Three-and-a-half out of Five
“Star Trek Beyond” goes above and beyond expectations and boldly goes where no other “Star Trek” film has gone before.
Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is continuing on with the Star Fleet, working mission after mission for the Federation. As he tells Bones, (Karl Urban) he is starting to question his purpose and his own mission on the USS Enterprise.
But all that philosophy will have to wait as they receive a new mission: rescuing a crashed ship in uncharted territory. While doing so, the Enterprise is attacked. The crew is separated and those who have survived — like Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) — are captured by Krall (Idris Elba).
Stranded on the planet, they all have to find a way to locate each other and simultaneously stop Krall with the help of their new friend, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) — as soon as they figure out what Krall is planning.
“Star Trek Beyond” finds a way to spice up the story by having most of it take place not on the ship, but in a strange new world. It adds a change of pace and all kinds of new obstacles for our heroes to overcome. It challenges how the crew functions and fights back by taking away the ship that makes them a crew.
The story also shakes up character dynamics. When the Enterprise is lost and its crew is flung throughout the abandoned planet, they are paired up with those you wouldn’t normally expect: Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones; Kirk and Chekov (Anton Yelchin); Uhura and Sulu; Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Jaylah. This allows you to see other sides of the well-known characters because they relate to other characters differently. For example, the way Kirk interacts with Chekov is not the same as how he treats Spock.
“Star Trek Beyond” also succeeds visually with special effects, alien prosthetics and camera movement. The special effects open up the final frontier with new civilizations such as an upside-down city, beehive-like ships and spectacular crash landings. Alien races are created with prosthetics that create new life forms in a realistic way, and actors can still show their emotional range with their eyes, voice and facial expressions. The camera also seems to move without gravity as it pans up, down, sideways and all around, following characters and ships traveling at warp speed through space.
“Star Trek Beyond” has everything you could want in a space movie: engaging plots with twists and turns and high-stakes, and characters that bring both humor and heart to the audience. By focusing on how the crew cares for and works together, even when they are apart, it creates a message that transcends the film itself. It’s especially poignant as the credits roll and two “Star Trek” actors who have passed on, Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, are remembered.