Star Trek: Beyond viewing guide

Image: Star Trek: Beyond viewing guide

What can we learn from the universe's most beloved spaceship crew?

Who’s it for?

Recommended viewing age: 13+

Like most action blockbusters this film is aimed at teenage audiences and up. Slightly younger viewers may be ok to watch with parental supervision. Occasional sci-fi violence occurs and some scenes may frighten young children.

What’s it about?

In 1966 Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew first warped onto our TV screens. To mark the 50th anniversary, Kirk and his crew are back in Star Trek Beyond, the 13th film overall and third in the new rebooted film series.

After three years exploring deep space the Enterprise crew are restless and slightly disillusioned with their mission. On a mission to survey a planet and rescue another crew they are attacked by a swarm of alien ships, which scuttle the Enterprise and capture most of the crew. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his friends including Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) have to navigate the strange planet and defeat Krall (Idris Elba) to rescue their comrades.

What are the big ideas?

Some of the themes explored in the film include:

  • The purpose of a life defined by routine
  • The strength of close community
  • The tension between unity and war

What to think about

Star Trek has always been a great vehicle for big questions about humanity and human nature. One of the prominent themes that comes out in Beyond is the notion that unity is a weakness. Krall holds that war and conflict are the natural states that breed strength. He tells Kirk that, “unity is not your strength, it is a weakness”. The thing that makes Kirk and his friends so great though is the way their unity has gotten them through so many adventures. Their strength is in their love for one another and the way all of their specific skills complement one another.

This is so very much like the Christian life. The Bible tells us that we are like one body and that our unity in difference will be for our good and the growth of the body. Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

‘From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ Ephesians 4:16

The Enterprise crew are a great reminder to us of what to strive for in our own Christian community. Their ability to serve one another helps them to carry out their mission of peace to the galaxy just like our own mission to bring the gospel to the world. And our captain? Kirk is a great leader, ready to sacrifice himself for his crew but we have a captain who has already done that for us. So we can also take comfort in knowing that.

What we thought

After 2013’s disappointing Star Trek Into Darkness, Beyond feels like a breath of fresh air and it’s a good sign the franchise is getting back to its roots. This time we see the Enterprise crew doing more exploring and being broken up into subgroups a lot like in the original series. Director Justin Lin (Fast and Furious 3-6) manages to make this an exciting action packed spectacle that successfully gives all of its main characters something to do. Villain Krall is a little underdeveloped and the final sequence was a little drawn out toward the end but still a fun ride to be on. It has its flaws but still a very enjoyable sci-fi flick and a return to better form for the 50 year franchise.

4 out of 5

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