Speaking as a mere casual fan (for shame!), Star Trek Beyond is a solid entry in the Trek franchise that in some ways matches with the 2009 semi-reboot and excels primarily with this young cast that I hope get at least one more shot as the marketing on this one really did not do it justice
Star Trek Beyond
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Paramount | PG13 – 122 min. – $48.99 | November 1, 2016
Date Published: 10/26/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 4.0/5
The Star Trek reboot, two films in, has been mixed. The first film from 2009 was mostly successful bringing together a quality cast and did a great job bringing a new generation into the long-running franchise while still paying homage to the old series and movies. Then came Star Trek Into Darkness and although I enjoyed it when I first saw it in theaters and even on home video, the issues especially with the third act really took my satisfaction down a notch. Now we get the third film in the Abrams’ reboot, Star Trek Beyond and it almost rectifies any issues with the last entry.
This film finds Captain James T. Kirk (CHRIS PINE) and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise — Commander Spock (ZACHARY QUINTO), Dr. ‘Bones’ McCoy (KARL URBAN), Lt. Uhura (ZOE SALDANA), Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott (SIMON PEGG), Sulu (JOHN CHO) and Chekov (ANTON YELCHIN) — are sent to investigate a distress call in an uncharted sector. After navigating through a nebulous, are ambushed by a swarm of ships which destroy the Enterprise (of course) and when the saucer section is split, is sent plummeting to a supposedly uninhabited planet, but not before this alien army has taken hostages.
On the planet, Kirk and Chekov try to find ways to locate their fellow comrades; Spock and McCoy trade barbs with one another as Spock deals with a near-fatal injury; Sulu and Uhura are prisoners; and Scotty teams with a woman named Jaylah (SOFIA BOUTELLA) who is the last of her crew who were targeted by our film’s alien villain, Kroll (IDRIS ELBA). Kroll is seeking an artifact that was in possession of the Enterprise which, when put together with other items, become a cruel and near unstoppable weapon.
Star Trek Beyond, by my count, is the 11th movie in the Trek movie-verse and could very well be one of the better, although purists from what I’ve read despises what Abrams and company have done. For me, I found it to be entertaining and under the tutelage of Justin Lin who takes over the director’s chair after Abrams got to the franchise he really wanted, and Lin has proven to be more than a fill-in. The ads for Beyond touted his work on 4 Fast & Furious movies, which in itself were perfectly fine summer actioners, but with this one, he’s able to work in some great character moments, and motivations, with some cool tracking shots. For instance, as Kirk and Chekov are attempting to escape enemy fire off of Enterprise’s saucer section, we get an almost one shot sequence which, albeit CGI’d, looked pretty darn good.
Speaking of characters, it’s nice to see everyone seemingly comfortable. Spock, following his unusual over-emotional scenes in Into Darkness’ finale, is back to his subdued self and sharing fun banter opposite Urban’s Bones was a delight. Pine as Kirk continues to deliver and it would seem his hair is matching up to Shatner’s from the old Trek series… John Cho and Zoe Saldana get a couple decent scenes and the late Anton Yelchin serves well in a limited capacity, but he provides some fun scenes as well. And Simon Pegg as Scotty is probably one of the highlights of the main cast once again, perhaps just ahead of Urban.
The two big newcomers are Sofia Boutella in heavy make-up but she makes an impression being a strong and independent character stranded on the planet and eventually being an integral part to the crew and Idris Elba, similarly under heavy make-up until the end, is more or less similar to Eric Bana from Star Trek ’09 but is fine as the villain, but not exactly memorable; not that anyone other than Ricardo Montalban’s Kahn are in the entire franchise, though seeing Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon was, to say the least, interesting.
The script was written by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg (who apparently is a big-time Trekkie) and it’s nothing overly impressive but there are some good character development for the main cast and in terms of plot, the motivations Kroll’s motivations are compelling if not a tad old hat since it’s yet another villain wanting revenge on the Federation (and for their part, being peaceful and all, they seem to fight on a lot of battlefronts in these movies).
At the end of the day, Star Trek Beyond was a fun and entertaining experience. No, it’s not to test your mind yet at the same time it’s not a mindless movie. Lin proves himself to be a more than capable director and the core cast, which unfortunately lost Yelchin earlier this year, has some wonderful chemistry.
SPECIAL FEATURES — 3.5/5
This 2-disc release (UHD, BD) comes housed in a black HD slim case. Inside is the redemption code for the Digital HD copy. There’s a fine selection of features here and each includes on-set interviews with members of the cast (including Pine, Quinto, Elba, Pegg, Yelchin, Cho, etc) and crew (Lin, Abrams, etc).
DISC 1 (UHD MOVIE):
DISC 2 (BD MOVIE+EXTRAS):
Beyond the Darkness (10:08; HD) is a basic behind-the-scenes featurette on Abrams stepping down and Justin Lin taking over in the director’s chair and coming up with the story for the third movie.
Enterprise Takedown (4:31; HD) breaks down the destruction of the USS Enterprise.
Divided and Conquered (8:17; HD) looks at the planet Altamid and the interactions of the crew who are split up.
A Warped Sense of Revenge (5:15; HD) takes a look at the motivation of Kroll.
Trekking in the Desert (3:06; HD) is a featurette on filming Yorktown in Dubai.
Exploring Strange New Worlds (6:02; HD) – This featurette takes a closer look at the production design on creating the world of Altamid and the physical structures as well as some of the sets in Yorktown.
New Life, New Civilizations (8:04; HD) covers the variety of species featured in the film and delves into the prosthetic and make-up designs.
To Live Long and Prosper (7:51; HD) examines the longevity and endurance of the franchise going on 50 years and features clips from the various films and comments with the cast and crew.
For Leonard and Anton (5:04; HD) is a nice memoriam to these two actors.
Gag Reel (5:13; HD)
4K UHD VIDEO — 5.0/5, BD VIDEO — 5.0/5
|Paramount releases Star Trek Beyond onto 4K Ultra High-Definition (HEVC / H.265 codec) and as I expected going in, it looks absolutely unbelievable. The colors are nicely textured while also bright and vibrant; detail is amazingly crisp and sharp throughout while blacks and darker elements are stark while still showing on-screen objects. For both the UHD and Blu-rays (1080p HD, MPEG-4 AVC codec), there were no signs of artifacts, aliasing or other flaws making this completely reference quality work.|
4K UHD/BD AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Both the UHD and Blu-ray discs comes with the Dolby Atmos track (TrueHD 7.1 compatible for older systems) and like the video, the depth of sound is incredible. Of course, this track will show off its robustness in the numerous action sequences, utilizing every available channel including the LFE kicking in for added effect, but those quieter moments sound great with crisp and clean dialogue levels not to mention ambient noises as we hear the Enterprise humming along (before being torn apart…). The score blares through quite nicely as does Rihanna’s song as it plays over the end credit scroll.|
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Overall, speaking as a mere casual fan (for shame!), Star Trek Beyond is a solid entry in the Trek franchise that in some ways matches with the 2009 semi-reboot and excels primarily with this young cast that I hope get at least one more shot as the marketing on this one really did not do it justice (in fact, it harmed with a lousy first trailer). In regards to the 4K UHD release, the video and audio transfers are both reference quality work while the features are decent, but could’ve been great if they included the Target and iTunes exclusives…