In this third installment of the rebooted franchise, the crew of the starship Enterprise, now three years into its five year mission, docks at starbase Yorktown (think “Elysium” but bigger and fancier) for a bit of shore leave while much-needed supplies are replenished. A disillusioned Kirk ponders a future off of a starship, while Spock seems to have also reached a crossroads, though for a very different reason. Then all hell breaks loose.

Yorktown retrieves an escape pod whose sole occupant claims her ship is stranded on the planet Altamid in a nearby nebula. The Enterprise is sent on a rescue mission only to find a deadly ambush orchestrated by the alien known as Krall (Idris Elba). Separated during the attack, the crew must not only reunite, but find some way of defeating the ruthless Krall and saving the inhabitants of Yorktown and the entire Federation from the grips of his diabolical stratagem.

Let’s get the not-so-great stuff out of the way, shall we?

Several of the frenetic action sequences, particularly the first space battle, were shot in such a way that it made it pretty difficult to tell what was going on. As one of my friends I watched the movie with said afterward, “Some of those scenes made me dizzy and not in a good way.”

This isn’t necessarily an indictment of director Justin Lim, cinematographer Stephen Windon, or any one of the six (yes, six) production companies who had a hand in this movie.

I’ve just never been a fan of that style of cinematography.

The Simon Pegg/Doug Yung written screenplay is decent, though perhaps a little too straightforward; no shocking reveals or real surprises along the way. One final, very minor thing that has to be mentioned; the Rihanna song in the middle of the closing credits seems ridiculously out of place. But who stays for the credits, right?

poster stb

Now on to the good stuff:

The synergy of the Enterprise crew is as good as in the previous two movies, maybe even better.

The requisite witty banter is spirited, plentiful and well-timed. There also seemed to be a more even distribution of screen time through the seven principal players. The introduction of Jaylah, brilliantly played by Sofia Boutella, was another highlight. Kirk as the disenchanted, burned-out Captain, looking for a change only to realize that he has exactly what he wants, and very much needs was a great aspect of the character to explore. Michael Giacchino’s score was as strong as in the last two movies, with good pace and power. Nods to the past were again well done, particularly the integration of the tribute to the great Leonard Nimoy, who passed away during pre-production.

It will be interesting to see what we get in Star Trek IV, not only from the storyline viewpoint; Anton Yelchin’s tragic death in June has left a void on the bridge of the Enterprise, and whether it will be filled, either by way of recasting the role, or by another navigator (Jaylah perhaps?) remains to be seen.

So though it may at times be nausea-inducing, Star Trek Beyond is as fun and entertaining as its two predecessors. Hardcore fans will probably have seen it multiple times by now, but if you’re a casual fan and have a couple of hours to kill, check it out. Barf bag optional.

Star Trek Beyond receives 3 ½ photon torpedoes out of 5

– Greg Randolph

– In Loving Memory –

Leonard Simon Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015)
Anton Viktorovich Yelchin (March 11, 1989 – June 19, 2016)