Abrams Combines Action with Roddenberry Philosophy

Hear “Take Two Movie Reviews” every Saturday and Sunday at  8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., on WHAV.

Hear “Take Two Movie Reviews” every Saturday and Sunday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., on WHAV.

As the 50th anniversary of the franchise approaches, we get the 13th motion picture, “Star Trek: Beyond.”

It opens with the Enterprise docking at star base Yorktown for shore leave. As some of the regulars deal with personal issues, a distress call comes in from a nearby nebula, to which the always gung-ho Kirk volunteers to respond.

The call turns out to be an ambush, set by this time’s villain, Krall, bent on retrieving an artifact in the crew’s possession, which is in fact part of a bio-weapon Krall wants to use to address his grievances. The Enterprise is promptly turned in to several pieces which crash on a forbidding planet, along with much of the crew in escape pods. Some of them are captured by Krall, while the rest work to release them and escape. New female character Jaylah is introduced as a scavenger living in a long-lost federation vessel found on the planet, and who works with engineer Scotty to make the vessel ready for the big escape.

In his third reprise of Kirk, Chris Pine is redefining Shatner’s interpretation…mostly in a good way. Zachary Quinto sticks to nailing the original Spock, also OK, given the character’s purpose. A prosthetics-covered Idris Alba works as the villain, Krall, though, like most Trek movies, a truly scary alien presence like the Dominion or Borg fails to materialize. The nature of Krall’s tactics and weapons is fresh, however.

J.J. Abrams has honed the art of combining action with the philosophy of Gene Roddenberry. The always-relevant conflict of peace, unity, and multiculturalism vs. strength and militarism is as present here, as it was when the first Romulans appeared 50 years ago. The theme’s not moved along much in “Star Trek: Beyond,” but it’s good to see it there.