Director Lin takes ‘Star Trek Beyond’ where none have gone before

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Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Directed by Justin Lin

Did “Star Trek Beyond” go boldly enough? As 4-time “Fast and Furious” director Justin Lin took over as captain of the ship, his outing sped “Star Trek” into a different dimension…just not one we might all like. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is lost. Not geographically lost, but personally lost. He’s been with the same crew, in space, for three years, and he’s exhausted by the artificial gravity and very real sense of isolation. He’s looking for something steady and grounded and based on a planet. But before he gets his chance, the Enterprise is attacked out of the blue by a swarm of mechanical mini-crafts. The crew, including Kirk, Sulu (John Cho), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scottie (Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote the script), and Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin) must abandon ship. Some are captured, some land on a neighboring island. More important, though, is the ancient relic that’s stolen from the Enterprise—one that has the ability to vaporize the population of a nearby ally planet. With the help of a local, Jaylah (Sophia Boutella), Kirk and the others will lead a rescue mission to retrieve the rest of their crew and stop the evil Krall (Idris Elba) from killing hundreds of thousands.

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The big-budget action adventure filmed on location in Canada, Korea, Dubai, and their Los Angeles Paramount studio to achieve maximum effect. The planet on which the crew of the Enterprise landed is breathtaking in the micro- and macrocosm, with small woodland creatures, marvelous rock formations, and glorious mountain ranges. The stars’ make-up, too, is out of this world good. Idris Elba becomes the second big name actor this summer to don thick blue full-body prosthetics to become a superhuman in a Hollywood blockbuster. But Idris is also the second actor to perform below his potential wearing all that blue skin (of course, I’m referring to Oscar Isaac in “X-Men: Apocalypse” earlier this year). The big-name cast is stacked, but nobody breaks out to give a performance that might give “Beyond” an edge over its two well-received predecessors. Simon Pegg’s comedic script helps, a little, but it also makes “Beyond” too safe. Aside from Anton Yelchin, who died tragically this past spring, all the major players in this well-rounded cast will logically appear in the next “Star Trek” sequel. Isn’t it time to put some peril into this franchise, full of plasma blasters and the dangers of space travel? It’s too sheltered, too crowd-pleasing. Surely you could do without one of your stars. Surprise us.

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 “Star Trek Beyond” puts its inflated budget to good use creating a series of new environs that will give your day a little bit more awe. But what it does in those environs leaves something to be desired—mostly, that sense of adventure that only comes when you fear for a character’s life. We’re still waiting for that.

6.5/10

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