Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

This year is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and what better way to celebrate than with the release of a Star Trek Movie.  Star Trek: Beyond, the third movie set in the alternate Star Trek Timeline started by JJ. Abrams back in 2009; continues the story of the Enterprise crew, 3 years into their 5 year mission to explore deep space.  Needing to stop for supplies their story starts with them docking up at the Federations newest deep space way-station called Yorktown.

As with most Star Trek movies, there is a villain, we get introduced to fairly early on, and the plot moves us forward in the movie at a quick pace.  The story in Star Trek: Beyond is great, with a classic Kirk vs ‘the Bad Guy’ plot line we are very familiar with.  One thing to note that makes this movie quite unique, is the fact you learn early on in the movie that Kirk, played by (Chris Pine) isn’t feeling cut out for being the Captain of a Starship, and starts to second guess himself being in this role, since he originally joined up on a dare.  In the other movies, Kirk was always portrayed as a great leader, an exceptional captain, and someone who’s always gotten out of the unique situations he and his ship were thrown into because he’s James T Kirk.  This is where these new Star Trek movies feel so fresh and new, and Star Trek Beyond especially.  Let me explain.

Spoiler below if you have not seen any of the previous ‘new’ Star Trek movies.

Originally we had the Original 6 Star Trek movies with the original cast, then we had a few Next Generation movies, which tied a few loose ends with 1 of the movie (Generations) as well as completed the story for the Next Generation crew after the completion of their TV series.  In 2009 when JJ Abrams released ‘Star Trek’ we learned that because of a Timeline Paradox, a completely new timeline was created when Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) traveled back into the past along with a Romulan named Nero, who ended up destroying the planet Vulcan.  This paradox created an alternate timeline where things didn’t happen the same as the Original TV series or movies, which is how you can explain why the actors playing the well known characters like Kirk, Spock and McCoy are the same, but different.  It was a brilliant idea to bring something old, and new at the same time.  By having the late Leonard Nimoy portray his role of Spock in the first 2 movies of this timeline (we’ll call it the Kelvin Timeline, as per Star Trek Online, and because of the destruction of the USS Kelvin by Nero) they were able to build a lot of backstory, but also use a lot of existing story and alter it to fit.

Unlike the previous movies, Star Trek: Beyond goes into a whole new direction, but also takes us along a familiar path.  The story takes us on a strange journey compared to what we are used to with Star Trek.  You might think this is a problem, but the writing and dialog for ‘Beyond’ was so perfectly done.  Each main cast member has probably the best scripts for any Star Trek movie, with just the right amount of crass and jokes thrown in to keep things from getting to heavy.  Each cast member also has an almost equal part of screen time in the movie.  If we go back to ‘Into Darkness’ I felt the late Anton Yelchin (Chekov) didn’t get an as much screen time as the others.  In ‘Beyond’ he has a fairly good chunk of screen time, and that is what was needed.

Anton Yelchin (March 11, 1989 – June 19, 2016)

Now to the sad part of things.  Anton Yelchin was taken from this world shortly before this movie was to be released, and his absense will most definitely be felt in the next movie.  I know I felt a bit of sadness with every scene involving him, knowing that he is no longer with us.  He would be proud though of the work he did in ‘Beyond’ as his portrayal of Chekov was flawless, and I hope I speak for everyone in that we will miss him.

Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015)

It is hard to write about Star Trek and not mention Leonard Nimoy.  For the better part of  his life he was involved in some aspect of Star Trek, and this was so true with the Kelvin timeline movies.  He was a big part of the original story of how this timeline came about, and he continued to play a part in the first 2 movies (Star Trek andStar Trek Into Darkness)  albeit his role in ‘Into Darkness’ was short with only a few lines, it still had a huge impact on the movie.  Alas Leonard Nimoy has joined so many of the original cast from the original Star Trek series and movies, and his presence in ‘Beyond’ and it will be missed, he was still shown great respect and had an effect on the movie.  The entire cast and crew showed great honor in his memory.  When I sat down to watch ‘Beyond’ I wasn’t sure if there would be anything in the movie to honor his memory, and I was pleased to see it done really fast in the beginning of the movie, and once again at the credits.  A legend in this world, and he will be missed.

I want to say that as a Star Trek fan for the majority of my life, this movie was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie.  I was stuck to my seat and nothing would have made me leave it until the movie ended, and even then, I wanted to stay for the next screening.  If you are a fan of Star Trek, you will enjoy this movie.  If you are not a fan of Star Trek, but are willing to enjoy a Sci-fi movie, then I think you would enjoy this movie also.  Who am I kidding, its a great movie for everyone to see.  Go on, go see it ASAP.

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