Star Trek Beyond (2016) ***

Directed by Justin Lin to a screenplay by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, Star Trek Beyond is the thirteenth film in the Star Trek film franchise. More notably, it is the third in the series’ reboot. This installment, Beyond, made me wonder how the late Gene Roddenberry, whose brainchild Star Trek was, would have felt about the direction his vision had taken.
A devoted Trekkie I am not, though a big fan of Star Trek, especially of The Next Generation (TNG), I was; still am. What I loved about TNG was that, aside of the special effects and acting, each episode, (or, at least most of them,) had substance. It was more about human nature, interactions, morals, and even light philosophic discussions; those took center stage over simply shooting up aliens. Beyond has none of that. And what it lacks in essence it makes up in action squences and effects. Thus, here lies my biggest disappointment. I remember how much I enjoyed the first installment of this reboot (Star Trek, 2009,) which had both substance and extravagance. Unfortunately, it had been mostly downhill from there, with the 2013 second installment (Into Darkness,) being just okay plot-wise, and now, with Beyond, that is outright shallow.
On the upside, I love the way Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin (may he rest in peace,) and other cast members slide so comfortably into the roles of Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, and the rest of the crew. The action scenes and special effects are, indeed, mesmerizing and the acting, engaging. The light humor threaded through the story is well-balanced.
Beyond does not takes us boldly, well, anywhere. If anything, the title Behind would have suited this film better than Beyond. Still, no real Trekkie, not even fans such as myself, would have done without seeing it. I can only wish for the next installment to incorporate more intellect into the fireworks.