Star Trek Beyond is now out for home viewing on more formats than you can shake a stick at (in 3D). The title is the worst out of the reboots so far as it has no bearing on anything whatsoever and has always felt like a working title, yet the content within makes for the best of those films.
‘Star Trek‘ was a bit bland, but was one way to do a reboot moniker – especially since that exact title had never been used before, although the film, itself, was quite lame. Star Trek Into Darkness was the best title for what became a disappointment after bringing in the man I call BenC -um, since it was a very poor rip-off of ‘Khan’. Hence, I hoped Star Trek Beyond wouldn’t incur my Wrath…
Before I get to that, may the 4th be with them? With the death of Anton Yelchin, a rebooted TV series next year, and the fact that Into Darkness didn’t exactly set the box office alight (compared to the budget and promotion costs), I wasn’t so sure. However, according to IMDB, it’s in the planning, JJ Abrams has already said that Chekov won’t be recast and Chris Hemsworth is returning as George Kirk, although it’s not yet known whether it’ll be a flashback or some ridonculous intertwining timey-wimey bizarreness a la X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
And before I talk about the film, I’ll say a word or three about the all the various Blu-ray and DVD covers, since they all vary quite differently. You can click on the above links to view them all. For me, the 4K Blu-ray box cover is my favourite, as it harks back to Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s poster whilst featuring a new character, whereas the 3D is my least favourite because… well, where’s the cast? It’s just words on a bland background. Such a missed opportunity, there.
‘Beyond‘ opens with an outstanding opening half-hour or so that makes for the most well-paced section of any of the new movies. There’s an amusing opener, before moving on softly as, at 966 days into their five-year mission, James T Kirk (Chris Pine) is about to have a birthday. That’s normally something to celebrate, but for him, that’s also the day his father died. Plus, this year marks the moment where he became one year older than his father would ever be. Before long, Krall (Idris Elba) turns up to wreak havoc, everyone crash lands on Yorktown (which I thought they kept calling ‘Your town’ for a while, making it feel like a KYTV sketch) and gets separated, after which they have to meet up and then deal with the foe in question. However, it’s the second act, where they have to find ways to reunite, which is the low point of this film as it seems to take forever to get there. Some are partnered up, while Scotty (Simon Pegg) is on his lonesome, yet soon pairs up with alien Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).
And before he leaves the Enterprise, why is Chekov constantly detailing everything that’s failing on the ship? I know that’s generally his job, but we can see it’s ‘game over’ for it, so just get the hell off it! Hearing his commentary is akin to being stuck in a traffic jam as the traffic news comes on and tells you that you might get stuck in a traffic jam.
Oh, and since Justin Lin (who directed Fast and Furious 3-6) is in the hot seat, he borrows from Furious 7‘s Paul Walker truck-going-over-cliff-leap-onto-a-car moment by recreating that in this film. Personally, I’ve yet to see one of those car-based movies, and I tried to watch No.6 when it was on TV but gave up after about 20 minutes. Fast 8 is released in April next year and I’m thinking I might still check it out in the cinema, since on the big screen, I get the impression that it’ll make more sense in terms of realising why they make these films.
Elba largely phones in his performance, sounding like he’s just walked off the set of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, stuck on a rubber mask and was told to ‘nastify’ his South African accent, while channelling the ANC-era Nelson and his sabotage activities against the government in 1961, which led to his life imprisonment sentence. Here, in the part of Krall, Elba’s character is also disgruntled for a reason that’ll come out later, but his space-age idea of ‘might is right’, in ‘Beyond’, is to invade the Enterprise, kill everyone, snatch a priceless artefact, kill everyone he missed first time, and blow the ship apart. And then kill any stragglers.
And, at one point, Krall looked very much like an elderly Robert Loggia.
However, one thing present in this movie is what was missing from X-Men Apocalpyse and Independence Day Resurgence – a decent amount of humour. There’s a fair number of amusing lines, including one that refers to a (cue spoiler heading) tracking device I very nearly burst out laughing at that one, but as it was otherwise quiet onscreen I could hear that no-one else was, so I ended up stifling a big laugh. Later on, when noisy battles etc were going on, a couple of laughs could flow more easily. In fact, it’s probably better that I didn’t let out a big laugh as, when I’m at home, I tend to emit a singular, Edna Krabappel-type “HA!”
In addition, there’s another case of there being a difference between how a line is delivered in the trailer and the film. I recently mentioned Chris Hemsworth answering the phone in Ghostbusters, and how it was much better in the trailer. In this film, you know Idris Elba’s “I-am-coun-ting-on-it” line? Well, the trailer has a definitive stop, there, but in the film, it carries on slightly, watering it down in the process.
I’ve never been a fan of Chris Pine as his acting has been very wooden (Pine… wooden… geddit?) but this time, things actually seem to have come together and he’s settled into the role reasonably well. For me, no-one can be the real Kirk other than William Shatner, but he’s alright in this one. The rest are as good or bad as they have been previously. Most are fine (and mostly, what I remember about the film is Zoe Saldana running around in knee-high boots and a mini-skirt), But Simon Pegg‘s Scots accent is still appalling.
Now, who to replace Chekov, since Anton Yelchin has sadly passed away? Well, JJ Abrams said before this film’s release that they will not recast him. My thought is… (and I’ll have to add a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t seen ‘Beyond‘)
A few things about the end credits as well as a late moment (big spoiler)
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, and is gorgeous and flawless in this print, as you’d expect for a modern release.
The 3D is pretty good most of the time, sometimes best in the action albeit not too frenetic and with not too many cuts, otherwise the visuals can become difficult to follow and the 3D doesn’t work. However, it’s best during the majority of Krall’s attack on the Enterprise, the spaceship dive (I will say no more if you’ve not seen it) and the final fight.
For the scenes where characters are talking in front of a background that’s not there (i.e. green screen), this is where 3D is less effective than 2D, since they just feel like they’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. Ideally, all films intending to be shown in 3D would be filmed that way – why they’re not, I really don’t know. Whether it’s Star Trek Beyond or Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, it’s not as if big studios are short of a bob or two.
Audio-wise, it’s crash-bang-wallop a lot of the time, and certainly enough of the time to give your speakers a decent workout, and all around the speakers, especially when the Enterprise is being attacked big-time in the first third of the movie.
The extras are as follows. All of the featurettes contain chat from the cast and crew, including from Anton Yelchin:
- Deleted Scenes (1:02): Two of them totalling just over a minute? Yes, they’re very brief, but while not essential, I’d have put them back in.
- Beyond The Darkness (10:08): A typical ‘making of’ mixing in clips from the film with chat from the cast and crew, and with JJ Abrams handing over the directing reins to Justin Lin. Bear in mind there will be movie spoilers in this piece, so surely you watched the film first? You did, didn’t you? Just checking…
- Enterprise Takedown (4:31): When the Enterprise runs into a bit of trouble…
- Divided and Conquered (8:17): Looking at from when they all get separated and the individual routes they take.
- A Warped Sense of Revenge (5:15): Focusing on Idris Elba’s baddie, but to say any more would be to give a spoiler.
- Trekking in the Desert (3:06): Dubai doubled for Yorktown
- Exploring Strange New Worlds (6:02): The USS Franklin takes centre stage.
- New life, New civilisations (8:04): All the varities of aliens including Krall and Jaylah.
- To Live Long and Prosper (7:51): Looking back at the entire Star Trek movie history, and why it’s so enduring in its 50th year.
- For Leonard and Anton (5:04): A tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, but sadly way too brief. In fact, Anton’s looks like little more than an afterthought, as it’s just the last minute of this piece.
- Gag Reel (5:13): Lots of accidental intergalactic goofs.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
Chapters are a low – and weirdly numbered – 14 on this disc. Universal often go for 20, while most studios short-change the audience on 12, so 14 is a strange number. Either way, it’s not enough, as my preferred average is one every five minutes. Subtitles come in English and 9 other languages, while the menu mixes clips from the film with a portion of the triumphant theme. Also, annoyingly, it’s another of those discs which disables the PS4 D-pad when trying to rewind/fast-forward the film.
Also, there’s a Blu-ray trilogy boxset, a DVD trilogy boxset and a 3D Blu-ray Gift Set with a replica model of the classic USS Franklin, as featured in the movie, and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
(Click on the picture for the full-size image)
Running time: 122 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
Released: November 21st 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: English Dolby Atmos; Dolby Digital 5.1: German, Spanish, French, Italian
Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K), Anamorphic Master Scope, Redcode RAW (6K) – some shots)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Justin Lin
Producers: JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk and Roberto Orci
Screenplay: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung, Roberto Orci, Patrick McKay and John D Payne (based on the Star Trek TV series created by Gene Roddenberry)
Music: Michael Giacchino
Captain James T. Kirk: Chris Pine
Commander Spock: Zachary Quinto
Doctor ‘Bones’ McCoy: Karl Urban
Lieutenant Uhura: Zoe Saldana
Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott: Simon Pegg
Sulu: John Cho
Chekov: Anton Yelchin
Krall: Idris Elba
Jaylah: Sofia Boutella
Manas: Joe Taslim
Kalara: Lydia Wilson
Keenser: Deep Roy
Ensign Syl: Melissa Roxburgh
Tyvanna: Anita Brown
Ben: Doug Jung
Fi’Ja: Danny Pudi
Zavanko: Kim Kold
Hider: Fraser Aitcheson
Blue Shirt: Matthew MacCaull
Blue Shirt: Emy Aneke
Commodore Paris: Shohreh Aghdashloo
Commander Finnegan: Greg Grunberg
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.