movie-review_-star-trek-beyondParamount Pictures

“It isn’t uncommon, you know. It’s easy to get lost. In the vastness of space, there’s only yourself, your ship, your crew.”

A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall, a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims. Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that’s aboard the badly damaged starship. left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.

Everybody seems to want to hate on Star Trek Into Darkness. I don’t get it, really. I found myself rather enjoying the movie, despite it’s flaws. Maybe it was the flaws that gave it the flavor I enjoyed. Or, maybe people just feel funny if they admit to liking something on the Internet. Whatever. I liked Star Trek Into Darkness. That said, I also understand why it took a while to get a third installment of what is now referred to as the Kelvin Universe of these shiny new Star Trek movies. And, I guess, deep down I was also kind of hoping that the next movie would draw its strength from an original story, rather than borrowing from past Trek storylines.

And fortunately, despite some misgivings about the first trailer shown, it turns out Star Trek Beyond manages to hold its own, with an original story that feels more like a classic episode of TOS Star Trek. Something that’s hilariously lampshaded in the beginning of the film, I should say.

Here, the crew of the Enterprise is in the middle of its official five year mission, and everyone seems to be stuck in a rut. Captain Kirk contemplates taking on an Admiral position, which would mean he couldn’t captain a ship, while Spock considers taking up the mantle of Ambassador to Vulcan in the place of the recently deceased Prime Spock (is it just me, or does “Prime Spock” sound like an entree at a steak house?). This is put on hold when they head out to a distress call that turns out to be an ambush that results in the destruction of the Enterprise (again…I swear this happens every other movie, now) and the majority of the crew taken prisoner by an alien that seems to have a mad-on for the Federation. Kirk, Spock, Bones, McCoy, Chekov, and Scotty manage to evade capture, but they’re all scattered on the planet they crashed on, and it’s a bit dangerous going trying to find their way back. Fortunately, Scotty runs into someone who has been hiding out from the alien bad guy for much longer, and helps them all to free all the captured crew and thwart a plan to destroy the nearby Federation Puzzleball Space Station.

Overall, I think I may actually like Star Trek Beyond better than the first two. Yeah, I said it. Mainly because there’s more depth of character development, and it wasn’t just the Kirk and Spock show. Here, it’s Spock and McCoy together for the majority of the time, and the chemistry between those two works so well, I found myself demanding more screen time for those two. There are a couple of groaning points, mind you: The big twist reveal at the end that just made me (and probably more than just me) go, “Wha…?” And then there’s the way the Beastie Boys factored into defeating the enemy. Yeah. That happened.

So, basically, if you’ve been holding off watching Star Trek Beyond because you can’t get over the whole “inverted rip-off of Star Trek II” thing, get over yourself and go watch this. Recommended.