STAR TREK BEYOND Movie Review by The Commander


2-1/2 (out of 4 stars)

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.”  That is from the opening line from the Star Trek television franchise.  Unfortunately, the current film does not adhere to that philosophy.

What made Star Trek a fan favorite for decades was the writing talents of D.C. Fontana, who made the show very philosophical about the human condition and emotional conflicts, not just a battle of good versus evil.  The issue was how to determine what was right and what was wrong.  Different people have different opinions, which became the ideology behind the series.  One of my favorite episodes was the 1969 Star Trek: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, where two chromatic and mutually belligerent aliens put the enterprise in harm’s way in order to continue their old conflict.  Their bodies are split half black, half white, lengthwise (top to bottom), but mirror images of each other, which generates their racism amongst themselves.

Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious) directs this new rendition of the franchise, loading it with plenty of action and battle scenes, but fails to capture the philosophy and emotional ties between the characters.  The picture is void of any emotional response (as Bones would say).  Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), abandoning his destroyed ship, Spock (Zachary Quinto), learning of the death of his other self (Leonard Nimoy), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), breaking up with Spock, all show no sign of emotions. 


This is what you get when you pair an action movie director with a philosophical sci-fi film.  You’re left with mostly action sequences and battles.  The only redeeming character is the wit and sarcastic humor portrayed by Dr. Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban). The script, written by Simon Pegg (Scotty) and Doug Jung (with collaboration from a few other uncredited writers) yields an uninteresting story.  This is sci-fi, so expect sensational CGI, graphic detailed depictions of future Space Stations, battling spaceships, and other wizardry.  Too bad they didn't spend as much time working on the script.  It looks like they were much more intent on working out the finite details of the fight scenes.  They left the story in the battlefield’s dirt and destruction.


There was so much more that could have been delved, with regarding the enemy KralI (Idris Elba), a former star fleet officer who turned against the Federation.  Examination of that moral conflict alone would have been a great philosophical discussion.  What could have occurred in a person’s lifetime that would make him turn against his own race?  


I was disappointed in this movie, but as a Trekkie fan, I'm still going to see it on the big screen no matter what they do next, good or bad.