The third installment in the J.J. Abrams-rebooted Star Trek series, Beyond takes us farther than the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise believes it has gone before. The film has remarkable panache – thanks to a top flight class – and a storyline about authority, power, calling, and friendship that wraps itself around a galactic struggle.
While considering a promotion/retirement from deep space missions, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) finds himself dispatched on a rescue mission to Altamid, with Kalara (Lydia Wilson), the lone-remaining survivor from an attack. When the Enterprise arrives at the planet, they find themselves under attack, with some of the crew members captured and others fighting for survival on the planet. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) are obviously together, while Kirk and Chekhov (Anton Yeltsin) are dealing with Kalara’s treachery. Will they be able to fight off the new threat, organized from a violent predator named Krall (Idris Elba) or will they finally fall off the edge of the universe?
While the film itself is a solid piece of entertainment, it’s intriguing because of the deaths of Leonard Nimoy (who gets a Spock-like tribute) and Yelchin. While the aliens (chiefly Sofia Boutella’s scavenger Jaylah) make for a wildly entertaining film that also challenges what we think about people who are like us – and not like us – this one may well be remembered for the Trekkie stars who died (in fact, they get their own featurette, “For Leonard and Anton”).
Destruction and death are clearly a focus here, and they get featured as well in the special bonus clips on the Blu-ray. Yes, there’s the making of featurette (where the story came from), but there is a long look at Star Trek as a phenomena (“To Live Long and Prosper”), and the spectacularly explosive take down of the Enterprise (“Enterprise Takedown: Destroying an Icon”).
In the search for meaning and calling, Kirk and the crew find themselves wrestling with their purpose while fighting for their lives. Ultimately, one figures that Beyond proves once and for all why they’re there, and what they’re supposed to do. Sometimes, we find ourselves at the crossroads, wondering if we have a purpose or what we’re here for. The questions seem simple but the answers are complicated. Even when we can’t go to deep space.