In case you were counting, Star Trek Beyond is the 13th movie in the Paramount franchise, a cash cow for the studio when you consider the fact that the original television program celebrates 50 years in September. There was no special mention on screen of the 50 year anniversary, no hoopla… and it seemed the creative heads at the studio devoted more time to honor the memory of Leonard Nimoy by acknowledging his passing both in memoriam during the closing credits, but in the script as well.
Actor Simon Pegg is obviously having the time of his life. Not only did he appear in the recent Star Wars motion-picture, and his continued recurrence in the Mission: Impossible franchise, he co-wrote the screenplay for this Star Trek installment. Pop culture geeks may be jealous. But Pegg’s scripting may have been the main reason why his role of Scotty gets involved with the scenario more often than his character usually pulls off in prior Star Trek sagas. Here, Scotty finds himself stranded on an alien planet, admiring the mechanical talents of Jaylah (played by Sofia Boutella), and exchanging barbs with her while at the same time trying to save his comrades. Scotty may just be the only red shirt to land on a hostile alien planet and not be killed before returning to the Enterprise.
Three notable bullet points I would like to state (with no spoilers intended). One, actor Anton Yelchin passed away before the movie was released. Whether the studio decides to replace the character of Pavel Chekov with another actor or write his character out of future movies is yet to be determined. But it was nice to see that the studio acknowledged him during the closing credits. Two, the character of Hikaru Sulu was depicted (subtly, mind you) as being gay in this movie when he meets up with his male partner and daughter. This was deliberate in paying homage to George Takei, who has been openly gay for years, but Takei has publicly stated he was against the idea. According to Takei, the character was heterosexual and in keeping with Roddenberry’s initial concept should have been depicted as such. Third, you need not stay towards the end of the closing credits. There is no post credits sequence.
Regardless of who plays the roles of Spock, McCoy, Kirk, Uhura, Chekov and Sulu, the characters are played faithfully and with chemistry… and jovial stabs in comrade fashion as you expect to see and hear on the original television program. The reviewer for the New York Post was quoted of saying, “For the love of God, stop making Star Trek movies.” I suspect he cares nothing for the franchise and therefore needs to stop reviewing movies if he continues to compare a big budget movie with a low budget Battlestar Galactica television episodes. The overall consensus with both fans and movie reviewers is that the present cast performs their tasks memorably, and the series continues to entertain even 50 years after NBC premiered Star Trek to an audience seeking good science-fiction entertainment. May the sequels live long and prosper.