New to On Demand: Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond © 2016 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. STAR TREK and all related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios, Inc. Credit: Kimberley French

Growing up in the era that I did, you were either a Star Trek or Star Wars person. I have to admit that I fell into the Star Wars camp more than I was a Trekkie. Since producer/director J.J. Abrams rebooted Star Trek in 2009, I’ve enjoyed both franchises. Now Justin Lin jumps in to helm Star Trek Beyond and his foot is planted square on the gas pedal from the moment the film blasts off.

Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) has something on his mind. He is questioning whether to continue in his role as captain of the USS Enterprise and in fact has applied for a job that will allow him to establish roots. At the same time his right-hand man Cmdr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is struggling with a message he received about the fate of Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy). Despite their own personal situations, Kirk and Spock set out on another mission to deep space with the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise.

It is in space that the action begins. The family that makes up the crew of the Enterprise is ready to fight their way through any foe by any means. They use anything they can find to their advantage to get back home.

It’s hard, really hard, to write something about the story in this film. It is so thinly attached to the action that it almost feels nonexistent. The internal struggles of both Kirk and Spock are portrayed in a way that we know how they feel about each other and the crew, but they take a back seat to firefights and explosions. As I rose from my seat at the end of the screening, I wondered aloud if there really was a story here.

Make no mistake, there IS action in this installment of the series. When I say that director Justin Lin puts his foot on the gas pedal, he doesn’t even ease onto the pedal, it is slammed right to the floor. Action sequences mostly work but can sometimes be a bit muddy and dizzying. Lin’s fast pace recalls his Fast & Furious films, and he does that part of it quite well.

The comedic interactions interspersed in this film impressed me. The ability to break up the action with everything from a chuckle to a belly laugh is a tough achievement to accomplish, but Lin does it.

Although the action was quite impressive, I actually craved more quiet time in the film. Instead of a full-on assault of the senses, I wished for even more interactions between Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Jaylah (a new character I quite liked).

You don’t have to be a Trekkie to enjoy this journey, but if you are, this is a must see. As you sit down to take in Star Trek Beyond, set a course for action, buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

Star Trek Beyond is available beginning Nov. 1 on Video On Demand. Check with your cable system for availability.