Fans of the original Star Trek TV series get ready to be blown away. The newest film in the J.J. Abrams rebooted series, “Star Trek Beyond,” feels like vintage Star Trek with plenty of big-screen action. At the same time, the film reaffirms the franchise’s core values of embracing the best parts of flawed humanity and finding hope in people’s goodness rather than despair in our human weaknesses.
Back to Basics
“Star Trek Beyond,” can easily be tagged as the sequel to 2009’s “Star Trek.” Penned by Simon Pegg (who reprises his role as Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott) and Doug Jung, we encounter Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise 966 (a nod to the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, debuting on TV in September of 1966) days into their 5-year mission. It seems like things have settled into routine. Stuck on the ship for so long, romances have developed, friendships have blossomed and Kirk sounds like a proud father as he talks about his crew while recording a new entry for the ship’s log. In a private conversation with Bones (Karl Urban), however, he confides that he’s finding things a bit monotonous. When they rendezvous with Yorktown, a Federation space station, he takes a dangerous assignment, exploring a seeming-impassable nebula.
The characters we love
When Enterprise crash lands on a planet just beyond the nebula, the fun part begins. Our favorite crew members are isolated in little groups. Kirk ends up with Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin), who hero-worships him and takes the alone time with the Captain to pick his brain about what makes good leadership. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones make for the most laughs, and Scotty has the good fortune to run into Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), a ninja chick who saves his life from the thugs of Krall (Idris Elba), the reigning bad guy. Krall captures the rest of the crew, including Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Cho), who spend their time trying to figure out why Krall is out to destroy Yorktown.
Our better nature
After lots of excitement Kirk and the Darth-Vader sounding Krall finally come face-to-face. Kirk tries to convince Krall that revenge killing will provide no relief to the disenchanted Krall. He appeals to what we would call humanity’s “better nature,” that part of ourselves that, despite the hurt and anger we sometimes feel, lives out of compassion and forgiveness.
Living up to our “better nature” can seem impossible at times. If one takes a good look at the world and all its wars, oppression, and injustice, it might lead one to despair if not for hope. With hope comes the attitude that, despite much evidence to the contrary, human beings are innately good and capable of great love. This is what Kirk wants Krall to see.
So, while you boldly go where no one has gone before with “Star Trek Beyond,” consider your own outlook on life and its weaknesses. Do you let the bad things get you down so much that your actions come from a place of anger or are you convinced in hope that good will ultimately win?