Star Trek— Beyond

We are now in the middle of blockbuster season, and the third episode in the Star Trek reboot is upon us, for another two hours of rockem’ sockem’ sci fi, courtesy of Justin Lin, the director of the Fast and Furious series. This episode tries to take us back to the days of the humor of the original Star Trek, with the witty character development and dialogue, but Lin is unfortunately far too anxious to get to the next fight scene, which in any case he specializes in, and so plot, philosophy, character development, science and some of the humor suffers. I would have much preferred it if J.J. Abrams had continued to direct these films. It would have been better. The script this time is partly by Simon Peg, who plays Scotty, and there are some good scenes and moments, but I would have expected more wit since that is Peg’s strength, and less spit and head splits.

And for those not uber-alert, we are dealing with our characters in an alternate universe, which is why in the first movie in this series there were two Spocks, sort of. These of course are younger versions of the first set of the crew have the same character as the original set, but they have different trajectories and different outcomes are possible, ala Back to the Future, sort of. Are you confused yet? The one new character that is interesting and likable is the uber-white chick, Jaylah, who wants to escape from the lost planet, and lives in the shell of the old U.S.S. Franklin. She was fun. She is played by a female actress named Sofia Boutella from Algeria.

Now as to the current movie, it has its entertaining moments, and certainly the new set of actors do a good job in their roles, and it is nice to have Idris Elba as the bad guy Krall. Here is the official summary of the plot for this film….

“A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), 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 (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.”

Even in regard to the fighting, some things needed to be explained, that went begging, for instance how does the wicked device work that Krall seeks to help him destroy the Federation? How does it penetrate shields and destroy everything in its path? There are many more such imponderables in this film (e.g. how did the Franklin get into the Yorktown space station without the shields being lowered?).

Is this a family friendly movie? I’d say not for young children— too much violence, and the bad guys are really scary looking. Doubtless it will please the video game generation that they get another big screen film that is much like a video game in many scenes. My wife and I saw the film in XD and it really wasn’t worth the extra expense, although at the end during the credits there were lovely 3D scenes of cruising through galaxy. We could have used more of that in the movie itself. This movie is alright, but I’d say it is the weakest of the three reboots for the most part. Give us more sci fi, and real science, and exploration of space, and philosophical reflections like the original series, and less rockem sockem aliens.

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