a critiQal film review Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Plot: The Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

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While spending the month at Myrtle Beach, we discovered a nice perk of the Ocean Reef Resort we are staying at. Namely, it’s the ability to get the latest releases on DVD for free. While it is limited (only one at a time), we jumped at the chance to check out some newer films. This week, it’s Star Trek Beyond.

After successfully rebooting the Trek universe with Star Trek (2009), the follow-up, Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013), kind of slipped past our radar. However, we still wanted to check out the third film in the new series, Star Trek Beyond. Would this second sequel keep the reboot alive, or has Chris Pine and Co. – especially with the recent deaths of original Spock Leonard Nimoy and new Chekov, Anton Yelchin – come to the end of their journey?

The biggest challenge of any reboot is putting new faces to familiar characters. Thanks to some surprisingly smart casting choices, this new cast exploded onto the scene two films ago with a bang. Thankfully, even after two films, this cast still seems fresh and exciting, with Chris Pine’s Capt. Kirk leading the way. Simon Pegg is still a standout as Scotty (seeming to challenge the original), while Karl Urban as Bones refreshes that role even while bringing a new spin. Zoe Saldana (who, with the success of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), now has two successful franchises) is still smart as Uhura, and Zachary Quinto seems a more obvious choice than ever to take over the role of Spock. John Cho’s Sulu and Anton Yelchin’s Chekov don’t get as much screen time in this sequel as the previous ones, but are still entertaining. It’s just too bad that STAR TREK BEYOND has turned into this new Chekov’s swan song.

Idris Elba takes on the role of bad guy Krull in Star Trek Beyond. Although he’s totally unrecognizable for most of the film, his character gets enough of a back story that he’s not just a faceless villain. Add in the obvious threat he brings to our heroes, and while he may not be one of film’s most iconic villains, he proves to be a decent villain for this film.

As with most of the films in the series (both original and reboot), the plot is rather simplistic, with the crew facing some new unknown in a previously uncharted region of space. Thankfully, this film, like it’s predecessors, turns that plot into something worth watching. That’s even more impressive when you realize how many times the Trek universe has used this same type of plot.

The special effects, as in most sequels, try to go for bigger this time around. Unlike some other sequels, however, they don’t just try for bigger – they aim for more impact on the viewer. While the previous film saw a planet destroyed, this time around the damage is aimed more personally at the crew – namely the Enterprise and it’s crew members. It makes for a more exciting film when the effects aren’t just thrown in for, well…effect, but add to the storyline.

While Star Trek Beyond doesn’t provide quite as much fun as the first film in the series, it’s a fun new sequel for fans of the previous films. With these new faces becoming more and more familiar in the iconic roles with each passing film, and the filmmakers continuing to make each sequel not only entertaining by itself, but a fun continuation of the series.

With the fate of the series up in the air (will they continue without Yelchin?), Star Trek Beyond could be Chris Pine and Co.’s swan song in the Trek universe. But, with the entertainment value still high, here’s hoping there’s another sequel coming soon.

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