November 1, 2016


Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella, Idris Elba, Joe Taslim, Lydia Wilson. Directed by Justin Lin. (2016, 122 min).

Star Trek Beyond is the best of the reboot films because it’s the first to establish its own identity. It isn’t an origin story, never relies on our familiarity with the original series or cast and doesn’t rehash the plot of another Trek film. In fact, for the first time since the original series ended, the Enterprise crew are finally getting the hell outta their own neighborhood to “explore strange new worlds.”

It’s about damn time, too, because that’s what Star Trek was always all about. We're more than ready to see new worlds and new civilizations instead of upgraded Klingons and Romulans. Star Trek Beyond finally takes us places we’ve never been before and introduces imaginatively-rendered alien characters, as seen through the eyes of old friends.

Extreme gopher hunting.
There’s peril, of course (though no one in a red shirt is forced to take one for the team). When the crew responds to a distress call in uncharted space, it turns out to be a trap masterminded by Krall (an unrecognizable Idris Elba), the disgruntled leader of a legion of mutants who has a singular hatred for the Federation. After the Enterprise is destroyed (again!), the crew end up separated and stranded on the same planet as Krall's base. With some assistance by Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), another stranded-yet-resourceful alien, they discover Krall has lured the Enterprise in order to obtain the last piece of a super-destructive weapon, which he plans to use to attack Yorktown (a massive Federation star base and home to millions).

"Put your pants back on, Scotty."
With all due respect to the original cast, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg & Anton Yelchin (RIP) have assumed these iconic roles so effectively that accepting them as the classic Enterprise crew (with all the same personality traits & quirks) is easy. More importantly, they’re each given many moments to shine in the story (something the original Trek movies had a lot of trouble doing). Jaylah is also the most interesting new Trek character in years, one I suspect we’ll see in future films. It’s too bad the same amount of attention and care isn’t paid to the film’s primary villain. Krall is suitably vicious and menacing, though not particularly dynamic, even after we learn his motives. It’s kind-of a shame to waste Idris Elba’s talent (and face) on a character that could have been played by anybody.

That aside, Star Trek Beyond is rousing, funny, occasionally poignant and, most importantly, driven more by its characters than action and spectacle (though both are here in abundance, as well). In other words, this feels like a true Star Trek episode, something we haven’t had in quite awhile and didn't know we missed.

FEATURETTES: “Beyond the Darkness: Story Origins”; “Enterprise Takedown: Destroying an Icon” (again!); “Divided and Conquered”; “Exploring Strange New Worlds”; “New Life, New Civilizations”; “A Warped Scene of Revenge”; “Trekking in the Desert: On Location in Dubai”; “To Live Long and Prosper: 50 Years of Star Trek” (though it mostly features interviews with the reboot cast & crew); “For Leonard and Anton” (a brief, touching tribute to the two late actors)
Deleted Scenes
Gag Reel
DVD & Digital Copies

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