The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba
Rated: PG-13 (sequences of sci-fi action and violence)
Star Trek Beyond
By Matt Greene
It has often been said that Abrams modern Star Trek films are just Star Wars stories with a Star Trek facade. Beyond, the third entry in the Star Trek prequel franchise, is much closer to what universe-pioneer Gene Roddenberry created: a character driven narrative as worried about ideas as it is adventure. Screenwriter Pegg has penned a story more akin to the original series and movies, only with a modern skin; a welcome reprieve from the “cover song” movies Abrams helmed. That inherent Star-Trek-iness may make it a bit less accessible to larger audiences, but its cool confidence will please millions of fans.
By becoming more like the original series, it’s surprisingly less beholden to specific lores within the universe (original Spock, reboot of Khan). Instead, we get a beautifully written opening Captain’s Log about purpose, followed by a Titanic-esque destruction of the Enterprise, character survival team-ups (Bones and Spock buddy film please!) and a brand new breed of cool alien villainry. The plot is effectively mind-bending, and the big action visuals are propulsive. The cast, however, is still the star of the show, with the returning actors falling into their characters like a cozy old spacesuit, and newcomers shining brightly.
With Pegg’s script, I can’t help but wonder what Edgar Wright could’ve done with this film, but still director Lin filled the filmmaking captain’s chair with ease and assuredness. He found a way to please both my modern movie-buff cynicism and the 12-year-old nerd that lives right underneath that. Beyond is (arguably) the best Star Trek film since the original cast departed in the early 90s; visually impressive, carefully plotted, and philosophically stirring.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars