Star Trek Beyond
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Star Trek Beyond

Justin Lin’s take on the iconic series is not your father’s Star Trek. It’s also not J.J. Abrams’ (although he is listed as a producer). This is a Star Trek for the gamer generation and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As it so often does, the story starts out with the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, led by the previous grouping of Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, and Zachary Quinto, being attacked by a mysterious new enemy who puts the fate of the entire Federation at risk. A teeny try at détente quickly leads to some major blasting action and, leaving a few of the key crew, along with some lesser known others, in trouble. Some are badly injured, a few wind up in weird new places, alone or dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Somehow we know things will all work out, they almost always do in these kinds of movies. But, it’s nice to see attention is paid, albeit fleetingly, to some of the stuff that’s always made this series more frankly emotional than many of its counterparts. The every-present intra-galactic harmony of the crew remains, enhanced this time by a newly and wordlessly revealed gay Sulu. It might be my imagination, but I could have sworn the camera slowed over the late Anton Yelchin’s face in the crowd when a toast is made to friends, here and departed. And the real life death of the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, is part of the story, which is kind of nice. None of this gets deeply explored or exploited, for better or worse.

What this new chapter is about is action and effects. And Lin, whose credits include several of the Fast and Furious movies, knows how to set up a stunt and keep it rolling. Credit, too, to his top notch set design and effects team: the film not only provides quite the ride, but offers up terrific scenery along the way.

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