By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
WHAT'S STAR TREK BEYOND ABOUT?
Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew fight to stop a vengeful being from killing millions to start a war.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B+)
Director Justin Lin (the Fast and the Furious series) takes over for JJ Abrams in Star Trek Beyond. Combining his talents with those of screenwriter/actor Simon Pegg, Lin delivers a worthy entry on this, the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. You'd never know there was a reduced budget, as the camerawork and visuals pop, the action is creative, and the actors bring as much heart and humor as ever. There are several locations here (both real and digitally-enhanced) that are stunning.
In many ways this is the “Trekkiest” of the new films, bringing back the tone of the original series (albeit with much better special effects). Sometimes the plot is murky and key components aren't well-explained, but this is still a fun, thought-provoking, and exhilarating night at the movies. The characters are fantastic. Trek fans and lovers of popcorn movies won't want to miss it.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
Star Trek Beyond is rated PG-13. A man appears shirtless briefly. A woman throws a shirtless man out of her room and throws his shirt at him. A married gay couple holds hands. A straight couple kisses. People and aliens are stripped of their life force to sustain another being; they scream while it happens and appear as grotesque corpses afterwards. People are sucked out into space after an attack on their ship. There is one s-word and a handful of mild profanities.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Sometimes one must fight in order to preserve peace. Loyalty to friends yields some of life's greatest joys. Unity, and counting on others, is not weakness; force is not strength.
Looking for another good space adventure? Try Galaxy Quest, a loving and hilarious Star Trek spoof starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and the great Alan Rickman.