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Star Trek: Beyond – What Anger Will Do

The other day, Suzanne and I went to see Star Trek: Beyond. As long-time Trekkers (Suzanne especially), we were eager to see the latest in the Star Trek reboot series.

The movie has many typical Trek elements. As usual, the Enterprise gets in a major scrape. On a mission, the Enterprise gets drawn into uncharted territory. They pick up a distress signal. As it approaches the planet, the Enterprise is attacked by a large cluster of hostile ships. They are under the command of an alien named Krall, who has a deep-seated hatred of the Federation. Krall is after a bio-weapon called the Abronath. But Krall finds it has already been taken.

Krall captures Uhura and Sulu, along with the rest of the crew. After Krall threatens to kill Sulu, a crew member, Ensign Syl, gives up the weapon. Krall takes Uhura and Syl into a chamber where he unleashes the Abronath, causing Syl to disintegrate.

Scotty encounters an inhabitant of the planet named Jaylah, who inhabits an early-generation crashed Federation ship called the USS Franklin. Jaylah traps Kirk and Chekhov, but releases them when Scotty says they’re part of his crew. Scotty, meanwhile, fixes the transporter on the Franklin, enabling him to transport Spock and McCoy there.

Unfortunately, Uhura and most of the crew are at Krall’s headquarters, and Scotty says he can’t transport them from there. So they head to Krall’s headquarters. Kirk creates a diversion while the rest fight Krall’s men. Krall and his men head towards Yorktown, where he can activate the Abronath. The crew heads to Yorktown also, and a battle ensues.

Eventually, they find information leading to Krall’s true identity from decades ago. I won’t reveal it to avoid spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say that Krall has what he considers very good reasons to carry a long-standing anger at the Federation (you may agree), and he was not always the monster that he is when the Enterprise finds him.

It is that anger that turned him into the vicious monster. He has been stewing in this anger (perhaps legitimate) for decades and it has warped him. Kirk, of course, tries to save him from what he has become, but to no avail.

Needless to say, Kirk and the Enterprise crew save the day, but again, I don’t want to spoil the plot. Suffice it to say that Krall meets a very unhappy fate. The crew then helps Jaylah get into Star Fleet Academy.

What is the lesson of this movie, aside from never mess with James T. Kirk and the Enterprise? It’s a very stark reminder of the power of anger, of how it can warp us if we let ourselves stew in it rather than letting it go. Krall is transformed by his anger at the Federation into the monster we see for most of the movie. Had he just let go of his righteous indignation, he might have been able to make a better life on the planet, perhaps lifted himself and the inhabitants. Instead, he became the vicious Krall, who is a danger to everyone.

Being angry is occasionally justified and always destructive. But it’s best to let it pass through, or become a stimulus to constructive action. When you hold onto it, it is extremely harmful. Letting go can empower your life; holding on can bring out the worst you have. As Raymond Charles Barker tells us in a chapter title from The Science of Successful Living, “Resentment Is Ruin”. Let it go, and you can “live long and prosper.”

This is definitely a movie you will enjoy and it will teach, as well. It’s one to see.

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