Star Trek light, campy fun

There have been 13 Star Trek movies. Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the latest iteration of the revived series and boldly goes into a previously unexplored territory – one of formulaic predictability and campy fun.

The movie opens with Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) on a good-will mission to deliver an ancient weapon being offered as a symbol of peace. The gift is rejected by the menacing creatures — who turn out to be the size of teddy bears — as they attack him.

While this opening bit is clearly an homage to the campy original television series “I ripped my shirt again,” it hardly makes a compelling beginning to a story.

Back on the Enterprise, Kirk bemoans his ennui and seems disappointed that space exploration isn’t all it was cracked up to be. He rifles through his closet of identical captain’s uniforms, sighs and heads to the bridge.

He is bored and plans to apply for an assistant admiral position, which will take him back to the space station Yorktown once his five-year term is up.

Spock (Zachary Quinto) is also in a state of flux since Admiral Spock has now died (a nod to the late Leonard Nimoy). He has broken off his relationship with Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and is expecting to return to his home planet to assist in re-populating it.

While on Yorktown, a distressed ship arrives with an alien who claims her ship crashed on a planet on the other side of a nebula. She begs for help and Kirk volunteers for the mission, presumably in the hopes of a little novelty and excitement.

Upon passing through the dangers of the nebula, the Enterprise is attacked and destroyed by a swarm of ships. The surviving crew eject from the Enterprise, but are captured in their individual pods.

Because they were the last to eject, the key players (Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty and Chekov) find themselves wandering the terrain of a hostile planet alone, synching up later in the film.

It is up to the band of senior officers along with a local rebel fighter, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), to free the crew from the clutches of the evil Krall (an unrecognizable Idris Elba) who is determined to destroy Yorktown with a bio-weapon he’s created.

The script, written by actor Simon Peg (Scotty) and Doug Jung, marches forward with the assuredness of a tank through a cornfield and unfortunately, it is the lack of an interesting story line that makes Star Trek Beyond drag.

While the overriding theme of “together we stand, divided we fall” is a worthy one, we don’t learn anything new about the voyagers of this Enterprise, which is a shame.

One also has to wonder if the writers consulted the Independence Day Resurgence writers for the idea of the attack drones as the similarities in these two villainous armies is uncanny.

While J.J. Abrams was the director of the last two movies, Justin Lin (Fast and the Furious) is the director of Beyond and brings along his love of chase scenes and quick cutaway shots.

One might wonder at the impossibility of a motorcycle chase on an impossibly rocky planet, but it makes for a fun action sequence as Kirk conjures his Motocross mojo to save the day.

Indeed, there is lots to look at in Beyond and the 122 minutes pass quickly. The graphic design of Yorktown is nothing short of brilliant – like Elysium meets Escher.

This other world creation is a real highlight in the film and the CGI makes it work flawlessly.

The actors are excellently cast and it is their talent and faithfulness to their characters that truly is the heart of this film.

Where the last two Star Trek movies broke new ground and took the franchise to greater depths, this latest film seems to have pushed full “reverse thrust” and propelled the film back to the light and campy realm of the 1960s.

There is a slight feeling of flogging a dead horse (er, franchise) in this story that doesn’t seem to go anywhere, but if you’re looking for fun escapism some familiar characters, it’s an enjoyable movie.

I give this film 3 1/2 hearts.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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