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July 23, 2016

STAR TREK BEYOND

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The big thing that this movie is farthest away from (as its title promises) is authentic storytelling. All the fancy-schmancy sci-fi spectacle and charismatic actors in the film can’t make up for some of the clunkiest screenwriting in recent memory. Like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces don’t fit, “Star Trek Beyond” jumps between giant action set pieces lacking in context, nuance, and expositional background. The narrative is a sloppy mess.

I veer away from Hollywood films more and more these days. When I do come around to take its latest temperature I’m more disgusted than ever.

Critics and fanboys can blow all of the hot air they want about this film’s supposed connection to the original Gene Roddenberry television series, but boy, they are wrong.

A sad example arrives via the late Anton Yelchin’s underdeveloped role as Chekov. The essential Star Trek character is squandered beyond belief. He’s reduced to a few overheard, throwaway, one-liners.

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Idris Elba is also terribly wasted in the villainous roll of Krall. By the time the movie gets around to Elba’s big scene, it’s too little too late. What a waste of awesome talent.

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Sofia Boutella, and Anton Yelchin all give inspired performances that get shoved under the rug of a movie lacking a developed narrative arc.

With its five contributing scriptwriters, “Star Trek” feels exactly like the by-committee screenplay you’d expect from so many chefs in the kitchen.

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Rated PG-13. 122 mins. (C-) (Two stars — out of five / no halves)

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