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Star Trek Beyond reviews: What are critics saying?

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It may be titled Star Trek Beyond, but according to many movie critics, the third film in the rebooted sci-fi series doesn’t really push — let alone exceed — the boundaries of the iconic franchise.

Nevertheless, with Fast & Furious filmmaker Justin Lin at the helm and a deep cast including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, and Idris Elba, Beyond is still earning generally positive reviews for its impressive action and lived-in characters.

In one of the more mixed reviews, EW’s own Chris Nashawaty gave the film a C+ and wrote, “Beyond is more fun than deep. It’s lightweight, zero-gravity Trek that is, for the most part, devoid of the sort of Big Ideas and knotty existential questions that creator Gene Roddenberry specialized in.”

Here’s more of Nashawaty’s review and what other critics thought of Star Trek Beyond (opening July 22).

Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly)

“I don’t want to sound too nit-picky and churlish. But the Trekverse is something that really means something to people. For them, Beyond is a fine movie, it’s just not a very good Star Trek movie. After all, as summer releases have gotten more and more and sensational and trivial, the Trek franchise could always be counted on to serve up some smarts along with its sci-fi action beats. With Beyond, it feels like just another summer tentpole with not enough going on underneath the tent.”

Bilge Ebiri (Village Voice)

Star Trek Beyond might be the Star Trekkiest film of the new, J.J. Abrams-ified Trek era. That is to say, it’s the one that feels the most like a turbo-loaded episode of the original series, and has at least some of that classic spirit of exploration and derring-do. That’s not to say the film is cerebral, mind you …. But somewhere in there, you can sense a template taking shape for how this series might proceed — and it’s a familiar, welcome one.”

David Rooney (Hollywood Reporter)

“With Fast & Furious veteran Justin Lin stepping in as director, the third reboot installment, Star Trek Beyond, regains momentum, and not just in the obvious area of its muscular action set-pieces. The script injects a welcome strain of humor that’s true to the original Gene Roddenberry creation, delivering nostalgia without stiff veneration. … While Beyond won’t unseat 1982’s thrilling The Wrath of Khan as the gold standard for Star Trek movies, it’s a highly entertaining entry guaranteed to give the franchise continuing life.”

Russ Fischer (The Wrap)

“With the 2009 reboot and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness behind them, the ensemble is confident and mature in this revamped vision of the well-known crew. Most impressive is newcomer [Sofia] Boutella, whose chiaroscuro warrior is fierce, smart, and memorable. Boutella’s action chops, seen previously in Kingsman, aren’t exploited to a satisfying degree, but in every other regard she’s the film’s standout.”

Tom Huddleston (Time Out)

“The film’s Achilles heel … is its villain: Idris Elba gives it his all as lizard-faced psycho Krall, but deep down he’s just another muscly warrior with an irrational grudge. Still, that — and a handful of dicey plot holes — aside, this is all fun all the time, a dizzying carnival of wisecracks, fisticuffs, explosions, chases and truly eye-popping effects. Who could ask for more?

Owen Gleiberman (Variety)

“It’s a sturdily built movie that gets the job done, and it’s got a likable retro vibe: The fact that Kirk and his crew spend a good part of the film stranded, without recourse, gives Star Trek Beyond a wide-eyed, slightly clunky analog stasis that takes us right back to the spirit of the TV series. Like the show, it lets us share quality time with cast members who now seem like old friends. Yet to say that the movie fails to break new ground would be putting it mildly. It truly feels like an extended episode, without a single ‘Oh, wow!’ trick up its sleeve, which may be why, until the eye-popping climax, it’s more earnest than exciting.”

Overall Metacritic rating (1-100): 68

Rotten Tomatoes: 87 percent

Rated: PG-13

Length: 120 minutes

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho

Directed by Justin Lin

Distributor: Paramount

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