By Dan Leach

From the opening seconds of “Star Trek Beyond,” the franchise’s 13th feature film installment, you know you are going to be in for a heck of a ride. Justin Lin, director of four of the “Fast and Furious” films, takes over admirably for J.J Abrams and you know he means business right from the jump, paying homage to classic Trek concepts as well as bringing the rebooted franchise warp speed to the future. The movie plays out like a classic episode from the Original Series, but with time to develop the characters, unbelievable special effects, and a ton of laughs in the process.

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The legendary Trek Universe, now celebrating its 50th year with the release of this film, has always inspired across generations and this latest installment does exactly that. There is another risk to the universe’s survival, but somehow Lin keeps it on a scale that even the most fringe Trekkie understands. Idris Elba, who plays the mysterious villain Krall and who has an axe to grind with the Federation, is brilliant — even behind a ton of makeup. Lin also is masterful, much like he was behind the directors chair of the “Fast and Furious” movies, in maximizing his use of a tremendous ensemble cast.

Both Captain Kirk, played wonderfully yet again by Chris Pine, and Spock, played with tremendous gravitas by Zachary Quinto, seem to really delve into the deepest levels of their characters’ cores that we have seen since the final full original crew Trek film “Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country.” The movie, dedicated rightly so to the late Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, has that feeling of respect to history and the franchises past, but is also rooted in forward thought.

You will leave the theater enthralled and be gasping for more. And you’re in luck because the series has already announced a fourth rebooted Trek movie. That film will bring back Chris Hemsworth, who played Captain Kirk’s father George in 2009’s “Star Trek.” I know all Trekkies will be praying that we will finally see the original Kirk, William Shatner, cross along timelines to be part of the action.

What makes the Star Trek franchise so much fun is its idea of all of us being better, being braver, being selfless, and looking ahead to countless possibilities in both time and space. Like the series’ famous tagline “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” That is the driving force behind “Star Trek Beyond” which balances its forward thought with respect to all that came before. No true Trekkie will leave the theater with a dry eye after a simple photograph is shown towards the end of the film, in one of the entire film series’ greatest moments. It is those small touches along with a ridiculous amount of great action and humor that makes “Beyond” such a great ride.


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5-STAR TREK BEYOND — The latest entry in the Trek franchise is tremendous from the start and not only works as a standalone film, but also shows great respect to what makes us all love Trek. New director Justin Lin pays great respect to the franchises history and it’s concepts that are beloved by hard core Trekkies, but makes them able to be understood by casual fans just as well.

4-STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT — Not the first time time travel was featured in a Trek film, but the way that Captain Picard and his Next Generatioin crew utilize it is perfectly done. Showing how the Federation came into existence in the first place was one of the highlights of this film and one of the great moments in the franchises history.

3-STAR TREK 4: THE VOYAGE HOME — Seeing the crew go back to 20th century Earth to save the future is one of the best plots of all the Trek films. Voyage Home is filled with great comedy and poignant moments throughout.

2-STAR TREK (2009) — The first reboot directed by J.J Abrams introduced us to the new-old crew is done about perfectly as you could hope for if you are a true Trek fan. Setting up endless possibilities for the future, while showing a true respect and deference to the past.

1-STAR TREK 2: THE WRATH OF KAHN — The standard by which all Trek movies will be always be judged. Pulls you in from the opening seconds and never lets go! KAHNNNNNNNNNN!!

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What is your top 5 and how fired up are you to go “Beyond?”