DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

STAR TREK BEYOND (director/writer: Justin Lin; screenwriter: Simon Pegg/Doug Jung/based on Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry; cinematographer: Stephen F. Windon; editors: Greg D’Auria, Dylan Highsmith, Kelly Matsumoto, Steven Sprung; music: Michael Giacchino; cast:  Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Commander Spock), Zoe Saldana (Lieutenant Uhura), John Cho (Sulu), Simon Pegg (Montgomery "Scotty" Scott), Karl Urban (Dr. "Bones" McCoy), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Idris Elba (Krall), Sofia Boutella (Jaylah), Lydia Wilson (Kalara), Joe Taslim (Manas), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Commodore Paris); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Bryan Burk; Paramount Pictures; 2016)

"A decent film in the long-standing series."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Justin Lin ("Fast and Furious"/"Annapolis") efficiently directs the new 13th film from the Star Trek franchise and manages to bring to the screen a decent film in the long-standing series. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung co-write it with Lin.

For the last three years the USS Enterprise has been in uncharted outer space territory probing for unknown things at the request of the Federation. Its mission might be necessary but is boring to the crew, and runs for two more years. Danger lurks for the Enterprise after a stopover at the spaceport at Yorktown. There the Starship accepts a rescue assignment. But the alien reptile creature called Krall (
Idris Elba), who is obsessed with retrieving an artifact in the possession of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) that acts as a "death machine, " sets an ambush and attacks the Enterprise with a swarm of metallic space “bees”  that wrecks it. The crew survives, but is marooned without its spaceship on the hostile planet of Altamid and scattered across the rocky planet.

Besides Kirk, there's the usual crew of
the cerebral Spock (Zachary Quinto), the gay Sulu (John Cho), Spock's former girlfriend Uhura (Zoe Saldana), the chatty doctor Bones (Karl Urban), the nerdy engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), and the Russian Chekov (Anton Yelchin, who died, at 27, two months ago in freak accident). Also welcomed aboard is the new member, a war-painted zebra-faced warrior alien, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).

As Krall threatens the safety of the captives Uhura and Sulu to gain the powerful artifact, Kirk and Chekov go to rescue them. It leads to an explosive special effects final siege at Yorktown and the take-down of the mighty warrior Krall.

It feels like an expensive TV episode
of the Gene Roddenberry series, as it maintains its appeal to both its Trekkie fans and a large mainstream audience. Future installments seem a certainty. Even if the film has questionable plot points, too much corny sermonizing for togetherness for my taste, and a villain who is more psycho than interesting, it's still a well-received and fun pop culture sci-fi film.

It offers
a sincere tribute to the late Leonard  Nimoy, to whom the film is dedicated to. There’s also a post-film dedication to Anton Yelchin.

REVIEWED ON 7/22/2016       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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