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Movie Night – ‘Star Trek Beyond’ brings plenty of action along with witty fun

By Bradley Griffith

Star Trek movies are entertainment for those of us who aren’t really science fiction fans.  The films intentionally aren’t hard core on the sci-fi aspect so they can be enjoyed by a wider audience.  “Star Trek: Beyond” is no different.
The movie opens with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) making a peace offering to an alien race on a planet light years from Earth.  He’s trying to broker a truce between two alien species.  Kirk’s mission does not exactly go as planned.  The mission ends when Kirk is beamed back aboard the USS Enterprise before he can be overrun.

The Enterprise is three years into a five-year mission.  Their mission is to explore the universe and discover new planets and lifeforms.  To boldly go where no one has gone before.  The Enterprise docks at Starbase Yorktown, a gargantuan space station in deep space.  The ship needs to re-supply and the crew gets some much needed rest and relaxation before continuing their mission.

Their fun is cut short when an escape pod arrives at the space station.  The lone occupant of the pod tells a story about her stranded ship and crew.  They are in need of rescue in a nearby nebula.  The Enterprise is immediately tasked As the Enterprise nears the location of the stranded ship they encounter an enemy unlike one they have ever seen.  Rather than one large ship, many smaller ships attack the Enterprise as one in a swarm-like formation.  Not only do the enemy ships fire at the Enterprise, they engage in kamikaze attacks and board the Enterprise in droves.

The enemy leader, Krall (Idris Elba), is searching for something.  Krall seeks a powerful weapon he believes is on the Enterprise, and he will do whatever it takes to secure it.  Kirk outsmarts Krall for the weapon, but in the process the Enterprise is completely destroyed.  Many of the crew die, and those who remain flee to a desolate planet, landing far from each other.  They must find each other, for only together do they have a chance to defeat Krall.

“Beyond” is a typical Star Trek movie.  It provides an enormous amount of sci-fi action and adventure.  By the time one action scene concludes another begins.  The movie moves at a swift pace and before you know it the credits are rolling.

“Beyond” is the third movie in the re-boot of the series, all produced by J.J. Abrams.  The same actors appear in all the same roles, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban as Dr. “Bones” McCoy, Zoe Saldana as Lt. Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scottie, John Choo as Sulu, and Anton Yelchin as Chekov.  The actors have great chemistry and the banter between them is always entertaining.  The ensemble cast is one of the best in the business.

The only drawback of “Beyond” is that it’s not as serious as the previous installments of the re-boot.  The main themes of the movie are loyalty and camaraderie, though these aren’t dealt with in any depth.  Krall’s most memorable line of the movie is that this is where the frontier pushes back.  While the frontier makes what amounts to a half-hearted effort at pushing back, there’s never any real sense that Kirk and company will lose the battle.

Instead, “Beyond” is a more light-hearted, watered-down version of the previous movies.  “Star Trek Into Darkness” is, true to its name, much darker and more of a serious drama.  “Beyond” is full of action and is funny in a witty way.

If you’re looking for an action movie with no thinking required, “Star Trek Beyond” is the one for you.  It’s mindless entertainment that will keep a smile on your face.  In other words, it’s a typical summer blockbuster.

Grade: B+

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.