HOLLYWOOD—It’s hard to fathom that just 7 years ago J.J. Abrams totally rebooted the “Star Trek” Franchise with a fresh approach and new faces. While that chapter was a massive hit at the box-office, and its sequel was quite entertaining as well, I wish I could make the same argument for the third chapter, “Star Trek Beyond.” The narrative follows the crew of USS Enterprise who are 2 years away from completing a five-year mission. When they arrive at the Starbase Yorktown to resupply, questions arise for finding meaning for their long journey.
In that process, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) questions where his life is headed, Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) decide to call it quits, Sulu (Jon Chu) reunites with family, and Scott (Simon Pegg) continues to work out all those kinks on the ship. If there is one thing that I have to argue that I absolutely love about the rebooted franchise is the fact that is not afraid to utilize comedy to its advantage. It actually helps make the franchise more relatable to those millennials who may have never seen the TV series or watched a movie.
Trust me I was one of those people, I thought the “Star Trek” TV series was one of the most boring things I ever watched. However, I soon discovered there is more happening than one suspects. The gang is all here including Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) who continues to divulge great advice and provide medical treatment to his crew, and we can’t forget discussing Anton Yelchin who returns as Pavel Chekov. “Star Trek Beyond” is just a reminder that the film industry lost a rising star way too early.
I think the biggest diversion from the first two installments of the rebooted franchise is the switch in directors and writers for this third outing. Abrams who helmed the camera for the first two movies passed on directing duties to Justin Lin, who recently helmed four installments in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Lin knows how to seriously craft a great action sequence, and “Star Trek Beyond” has quite a few of them that will indeed wow the audience, but the story is a bit flat, and that’s the problem.
Our main characters haven’t evolved that much since the last outing, we do have the introduction of the villain Krall aka Captain Balthazar Edison (Idris Elba). Edison is a former commander of the USS Franklin, who felt betrayed and became the mutated created known as Krall. “Beyond” attempts to hoodwink the audience with this twist if you want to call it that. Whereas, “Star Trek: Into the Darkness” couldn’t really hide the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch was the villainous Khan. That’s the problem here; the level of villainy is not as menacing as it was in the previous chapter. Krall is a worthy villain, but for those who have followed the franchise, he does not equate what many would call a worthy villain to the protagonists. His ultimate goal is to build a weapon that would disintegrate any human being. Per usual, we have a villain looking to have everyone bow down to them.
We do have the introduction of Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) who aligns with Kirk and other members of the USS Enterprise. She fluidly joins the narrative in a way that one wishes most characters in cinema could. She is a worthy female counterpart to Kirk who doesn’t just roll over at his every request. Also, it’s nice to see a bit of chemistry between Kirk and Jaylah.
Watching “Star Trek Beyond” gave me the notion that we were looking at the final chapter in this saga, but I’m hoping fans (who I have become one) can get one more outing that ups the stakes and the dangers for this crew that has unbelievable chemistry and who should go out with a bang if it is indeed the end.