‘Star Trek: Beyond’ Review

The revamped addition to the ‘Star Trek’ series has enough character growth to keep us going, but plays its cards in favor of another predictable trek.

The ‘Star Trek’ installment doesn’t go ‘beyond’ our wildest expectations.

star trek
Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

With a series under the scrutiny and shadow of its genre, Star Trek has always dedicated itself to being the underdog. It never put future Jedis to the test or recruited rebellious forces against the Dark Side. Rather, it simply kept itself in the reality of the great unknown, working with nothing but human emotions of a spaceship’s recruits. Sure, throw in some Vulcan here and there; nevertheless, you still end up with a trek worth taking, and the only direction is towards the sky.

Through remakes and reboots, the story of the U.S.S. Enterprise gets stronger, and so do the representations of it. Just look to J.J. Abrams’ initial reboot back in 2009. It’s a sci-fi masterpiece with a depth as powerful and mysterious as space itself. And, luckily for us, this July’s Star Trek: Beyond keeps a steady grip on the fragile baton, even without Abrams running it through the finish line.

This venture has Captain Kirk and Co. exploring unseen territory for the likes of Starbase Yorktown, a hub of varied races and lifeforms that share in the concept of organized peace. However, when unrecognizable aliens cause a crash-landing for the Enterprise, the crew (meaning Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scott, Sulu and even Chekov) must work together to rescue themselves from the impending doom of these foreign outlaws, as well as the chilling bond that they share with the leader of the attack.

Beyond bites off more than it can chew at certain stages. The acting is superb, and the set/costume design has a natural flow and a significant value to its production. However, as deeply as I enjoy the concept of experimenting with character growth by forced separation, the plotline appears to be missing something, something vital that I cannot necessarily put my finger on. Maybe it’s this idea that the series has exhausted much of its arcs and twists through decades of reboots, rehashing and re-dos. Not to call it necessarily “predictable,” but a stronger word could be “inevitable.”

“Usually reboots or sequels of a beloved series with such a large dedicated fan base can be a serious hit or miss,” said long-time sci-fi fanatic and Garfield native, Masataka Takahashi, 20. “Yet, the new Star Trek movies are looking great! Today’s enhanced special effects and CGI immerse viewers like never before, and I am excited for more.”

In the end, Star Trek: Beyond satisfies our cravings for more. The adventure flick, directed by Fast and Furious’ Justin Lin, provides a hero’s journey worthy of today’s audiences and even applies conscious understanding and behavior to an unnerving vastness of galaxies. Hence, despite the occasional questionability of some of its tactics, this rendition reminds us that nostalgia can be both a blessing and a curse. And, for the sake of Beyond, the blessings are all too fruitful.

Up, up and away, underdog. Star Trek: Beyond is now playing in movie theaters worldwide. Some more local venues include AMC Clifton Commons 16, AMC Loews Wayne 14 and even Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas in the heart of downtown Montclair. For a list of even more theaters and show-times, visit fandango.com and start planning your trip to the movies today!

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