A few songs are the best part of Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond. These songs are Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer,” and the Beastie Boys’s “Sabotage.” Despite the anti-establishment tone or connotation of these songs, Star Trek Beyond is anything but rebellious. It’s safer than a bank vault and conforms to all the usual tropes. Worst of all is its slipshod editing, which makes it difficult to track visually. The story starts off with a bit of melancholic soul-searching as a weary Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) contemplates quitting his job. The plot turns when Kirk agrees to take the USS Enterprise, which looks like a DirecTV dish, on a rescue mission. En route a swarm of enemy ships attacks the Enterprise, causing it to crash-land in a seemingly uninhabited planet. A critic has praised Yorktown, the home base in the movie, describing it as “an Escher city with Möbius sidewalks, a vast postmodern city of gleaming glass and light-toned metal that seems like a skein of streets and highways, overpasses and bridges held together in a loose and airy web.” However, it sounds better than it looks. Nor is it exactly original: Elysium and Tomorrowland and Interstellar had similar looking cities. Star Trek Beyond may be worth your time if you’re a fan of the franchise (the movie got a round of applause at our screening) or if you haven’t watched the ten-plus fantasy/action-adventure blockbusters this spring/summer.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White