By Bonnie Anderson and Dan Webster
This is the 13th feature length film in the Star Trek franchise. It was born on network TV 50 years ago from the mind of the late Gene Roddenberry. It was designed to show a world, a galaxy, that’s overcome xenophobia. The cast was multi-racial and multi-ethnic.
Star Trek made history in its three short years of first run episodes when Capt. Kirk and Lt. Uhura shared a kiss. It was the first time on American network television a white and black actor and actress were shown being so intimate.
‘Beyond’ has a great cast and holds to the philosophy of the original series and ‘Next Generation,’ the 80s TV remake. The movie story line even has elements of two episodes from both series. Trekkers who see ‘Beyond’ will recall “The Omega Glory” (1968) and “The Hunted” (1990). Without spoiling the movie, both plots had former soldiers or a Starfleet officer who became villains.
The villain in ‘Beyond’ is Krall, expertly played by Idris Elba. He’s after an artifact that is the key to a weapon that will easily destroy an orbiting space city on the edge of the galaxy where starships are repaired.
With all the expected humor, resolve and sarcasm between the new, young cast of Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin). You don’t need to be a veteran Trekker to get the story or be entertained. The dazzling special effects and mind stretching scenarios will thrill anyone.
And even the Gospel of John will come to mind (“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”) when Kirk says, if they die it will be because they are trying to save others.
Star Trek has always looked for the best of humanity or Vulcanity or any of the creatures they’ve discovered on the adventures of the Starship Enterprise. It’s an inspiring trip worth taking.
Bonnie Anderson is a very active lay leader in her parish, diocese and in the wider Episcopal Church. She is an experienced community organizer and lives in suburban Detroit. Dan Webster is an Episcopal priest in Baltimore, Maryland and a former broadcast news executive. But don’t expect only east coast urban perspectives here. As it turns out, they both grew up in Southern California. They blog about films and faith at Faith Reels