STAR TREK: BEYOND is a stellar and well-rounded sequel to INTO DARKNESS and one of the best Star Trek movies yet, alongside 2009’s reboot and WRATH OF KHAN back in 1982. Although I really don’t have any claim to give in terms of in-depth knowledge of Star Trek lore, I do know enough (a little more than the casual moviegoer) to warrant an honest opinion on my own terms, in my own words.
The third installment in the rebooted Star Trek film series, BEYOND is written by Mr. Scotty himself, Simon Pegg, and Doug Jung and directed by FAST AND FURIOUS series regular Justin Lin. BEYOND is also produced by J.J. Abrams and long-time series producers and writers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci. This film has a very solid cast: Chris Pine returns as Captain James T. Kirk, as does Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock, Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Uhura, Karl Urban as Doctor McCoy/Bones, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu, and R.I.P. Anton Yelchin as Chekov. New and notable cast members are: Sofia Boutella as Jaylah and Idris Elba as the mysteriously menacing and intimidating Krall.
The story continues for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, picking up five years into their long-term space voyage to explore the space frontier and after the events of INTO DARKNESS. Kirk and Spock are leading the Enterprise very well, and the crew is happy and in relatively good spirits. They grow wary of their journey, not unhappy yet not completely satiisfied either. It’s to their good fortune that they come upon a massive space city that is Federation-owned. While there, Kirk and the Enterprise crew unwind and discuss their journey while also future prospects of their star trek as well. It’s not too soon later that a distress call of a desperate alien soul is heard and responded to by the U.S.S. Enterprise, only to find that something much bigger is at play, with evil at work as well…
If you haven’t already seen the film, to go any further would be to ruin some of the story twists and details, and I’m not one for that as you know. So, I will go over the well-done aspects and moments of the film while also covering its weaknesses, which all films have regardless of opinion: because that’s the truth.
First off, the story is very good, as the organic flow of the tale rewards those who pay close attention to it and every moment of the film plays into the story and helps the story move forward at the break-neck pace that it does. The acting, especially from Pine, Elba and Urban, and Pegg, is excellent and on-note with previous while also growing their characters in new and unexpected directions. Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto as Bones and Spock are given more character moments than they’ve had, definitely together, as they have to move forward together to survive and use their smarts and wits to do what they need to do. Boutella as Jaylah is a very good character whose unique characteristics is reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen-meets Hit-Girl, just with more wide-eyed wonder and way less R-rated language.
Idris Elba makes a menacing and complex villain out of Krall, whose mysterious past plays into who he is and his motivations to do what he villainously does is right up there with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan. Just like he utilized as Shere Khan in THE JUNGLE BOOK, his booming baritone goes a long way with his BEYOND performance as well: an intense performance with scary make-up and strong-willed multi-faceted character motivation whose ultimate plan falls a little flat, but remains a formidable threat nonetheless throughout.
Some minor nitpicks for the BEYOND film: while the film overall is a very good Star Trek (first) installment and great action film in its own right with a strong story and excellent acting, the lasting effects of the events in BEYOND will resonate with viewers as it will with the film’s characters, the story is limited in scope compared to STAR TREK and INTO DARKNESS. With that in mind, the story is focused on the single location for a good bit of time, as it needs to, but in doing so the stakes are not as high or impactful as the two previous STAR TREK films. While not really a setback, it’s not exactly a big boost either.
So, what’s the ultimate verdict for STAR TREK: BEYOND? In my own words and opinion for the film, I’d give it 4 stars out of 5 stars, and that your trek to the theater will be well worth your time and Earth credits :).