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Featured Blu-ray and DVD Review: Star Trek Beyond

October 31st, 2016

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Star Trek Beyond

Long time readers don’t need me to explain how much I love Star Trek in all of its incarnations. ... Okay, most of its incarnations. I haven’t been a fan of the first two installments in the reboot franchise. The third film, Star Trek Beyond, was the weakest of them at the box office. Is it also the weakest of the three in quality? Or was the third the charmed?

The Movie

The film begins with Captain James T. Kirk on a diplomatic mission. He is in front of the Teenaxi Delegation trying to broker peace between them and the Fibonan Republic. Despite the Fibonan Republic offering the Teenaxi Delegation an ancient relic as a symbol of their good intentions, the peace negotiations go poorly. We learn from the Captain’s Log that Kirk is beginning to doubt the mission, as the days blend into each other, so this at least stands out.

The Enterprise docks at the Yorktown, the Federation’s newest and most advanced space station, for resupplies. Their time on the station is cut short when an alien vessel unexpectedly arrives. The lone occupant says she’s from a research vessel that suffered a critical malfunction and the ship and the rest of the crew are stranded on a planet within a nearby nebulae. Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are sent in to rescue the crew. When they get to the planet, however, they are ambushed by what can best be described as a cloud of tiny ships. Since the ship’s defense are designed to fight other ships roughly the same size as the Enterprise, it is quickly disabled.

Meanwhile, the leader of this attack force, Krall, boards the ship, heads directly to the archives, and takes the artifact from the Teenaxi mission. Strangely, when the alien runs into Captain Kirk, the alien knows him by name.

It isn’t long before the Enterprise is lost and crashes onto the planet. We are about 30 minutes into the movie and we really haven’t reached spoiler territory, but this is where I have to cut off the plot summary for a different reason than usual. The main cast splits apart into several different groups. Captain Kirk, Chekov and the survivors of the first alien attack, including Kalara, are in one group. Scotty runs into a group of aliens and is rescued by Jaylah and he joins up with her. Bones and Spock are together, which is handy, as the latter is very injured. Sulu, Uhura, and most of the rest of the crew were captured by Krall and his troops, but with the help of Keenser’s post-nasal drip (Don’t ask.) they try to find a way to escape.

I didn’t like the first two installments in the reboot franchise for a number of reasons. One of the main ones was the portrayal of Captain Kirk. This was partially due to the writing, but also due to the acting by Chris Pine. Both have improved this time around. Captain Kirk came across with an undeserved arrogance, but now he feels like he could grow into the swaggering Captain we know and love from TOS.

In fact, the overall writing has gotten better and it feels more like Star Trek: The Original Series than either of the first two movies. There are far fewer direct nods to the original series here, but character interactions, the action, the technobabble have that genuine Star Trek feel. I love how the solutions ranged from technobabble to just punching people in the face. I know some people complained that the film had too much mindless action, but the original show was sold as a western in space. Both Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the film, and Justin Lin, who directed the movie, were major assets here. Again, a lot of people were upset that Justin Lin was going to direct, because he’s best-known for his work on the Fast and the Furious. However, in retrospect, this was a brilliant move. The best parts of those movies are the comradery and the best parts of the show was the comradery between the crew.

It should come as no real surprise that the action is also top-notch. The movie cost nearly $200 million to make and you can see that on the screen. Unfortunately, it might also be the reason this is the last Star Trek film for a while. It didn’t bomb, but it will need help on the home market to break even. On the positive side, Paramount has such a bad year that they might make another film in the franchise, because they can’t afford to let the property fade.

The Extras

Extras begin with two deleted scenes with a total running time of 1 minute. There are a number of featurettes, starting with a ten-minute featurette called Beyond the Darkness, which is a making of featurette. Enterprise Takedown is a five-minute featurette on the villains of the movie and Divided and Conquered is an eight-minute look at the cast and how they were separated in the movie. A Warped Sense of Revenge looks at Krall in more depth. Trekking in the Desert is a shorter three-minute look at shooting in Dubai. Exploring Strange New Worlds is a six-minute look at the alien world in the movie. New Life, New Civilizations spends eight minutes looking at the huge number of different alien species seen in the movie. To Live Long and Prosper is an eight-minute look at the longevity of the franchise. For Leonard and Anton is a five-minute memorial to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, both of whom passed away recently. Finally, there’s a five-minute gag reel.

The Verdict

Star Trek Beyond is the best film in the reboot franchise. It felt like old school Star Trek. There are also plenty of extras on the various home market releases and it is definitely worth picking up. The Gift Set includes a model of the Enterprise and would make a great Christmas gift.

Filed under: Video Review, Star Trek Beyond, Star Trek, Fast and the Furious, John Cho, Idris Elba, Justin Lin, Leonard Nimoy, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Deep Roy, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Lydia Wilson, Sofia Boutella
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