Reviewer: Zep the Bear
Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Seven years into JJ Abrams’ experiment reimagining the Star Trek universe and I find myself firmly on board.
Like any classic property being repackaged or reconceptualized, if his version of the beloved original Star Trek crew was to flourish, it was to live or die on its own merits.
Knowing that he was going to drastically change integral elements of the long-standing format (the biggest being a transition from a thoughtful, dialogue-based drama to an action-packed epic), Abrams wisely chose a young, talented cast of actors to carry the mantle into the future. They have a warmth and chemistry that simply works.
Initial complaints by hardcore fans of the original incarnations of the shows were duly noted but Abrams continued on with his vision. After all, despite occasional nods to the devoted, these films weren’t designed for them.
That brings us to Star Trek Beyond.
The plot is pretty simple this time around. Three years into a five-year mission, the crew stop at a space station, Yorktown, for shore leave. Before long, they are called upon to rescue a ship stranded on a planet called Altamid. Upon arriving at the planet, the Enterprise is attacked and destroyed by Krall (Idris Elba), the leader of the alien attackers. They are now, themselves, stranded on the planet surface. Can they defeat Krall? Will they make it off Altamid and back to the Yorktown?
Simon Pegg crafts a fun script. Tons of action, a healthy dose of comedy, and a pinch of heart make for a fun movie. He wrote a script that Beyond director Justin Lin could work with, as it was similar to the formula Lin follows with The Fast and the Furious film series.
As far as I’m concerned, Idris Elba can do no wrong. He is a talented actor with an impossibly cool demeanor. Despite his face being veiled by makeup and prosthetics for a good portion of the film, his personality translated. He emoted the proper balance of menace and rage to be a strong foil for co-stars Chris Pine (Capt. James T. Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock).
In the body of the film, Lin pays a respectful tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who had passed during preproduction. As a longtime fan of Star Trek, the loss of Nimoy hurt. He was an actor, artist, and true gentleman.
Tribute was paid to Anton Yelchin during the closing credits. Yelchin, who played Pavel Chekov in the current film series, passed away after a freak accident just weeks before the release of Beyond. The 27-year old actor was tremendously talented. Those who only know him as the charming and affable Chekov aren’t privileged to the entire picture. He was a diverse and nuanced actor. Earlier in the year, he gave an incredible performance in the horror-thriller, Green Room. His death is not only shocking and sad for family and friends but also a tremendous loss to fans of his work.
Star Trek Beyond is a blast. Lots of action, lots of laughs, and an opportunity to remember two friends for a final time. It’s swashbuckling and epic; the type of film meant to be seen on the big screen. It’s an overall good time.
“Live long and prosper”