At the movies: “Star Trek Beyond”
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
STAR TREK BEYOND: IMAX
* * * (B)
Directed By Justin Lin
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella
Paramount, Rated PG-13, Sci-Fi, 120 minutes
The “Star Trek” reboot threequel honors the primary relationships between Kirk, Spock and Bones (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban), careful to spend appropriate time with secondary characters, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov (Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and the late Anton Yelchin).
Communications specialist and perennial “lady” Uhura, wonders whether she and beau, Spock, have reached a romantic impasse. Scotty spends his time tinkering with propulsion technology; Sulu and his husband share a pubescent son; and Chekov remains the wide-eyed observer. Kirk ponders whether to leave the Enterprise for an administrative job; Spock has nearly resolved to leave the Federation in order to continue his deceased father’s Vulcan research; and Bones, functioning as everyone’s conscience, wanted or not, wishes things would stay the same. So do we.
Having toyed with sending its characters in new directions, the film settles for strengthening their bonds with a potentially Federation-ending crisis and with adding a heroic female warrior who softens the film’s male-centric focus.
Apparently, the Enterprise possesses a piece of high-tech weaponry desired by evil doer Krall, whose scheme brings the Enterprise into his own planetary backyard — just where he wants it. He viciously attacks the ship, prompting much of the crew to abandon the Enterprise in escape pods that land on the desert planet serving as Krall’s headquarters. Having held together long enough to shield much of its crew, the disabled Enterprise finally crashes onto Krall’s desolate planet.
Scotty emerges from his pod to meet Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an escapee from the underground caves and tunnels where Krall holds much of the Enterprise crew hostage. White as snow with icy-blue eyes, a long white mane and blue-black stripes down her cheeks, Jaylah goes undetected by Krall thanks to a cloaking technology she uses to hide the antique Federation ship where she resides. Her meeting with Scotty is fortuitous since the ship requires an expert mechanic’s attention in order to fly.
Krall, portrayed by Idris Elba beneath layers of blue-green, lizardy prosthetics, rumbles with discontent. The device he craves is within reach, yet, remains hidden. Krall wants to use it to restart evolution by ridding the universe of cooperative intelligent life forms he deems to be weak. He already wields a drone army capable of eating its way through all known materials, easily rendering any opposition helpless.
Having shared an escape pod, the banter between a stranded Spock and Bones constitutes one of the film’s pleasures. Written by Simon Pegg along with Doug Jung, the story trades a measure of Spock’s logic for an emotional bond to Uhura, causing him to seem like an awkward teen.
Inventive concepts frame action setpieces that often continue after they’ve run out of steam. “Beyond” is entertaining enough, but smarter editing, and fully recreating Spock as the character we know and love, would have made it great.