Friday, August 19, 2016

Phil sees STAR TREK BEYOND in 2D from Paramount Pictures - August 17, 2016

In 2009, director J.J. Adams relaunched creator Gene Roddenberry's beloved sci-fi franchise with his rebooted film STAR TREK. While it divides Trekkies worldwide, it nonetheless scored huge with audiences and became the biggest summer blockbuster of that year. In 2013, Abrams returned with STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, a film that I enjoyed so much I saw the film twice on opening day! Now in 2016, Abrams has stayed on producer as he's passed the director's chair to Justin Lin (FAST AND FURIOUS fame) for the newest installment of the rebooted series STAR TREK BEYOND.

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Before I review the movie, there are two things that I would like to address real quick. Both have to do with movie, but more importantly, it's about two of the series' actors.

On February 27, 2015 legendary actor Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. For fans all over the world, this was such a shock and tragic loss. Not only was he everybody's favorite Vulcan Spock, but he was also Leonard Nimoy: actor, father, husband and artist. The outpouring from the masses was overwhelming. From hardcore fans, people in Hollywood, even President Obama mentioned the loss of this man. When the franchise was rebooted in 2009, Abrams brought back Nimoy's Spock and made him the catalyst for the new timeline that was established in the new films. This Spock Prime character was the bridge between the classic STAR TREK series and this new series. With his death, there is now a big hole in the franchise that will never, ever be filled.

This past June 19, 2016, actor Anton Yelchin was tragically killed in a freak accident when he was pinned between his jeep vehicle and the brick mailbox. He was only 27 years old. The STAR TREK community and movie fans alike began an outpour of shock, sadness and disbelief. At the time of his death STAR TREK BEYOND was only a month away for its release date. Now, audiences would see him in this, the last STAR TREK film that the young actor would appear in. Shortly after his death, J.J. Abrams told the media that he would not recast the role of Chekov, out of respect for Yelchin. The entire cast of the film posted their griefs via several media outlets, saying that he was just an talented actor but they had all lost a good friend.

With these two sad passings still fresh in our subconscience, STAR TREK BEYOND serves as a fitting tribute to these two actors. In fact, Nimoy's death is actually worked into the script, which was written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. Zachary Quinto's Spock learns of Spock Prime's death and now must come to terms with what this means to him. At the same time, the crew of the Enterprise led by Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), now on its "996th day of it's five-year mission" encounter a new villain in the form of Krall (played by the brilliant Idris Elba). With a skeleton crew and their new ally Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), Kirk must free the rest of his crew and stop Krall from destroy the Federation space station Starbase Yorktown.

Justin Lin does an amazing job of continuing the film's visual look and tone from Abrams, but manages to make it in his own vision as well. The only main difference between these two men can be boiled down to two words: lens flares. Yup, there are no lens flares to be found anywhere in the movie. Now I'm perfectly fine with or without them but I will admit that you can really see more of the movie without them. And Lin's framing and set-ups are action packed awesomeness!!

STAR TREK BEYOND is one of the best sci-fi summer blockbusters of the year!! It's got action, thrills, humor and also humanity. It's hard to watch this film without thinking of Nimoy and Yelchin. The movie is a fitting tribute to these two men as well as all of those who have left us over the years. So make sure you see this epic motion picture on the big screen!! 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

STAR TREK BEYOND is playing in 2D, Real 3D and in IMAX theaters nationwide, including the Century Greenback 16 in Sacramento. Check your local listing to see if it is playing at a theater near you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

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