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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 27, 2016

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review: Fitting Tribute To The Sci-Fi Series Now Celebrating Its 50th Anniversary

“STAR TREK” started as a TV series in 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC, so it’s now celebrating its 50th anniversary. It developed a cult following called Trekkies, who keep track of the galactic adventures of Capt. James T. Kirk and his crew on Starship Enterprises in the 23rd century for the United Federation of Planets.

The 13th movie in its film franchise is now being shown, “Star Trek Beyond”. It is the third film since the movie series was rebooted by JJ Abrams in 2009 using time travel, with Chris Pine as the young Capt. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as the young Mr. Spock. This was followed by “Star Trek Into Darkness” in 2013 with Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain. Now comes “Star Trek Beyond”, directed by Justin Lin of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise as Abrams himself is busy with the new “Star Wars” movie.

“Star Trek Beyond” starts with Capt. Kirk trying to have a peaceful agreement with an alien race but he ends up being attacked by the creatures who look like small rugrats. After three years in outer space, Kirk is somewhat bored already, until they go on a rescue mission on a hostile nebula where they meet new alien foes led by Krall (Idris Elba, once again unrecognizable with prosthetics after playing animal characters in “Zootopia”, “Jungle Book” and “Finding Dory” and as Heimdall in “Age of Ultron”).

Krall leads a humongous constellation of warships that attack the Enterprise like a swarm of bees. He succeeds in bringing down the Enterprise in their own alien planet and the crew get disbanded. Spock and Dr. McCoy (Quinto and Karl Urban), who are not exactly fond of each other, get together after McCoy helps the wounded Spock. Kirk (Pine) and Chekov (the ill-fated Anton Yelchin who tragically perished in a freak accident after shooting the movie) get to form another team. Scotty (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the film’s script) teams up with a new amazon ally, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella of “Kingsman”), another alien stranded in Krall’s planet whose fondness for rock music will later come in handy against their enemies. Everyone is given his own moment to shine.

The other crew members led by Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Spock’s romantic interest, and Sulu (John Cho, who is suggested to be gay with a modern family) are held captive while Krall is putting together a new weapon with the help of an ancient relic that will kill all the inhabitants of the whole Federation. It becomes the mission of Kirk, Spock and company to rescue their imprisoned comrades and help take down the evil Krall.

“Star Trek Beyond” has a pretty simplistic narrative, but it is full of rip roaring action sequences and treats the original characters with much respect and affection. There’s even a special loving homage to the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, who passed last year. Pine is quite superb as Kirk, as respectable as Shatner used to be in the same role.

All the other actors act and behave on screen exactly as diehard Trekkies would expect them to. Needless to say, the special effects are all seamlessly impressive, like the slambang battle sequences and the scenes showing the Federation headquarters, Yorktown, that look like a big floating modern city on space with huge shopping centers.