By: Koushik Paul
Edited by: Anthony Zangrillo

The Star Trek series was in a weird place when JJ Abrams left the franchise to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It didn’t help that longtime series writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman left as well. The studio then pushed for a movie release to coincide with Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, Justin Lin (Fast & Furious series) was made director, with the script written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. Thankfully, the movie has turned out to be an exceptional follow up for the series.

The story opens with a quick, funny mission but then dives into the somber reality of the crew aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise and how their five-year mission is affecting them psychologically. This foundation is laid artfully fast and firm. Immediately, the crew has to respond to a situation and all hell breaks loose.

I appreciated how the story led to the characters being split up and certain pairs being forced to work together to survive. This allowed for combinations that audiences haven’t seen before on screen. This also allowed all the characters to receive adequate screen time. All the actors on display played their roles perfectly and true to their characters.

As with most movies with a heavy ensemble cast, it’s usually the villain that draws the short stick when it comes to screen time. Unfortunately, this movie follows suit, at least in the beginning. The movie cleverly showcases the menace of the villain, to only later develop his background, which satisfyingly parallels Kirk’s own situation. It is as well a crafted backstory as it could be, given the circumstances.

The new director and writers also add a sense of fun to this franchise which was hesitantly starting to veer “Into Darkness” after the last sequel. Thankfully, the more dramatic resolutions from the previous films are replaced by fun, thrilling resolutions that better fit the overall tone of the series.

Star Trek is in a good, comfortable place right now, and the new direction just adds a sense of fun. This movie is the most entertaining entry in the series, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Score: 8/10


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