Thursday, July 21, 2016

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

The third installment of the rebooted series brings in the new director Justin Lin and sees the crew of the Starship Enterprise exhausted from over half of their five-year mission. The routine weighs on Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) as he reflects on another year past with his best friend Dr. Hank "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban). The duration has frayed relationships between Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Lieutenant Uhura (Zoe Saldana). A stop at the magnificent spectacle space station Yorktown brings a new mission that has the crew of the Enterprise traveling beyond an unnavigable nebula. 

When the action starts rolling it never lets up. Lin is an expert at showing ships swooping and soaring at breakneck speeds. The close-quarters gunfights and hand-to-hand combat suffer a bit from the rapid, shaking camera movement but other times, he hits the sweet spot of sci-fi action. The crew is scattered across a planet and each separate pair takes on a mission from Uhura and Sulu (John Cho) held captive by the villainous Krall (Idris Elba) who has mysterious motivations. Simon Pegg pulls double duty as a co-writer and starring as Montgomery Scotty, adding welcome humor to the script.

Kirk teams up with Chekov (Anton Yelchin) to find the crew. I will greatly miss Yelchin's performances appearing on screen, especially as the heavily accented Russian pilot. All of the acting is superb as the young cast has settled into their roles a lot more comfortably in this third go-round.  Scotty stumbles upon a mysterious warrior Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) who assist him with some awesome fighting and camouflage skills and a home that is more than it appears. 

The movie packs a punch, breathtaking action scenes and a plot that contains plenty of twists to keep viewers engaged if speeding spaceships aren't enough. The special effects are also awesome with great makeup jobs for the alien characters and the otherworldly settings taking imagination to a new level. A sense of fun permeates every action sequence combining it well with a tension and danger for these beloved characters.

The movie does a great job paying tribute to the legacy that it has and uses this deep history to expound on this new character while still feeling like a wholly new experience. A great tribute to Leonard Nimoy enhance the emotional impact and I can only think they will pay tribute to Anton Yelchin in the next installment. It does feel like another episode in the galactic journey of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise, but it is a great addition. 

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