When I saw the trailers for STAR TREK BEYOND, I just shook my head, immediately deciding that I had once again aged out of a franchise I enjoyed. The preview was all fast cuts, loud music and no character. I assumed that Director Justin Lin (The Fast & The Furious series) had brought that same car crashing nonsense approach to the Trekkie world and ruined it.
I could not have been more wrong.
This is the most sheer fun I've had at a Star Trek movie since "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" way back in 1986. I still like "Star Trek: Into Darkness" better, but this one is a lot more sheer fun.
As the film opens, Captain Kirk (our perfectly cast and settled into the role-Chris Pine) is finding himself and the crew of the Enterprise a bit bored.
Two and a half years into their "five-year mission" their adventures are growing repetitive and all are ready for a break at the massive, floating space resort, Starbase Yorktown.
Soon, their relaxation is interrupted by a distress signal that pulls the Enterprise and her crew into a disastrous confrontation with thousands of starship destroying robots that tear through the hull.
The entire crew escapes in life pods and escape craft to the surface of a nearby planet, just where our villain Krall wants them.
Krall is played by Idris Elba, buried under makeup but still carrying plenty of Khan-like gravitas in his mission against Kirk and the Federation.
Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) are at their absolute best in this third film in their roles, showing the same banter and buried friendship that so often lifted the original series between Nimoy and Kelley.
Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin) are all given plenty of spotlight moments throughout.
The star of the show in more ways than one is Simon Pegg. He turns in a great, fun performance as Scotty, but also wrote the screenplay. There are more laughs in this Trek than any in memory and they are perfectly balanced with the action.
The beautiful Sofia Boutella is a knockout as Jaylah, another survivor of Krall's wrath that merges with our crew to battle him, while providing plenty of humor and kick-ass action to boot.
The special effects are first-rate and exciting, the music score by Michael Giacchino is excellent throughout and the film left me excited to see another chapter with this excellent cast.
If you are like me, saw the trailer and just groaned and stayed away, but you love Star Trek, beam this one up to your big screen right away.
STAR TREK BEYOND is a funny, enjoyable popcorn movie with energy to spare. It gets a warp speed, action-packed A.