Star Trek Beyond, rated PG-13
This is the 13th feature film based on the late-1960’s Gene Roddenberry television series that my brother used to love to watch, on the 50th anniversary of the start of that series. After two reboot films directed by J.J. Abrams, this film is directed by Justin Lin, who has directed four Fast and Furious films. Abrams is listed as a producer on this film. The film is co-written by Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty) and Doug Jung. The film had an estimated budget of $185 million and is projected to make about $60 million in the U.S. on its opening weekend.
The film, which film takes place two and a half years after 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, opens and closes like the original television program with a voiceover by Captain Kirk, played well by Chris Pine. The USS Enterprise is in the third year of a five-year 23rd century mission. Kirk is feeling bored and ready for a change, so he applies for a Vice Admiral position at a large space station known as Starbase Yorktown.
Mr. Spock, played by Zachary Quinto, is also looking to make changes when he hears about the death of Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy, who died in 2015). Although they want to tell each other about their plans, they don’t do so. The film also addresses a relationship Spock has with Uhura, played by Zoe Saldana.
Soon, the Enterprise receives a distress call to rescue a stranded ship. But they have been set up by an alien who has lied to them. It’s an ambush set up by Krall, a villain played by Idris Elba (who has had quite the year, starring in The Jungle Book, Finding Dory and Zootopia). Kirk has something that Krall needs. We will find out later in the film about Krall’s surprising past.
The Enterprise is badly damaged by the attack, and is going to crash. To survive, the crew members escape the Enterprise in pods. While Kirk and Chekov, played by the late Anton Yelchin, investigate the planet, Sulu, played by John Cho, Uhura, and much of the crew are captured and held by Krall. Bones, played by Karl Urban, assists a badly injured Spock. The members of the crew of the Enterprise are separated and must find each other on the planet. They are stranded on a remote planet with no means of communication back to Starfleet.
While on the planet they meet the alien Jaylah (Sofia Boutella). Her home is an abandoned Starfleet U.S.S. Franklin ship. She has reason to seek revenge against Krall, and is the key to getting the crew safely off the planet. Jaylah is named for Jennifer Lawrence, and inspired by her independent character Ree Dolly from the 2010 film Winter Bone.
This is a fun and exciting summer film. Lin keeps the action moving. It has some brilliant computer generated animation, and a good music score from Michael Giacchino. The story is a good one and not too complex to follow. The film features characters we are familiar with and who have good interaction, aided by plenty of humor. There is a small amount of profanity early in the film which is played for laughs. I hope that this cast returns for a fourth film.
Note: Sulu is portrayed in this film as being gay, as we see him with his partner and daughter at Yorktown. Writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin made the decision to portray Sulu as gay as a tip of the hat to George Takei, who originally played Sulu, and is a homosexual.
The film is dedicated to Leonard Nimoy, who died last year and Anton Yelchin, who died at age 27 on June 19.