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"Star Trek Beyond": a review by someone who has no idea WTH "Star Trek" even is

Driadonna Roland

 // Jul 16, 2016

Hi, I'm Driadonna. I've never watched Star Wars or Star Trek, but I did watch Star Search as a kid with my grandma. All I know of Star Trek is that the Reading Rainbow guy was in it, along with a pointy-eared man in a blunt pixie wig.

So here's my totally unbiased and uninformed review of the newest installation, Star Trek Beyond, starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoë Saldana and Idris Elba**.

(**That was the selling point for me.)

Paramount

Star Trek Beyond

So we start with Chris Pine, the hot guy with the strong eyebrows, as Capt. James Tiberius Kirk. On behalf of the United Federation of Planets, he's in a dark cave in front of a council of a bunch of gargoyle-looking bulldogs. He offers them an ancient weapon of some sort, trying to broker a peace treaty. This angers them, and they attack. I'm like, Ouch, this is off to a bad start.

After he manages to get away, we learn that the USS Enterprise is in year three of a five-year mission. Capt. Kirk's birthday is coming up, and he's kind of weary and thinking of getting out the game. This, of course, is the universal setup for some sh*t is about to pop off that only he can fix, which will keep him in the game. But off we go.

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At this point, I've gathered that Star Trek is about some people who roll through outer space looking for life forms to make peace with — and here is where they lose me. Why not just chill at home and mind your stationery business? How do you even know the life forms want peace with you? Good neighbors ignore each other these days.

Anyways, Kirk and crew stop home for a second, on a planet called Yorktown, where green-faced kids co-exist with people and aliens of all kinds. Kirk is talking to the Starfleet boss lady when all of a sudden, a distressed, pink, membrane-faced alien woman asks for help. Her ship crashed trying to get through the unchartered territory of the nebula, she says, and her crew was stranded. With no questions asked, Kirk's like, sure, I'll round up my crew to fly straight into danger and save your team, why not?

Rihanna - Sledgehammer (From The Motion Picture "Star Trek Beyond")
RihannaVEVO

Here's where the fun begins. As the Enterprise flies through a part of the galaxy with nonstop lightning and big bunches of falling space nuggets, they try to communicate with an approaching ship. Surprise, surprise: Whoever's on that ship is not trying to chitchat. "They're jamming us!" Zoë Saldana screams. Communication with Starfleet gets disabled. Lasers shoot at the crew. A bunch of silver bee-robots follow the Enterprise and latch on, creating dozens of explosions. The wings break off. And then, a bunch of huge, blue-gray alien war machines with neon green suit accents invade the Enterprise and get to bustin'. I mean, they slay everyone in sight.

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It's getting mad tense. The biggest, meanest one, Krall (played by Elba) seems to be looking for the same artifact Kirk tried to present as a peace offering earlier, called the Abernath. He beats Capt. Kirk's a**; there's no nice way to say it. The core of the crew gets separated. Some — Spock, Scotty, Bones — manage to abandon ship, and blast off into space on escape pods. But the thing is, they can't escape the nearby planet's gravity. Kirk is still trying to keep Krall from the Abernath, and Saldana's character, Lt. Uhuru, sacrifices herself to help Kirk get away from Krall. And then, the Enterprise breaks in half and crashes onto Altamid.

Paramount Pictures

Lt. Uhuru and Krall in Star Trek Beyond

You know how it goes from here: The separated crew has to find each other, repair the ship, and discover why the Abernath is so important to Krall and what he wants to do with it. (Hint: It has to do with destroying the world, one planet at a time.) Along the way, they make new allies and provide some comedy, tenderness, and suspense. As Krall, Elba created a character who is genuinely terrifying. Props to Elba for being an outstanding villain, but herein lies the one issue I have with the film: We only see Idris Elba's perfect face once or twice, in flashbacks. The rest of the time he's a mutated alien-monster-man. The movie was thrilling, but I didn't get to see enough of Idris in all his perfection.

All in all, Star Trek Beyond was a fun ride. I found myself buying into the teamwork message big time and cheering for the crew's triumphs. I still don't know why you can't mind your business at home instead of combing the universe for friends and foes, but yay for Starfleet! P.S. If you sit through the credits, you get to hear that Rihanna song that REVOLT loves so much.

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