There Is No Unknown, Only Temporarily Hidden
Star Trek Beyond
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutello and Lydia Wilson
Director: Justin Lin
Scriptwriters: Simon Pegg and Doug Jung based on characters created by Gene Roddenberry
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Cinematographer: Stephen F. Windon
Rating: PG 13 for violence and themed material
Running Length: 120 minutes
Some of us wait patiently through Marvel and DC Comics films for another “Star Trek” film to appear, and it is now. “Star Trek Beyond” is on the screen with Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, with his loyal crew of Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg who is also a co-writer), Sulu (John Cho), Chekhov (the late Anton Yelchin) and a new villain, Krall (Idris Elba under all that make-up.) Everyone gets beamed around at least once, the fight scenes bounce around the ships and whatever there is on planets to bounce around on, the wounded fight on, and for those who saw the first “Star Trek” movie with Chris Pine in the lead, there is something mobile brought forth to remind us that the past is always with us.
The theme of this film is that Capt. Kirk is getting bored with the formalities of the Federation, with all of it's protocol, and now there is a Vice Admiral vacancy that could be his for the asking. What to do? The answer is taken out of his hands when there is a distress call from a part of the galaxy that is filled with debris and so dense no ship has been able to go through it. That’s all Kirk needs and he and his crew are off to the rescue with the only star ship available, the Enterprise. Soon it becomes apparent that the distress call was a fake. There is a tall villain with his agenda of using a new weapon based on the trajectory of bees, to take control of a large Federation outpost. Who to trust? The crew end up as hostages, with Kirk, Spock, Bones and Scotty out there somewhere trying to help. There are ingenious escapes, some humor for fans, and the knowledge that this crew will go anywhere at anytime to follow their captain. This is something the bad guys never understand.
There is a new helper for Kirk and his crew, the survivor of a group (Jaylah) brought to the planet, who escaped and lives under the radar with her own hatred of Krall. As with the women fighters of the “Star Wars” films, this gal (played by Sofia Boutello) can take on anyone and grind them into the dust. Also, there are references to the past and just because something is old doesn't mean it is useless.
The acting is well done with each main actor getting their time in front of the camera. Chris Pine is James T. Kirk to the letter and either slightly irreverent or commanding. Zachary Quinto’s Spock is young and with a girlfriend and loyal to his friends. Karl Urban’s Bones is full of sarcastic humor, but underneath is a caring person. Simon Pegg’s Scotty isn't in the engine room much, but you get the idea that he can fix things. John Cho’s Sulu is married to another man and they have a daughter. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura is flippant and in-your-face, not afraid of villains. The late Anton Yelchik’s Chekhov is played as much younger then the rest of the crew, but Kirk’s right hand man, at times. When it comes to villains, Idris Elba would have been better without all the make-up, just as Tom Hardy in the “Batman” film, because you can't understand him at times. On the other hand, the make-up for the other women stars, Lydia Wilson (Kalara) and Sofia Boutello (Jaylah), is imaginative and attractive.
I was pleased with this film, and though it follows a pattern with director Justin Lin, there is never a dull moment and at two hours, he cuts a swath across the universe with colorful backgrounds that are either computer generated or from space telescopes. Special effects are fine, especially in the outpost Krall wants to destroy. Villains always think they have a cause worth fighting for, but it ends up being in their head, only. My favorite scenes are where the camera centers on Chris Pine as Kirk in the Captain’s Chair just before he makes a decision. You want to hold your breath and you don't want the moment to end. Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack is well done, with just the right amount of tension interwoven with “Star Trek” music themes.
A special time is given to the passing of Leonard Nimoy as the original Mr. Spock, and a reference at the end of the film to the late Anton Yelchik. Sometimes we say good-bye and sometimes we say “Hello” to new friends. That’s just the way the universe is. Live long and prosper.
Copyright 2016 Marie Asner
For another "Star Trek" movie review, see the following: