Star Trek Beyond goes beyond expectations

“Star Trek” is a franchise that seems to grow in power as time goes on. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the franchise and with the special occasion in mind, the third movie in the current series was released.

Going into “Star Trek Beyond”, I was a little weary of how it would turn out. Unlike the first two movies, “Beyond” was filmed under the new direction of Justin Lin, known for the “Fast and the Furious” franchise and was written by Simon Pegg, the actor who portrays Scotty, though J.J. Abrams was still involved as a producer. Another key difference is the focus in the character dynamics as opposed to the plot and enemies. With these in mind, I entered the theater with hopes that my beloved sci-fi series would still thrive.

“Star Trek Beyond” was not at all what I expected, and it was better for that. True to the promos, the movie really focused on the relationships between the characters more than the plot. In past movies, the focus tended to be on Captain Kirk (Chris Wood) and Spock (Zachery Quinto) and their growing friendship. In “Beyond”, the U.S.S. Enterprise has been on their five-year deep space journey for quite some time, so the relationships we saw develop were finally solidified, though there were a few exceptions. When the crew is separated, we observe all the characters in a new light we had not before seen. For example, we saw the pessimistic Bones (Karl Urban) and logical Spock interact, and the interactions were hilarious because of the differing personalities of the two.

While the movie had no shortage of character development and humor, it was lacking on the driving plot and the main villain, Krall (Idris Elba). Despite plenty of action, there were times when it seemed the plot was headed nowhere or there were loopholes. For instance, we know that Krall is a bad guy and wants to destroy the Federation, but his deep hatred towards the universe is never really explained and his origin story is still a bit sketchy as well as that of the weapon he procures.

“Beyond” set a lighter tone to the franchise, one I think will benefit the franchise in the long-term. The franchise is becoming more reminiscent of the Original series, and because of that, a new generation can learn to love “Star Trek” just as much as previous generations. Only time will tell if this will happen, and with the announcement that the fourth movie has been greenlighted, this will hopefully become reality, especially since we will see the return of Kirk’s father, George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) which will surely bring about an interesting plot.     

Movie: Star Trek Beyond

Director: Justin Lin

Release Date: Jul. 22, 2016

Rating: 4 ½ Stars