Star Trek Beyond

There is a brief moment where one of the Enterprise lads unites with his child and gay partner. George Takei should be proud.

Star Trek BeyondI took my foreign exchange student to see Star Trek Beyond in the IMAX theater at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis, and it proved to be a perfect venue.  Director Justin Lin, coming off his recent success last year with Fast & Furious 6, has succeeded in bringing us a rather poignant story of likeable characters fighting for survival on an unknown planet.

I know that many of you shy away from the Star Trek films, but this movie proves to be as surprisingly enjoyable as the recent Tarzan film.  Additionally, the film finds a way to honor and memorialize the late Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, and does the same for the talented Anton Yelchin who recently died at the age of twenty seven in a tragic accident in his driveway.

Importantly, the film, co-written by Simon Pegg, is spirited, sarcastic and inventive.  As an example, Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) are repeatedly engaged in hysterical exchanges, the most memorable focusing on the necklace that Spock gave to his “love interest” Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Was the gift just based on affection or the fact that it contained a piece of Vulcan jewelry that Spock could track.

The film is filled with some great special effects. It was fascinating to watch the USS Enterprise be destroyed by projectiles that appear to be launched from some type of volcano, not to mention Captain Kirk’s (Chris Pine) wild ride on a motorcycle done to distract the enemy’s attention.

All of the actors give wonderful performances, beginning with Chris Pine as Kirk.  Simon Pegg is his usual breath of fresh air as a very funny Scotty and John Cho gives some grace to his performance as Sulu.  However, Idris Elba again stands out as the villain Krall, and he continues to excel in such roles as seen in The Jungle Book, Zootopia, Beasts of No Nation and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

However, Sofia Buoutela commands your attention as Jayla, an escape prisoner who helps the isolated Enterprise gang have a fighting chance to survive.  She is startlingly attractive in her white face with black stripes, and I think she could be a hit on the runway at any fashion show in Paris.

Again, Mr. Lin’s film excels at moments where it pays tribute to the late Mr. Nimoy.  In addition, there was a tear in my eye as I watched Mr. Yelchin’s endearing recreation of Chekov.  This movie was his swan song, and I can only encourage you to hunt down this year’s Green Room, where he is memorable in a dark, violent movie that remains one of the best films of 2016.