Star Trek Beyond – film review

"Star Trek Beyond" theatrical teaser poster featuring Chekov.
“Star Trek Beyond” theatrical teaser poster featuring Chekov.
I confess, the trailers for Star Trek Beyond did not thrill me. The trailers made it look like a decent action movie, with lots of explosions and some good fights. But spaceships and the whole Star Trek thing seemed kind of incidental.

Fortunately, the trailers were off.

Star Trek Beyond is a good action movie—a darn good action movie. Fights are well-choreographed enough that not one of them feels choreographed, and while they are certainly abundant, I didn’t find them superfluous. The effects—real and digital—are fantastic, and—as with the fight scenes—they’re not just gee-wow whiz-bang effects. They actually support the story.

Speaking of, there is a story. It is a good story—a little choppy in spots, but solid and easy to follow, with just enough surprises to keep me interested. The theme of “strength in unity” is well-developed without beating viewers over the head with it.

Characters fare well in Star Trek Beyond, as well. Most of the main cast get some fun character-development moments. I think Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Uhura fared the best, but there were good moments for all the main cast. I think my favorite part of the movie was how well the characters finally jelled as a crew. They’re not the exact same characters as in TOS and its associated movies. For me, that’s okay. This series of movies is a reboot. It’s not the original, and I don’t expect or want it to be. But it’s a lot of fun to watch the new characters developing the same familiar banter and camaraderie that I enjoyed in TOS and its movies.

There are numerous nods to TOS and its fandom in the movie. Famous lines make a return (most memorably, Bones’s “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a ___”). The hubby and I both had fun trying to spot the “Easter eggs” scattered throughout the film (and we’re not die-hard, hardcore fans, so I’m sure we missed a lot). The memorial acknowledgements to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin were awesome and very appropriate. They will be missed. A lot.

Star Trek Beyond is not perfect. As aforementioned, the pacing got a bit choppy in spots. The villain…was interesting for most of the movie, but the complicated denouement to his story arc did not work well and felt out-of-place. The solution for Krall’s drones was very entertaining but a bit too predictable. I could see it coming the proverbial mile away, and I would have liked to be surprised there. There were moments that really stretched my suspension of disbelief. They were cool to watch, just…very implausible in an otherwise well-reasoned story.

That said, these things are quibbles. The movie as a whole was a grand romp, and with all the lousy stuff in the news lately, I greatly enjoyed watching a movie that holds as its basic premise humanity getting its act together, uniting, celebrating individual strengths, and leaping to the stars—all without completely destroying good old Earth. I thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek Beyond, recommend seeing it on the big screen, and hope to see it again.

Release Date: July 7, 2016 (Australia)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Original Title: Star Trek Beyond
Language: English

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 75%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (some social drinking)
Language: 2 (fairly mild cursing, no f-bombs, some deity and stronger)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (innuendo)
Violence: 3 (lots of combat and explosions, minor characters die but usually not in gory manner)

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