.

The movie finds Kirk and crew in the middle of their 5 year mission.  Arriving at an advanced Starbase called the Yorktown, the crew prepares for some R and R.  But when an alien ship comes out of an uncharted nebula requesting assistance, the Enterprise gears back up and heads to the unknown.  The ship ends up running into a trap and the crew  is taken, leaving only Kirk, Chekov, Scotty, Bones and Spock to save the day.   With the help of an alien warrior named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) they try to find a way to rescue the crew from the enemy leader, Krall before he activate a weapon that could bring the Federation to its knees.

The new Star Trek movies have had their problems, but it was never about the actors.  The actors who have taken over the iconic Enterprise crew do it well, and bring a fresh look to old characters.The problems I had with the first Nu-Trek movie was how Muppet Babies-esque the whole thin was, having the who command crew at the academy at the same time where there should be no way that Kirk and Chekov would be in the Academy at the same time where Kirk ends up a Captain and he’s just an ensign.  It is like when, on Muppet Babies, they had baby Kermit meet his nephew Robin, who was a tadpole, but in the Muppet show, while Kermit is an adult, Robin was only 5 years old!  Now who knows how Muppet frogs age up, but it is still ridiculous!

My only problem with Into Darkness was a matter of casting.  I mean, who would you get to replace the late great  Ricardo Montalban as Kahn Noonien Singh?  Who can match his physical presence, his Latino charisma?  Of course, the answer is, (in my mind) Antonio Banderas.  Not Benedict Cumberbatch!  Doctor Strange?  Sherlock Holmes?  Julian Assange?  All great roles for Benny.  But.  Not.  Khan.  I can’t be the only once who thinks this…

With Beyond, I had no issues with it.  The best Trek movies are full of action (Wrath of Kahn) and humor (The Voyage Home).  The new movie, directed by Justin Lin has both and I fin it works well.  It is a popcorn flick, sure,.  But when Star Trek gets preachy, it works better when it is serialized on TV, as it only past 42 minutes or so.  The writing but Simon Pegg and Doug Jung has plenty of great lines, especially between Bones and Spock, but the Scotty character definitely got the biggest laughs.

The movie’s villain, Krall (played by Idris Elba)is an intimidating force.  He commands an army of black-clad troopers who look like they belong in a HALO movie.  Besides Krall and his second in command, Mana, none of the other enemies get names.  The only other new character, Jaylah is a survivor that escaped Krall’s camp. She is mechanically inclined, rigging up traps around her home and even restoring a motorcycle she found on a crashed Earth ship.  Her matter-of-factness is a good counterbalance to Scotty’s colourful speech.

Star Trek Beyond did get some buzz about their portrayal of Sulu.  The writers had him I na same-sex relationship wit ha daughter.  I don’t think this matters.  George Takei, the original Sulu and, himself, gay, was against it, feeling the character wasn’t gay.  Though I though I saw Sulu hooking up with a female during Kirk’s opening monologue, meaning he is bisexual (and polyamorous,) but I guess I was mistaken.  Still, it should not matter.  What was meant as a tribute was not taken well, but it shouldn’t affect anyone enjoyment of Star Trek, which it’s message of peace and harmony between races and sexes and cultures and even sexual orientation.  Really it shouldn’t.

Star Trek Beyond is rated 14A in Ontario (PG-13 in the US) and is in theatres now.