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Refuge Reviews-Star Trek: Beyond

Star Trek Beyond is a return to form for the series after 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Star Trek franchise and I am happy to say that Star Trek Beyond is a fitting birthday gift to the fans. At the end of Into Darkness, the Enterprise and her crew set off on their five year mission to "explore strange new worlds," and that is where we pick up the story, three years into their mission. Captain James T. Kirk played charmingly suave once again by Chris Pine, is debating about leaving the captaincy of the Enterprise for a desk job while Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) receives sad news from New Vulcan, where the last of his alien race reside. These personal dilemmas have to be put on hold however when a mysterious alien seeking help leads them to a planet controlled by the villainous Krall (played by a menacing Idris Elba). Its a compelling set-up and one that does a service to all the members of the Enterprise crew, giving them all a chance to shine in the events of the film. The crew is split up at one point and the pairings offer lots of good character moments, particularly the duo of Spock and Dr. McCoy (the always underrated Karl Urban). Their chemistry as they banter back and forth like an old married couple is a blast to watch. A new ally is introduced in this film as well, a female alien named Jaylah, a very tough warrior that encounters Scottie and Kirk and teams up to find a way to rescue the rest of the crew from Krall. 

One of my big criticisms of Star Trek Beyond is the handling of Krall's dastardly plan. It is never fully explained and requires a lot of jumps in logic on your part to understand. A big twist that comes late into the movie explains some of it but not the how and why, leaving you feeling like you need to see it again to catch something that you might have missed. Despite his plan not working in the context of the film, Krall as a villain is still very cool and refreshingly different from antagonists that the Enterprise and her crew have faced in the past.

The original Star Trek TV series from creator Gene Roddenberry was inspired heavily by real world events and topics and that has been something that the most recent rebooted films have largely ignored until now. Beyond does subtly bring up some real modern day issues and addresses them in a non-political and mature way that is refreshing amongst the sc-fi action and adventure. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the movie franchise as well as the upcoming TV show on CBS.

Consensus:

Star Trek Beyond is a roller coaster of a film with spectacular visual effects, a rousing musical score, strong performances from the entire Enterprise crew and a story with something to say! If only the villain's plan was better explained and it would be in the upper echelon of Trek films. I think that both casual and hardcore fans of Star Trek and anyone who enjoys sc-fi or action films will enjoy it! "Boldy Go" and see it on the biggest movie screen you can for the best experience!

Family Friendliness:

Star Trek Beyond is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence. There is very little language in this film and no sexual content. The violence is largely bloodless but many characters do die and often violently. There are some intense scenes that will likely be too much for younger viewers. I would say 13+ is right for this latest Star Trek film.

Rating: 4.25/5