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Star Trek Beyond - Movie Review

4 stars

Star Trek Beyond is a bold move.  It is also a risky one, too.  Thankfully, it gives fans EXACTLY what they want.  We are finally in deep space and, finally, free of Earth-based adventures. 

With its strongest female character yet being introduced here, Beyond is the course-correction the franchise so desperately needed after the ill-advised trip that was Star Trek Into Darkness.  I was ready to retire the new crew of the Enterprise AND the franchise’s whole Kelvin-created timeline after that one.  Even producer J.J. Abrams admits of his sequel’s issues: why did Carol take off her shirt in that awkward scene again?!  But, thankfully, the mistakes of Into Darkness are not repeated.

And, considering the franchise turns 50 this year, praise be to the Gods above that Star Trek Beyond, complete with quiet nods to the original Trek, works as well as it does.  Quite simply, the film’s new director (at least to the franchise), Justin Lin, doesn’t succumb to the pressure placed upon him by the missteps of Into Darkness.  He brings a fresh breath of much-needed air to the franchise and keeps it cruising amidst the stars. 

As he has directed four Fast and Furious films, Lin knows just how important the play of characters against each other is to matching the on-screen spectacle.  He nails it once again with Beyond.  It is, of course, one of the best things about the series; just how these personalities, alien or human, gel in the face of turmoil.  His interstellar vehicle is a smooth trek into the stars that, as it largely explores race relations with a script co-written by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg, is armed with a lesson we so desperately need to hear and abide by.  We have to work together, after all, we HAVE to.

Things on board the Enterprise have become routine.  Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the rest of the Enterprise crew – Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), Scotty, and Chekhov (the late Anton Yelchin, who sadly has little upon little to do here) – are three years into the five-year mission.  Kirk is beginning to question their roles in the starship’s glorious mission “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”  Hard to believe that cruising around the galaxies could get a bit dull but that’s what Kirk is discovering.

Maybe it is the monotony that has him itching for excitement.  Boredom is gaining hold. 

That is until Krall (Idris Elba) rocks the crew’s world.  The villainous criminal of mysterious origins wants something of great interest to a lot of people and it is located onboard the Enterprise.  In order to get his hands on the destructive power inside this box, he must find a distraction.  A stranded ship is the lure he needs.  It’s only the beginning, though, as he and a fleet of ships wind up permanently crippling the Enterprise.  It is a slick beheading and will startle those members of the audience not used to seeing the beloved ship destroyed.  How’s that for a wake-up call, Kirk?

With the crew spread out across an alien landscape and the Enterprise crunched up against the surface of the planet (in an extended crash sequence recalling the one in Generations), much time is spent out in the open.  It is a dangerous world and the survivors – aided by the survivalist attitude of Jaylah (Sophia Boutella) – learn quickly about the importance of sticking together.  Spock and McCoy have their bickering fraternal routine down pat by now and it rolls off effortlessly.  Scotty gets even more practical.  And Sulu gets his three-second backstory.  The much ballyhooed revelation of his sexual orientation is, quite simply, a footnote for as much screen time as its given.  Much ado about nothing indeed, Internet Trolls. 

Heads bump as the crew, stretched to their limits, experience what the original series so artfully expressed about building bridges, not walls, between civilizations, whether they be known or unknown.  This a glossy-looking production that is as lightweight as it is adventurous.  It also has a surprising amount of heart.  While it is action-packed more than it is thoughtful (although there are moments), Star Trek Beyond gives us something to aim for on its way to reclaiming a bit of the fun had in the 2009 outing.  We must accept our differences and build a future TOGETHER.  It’s this mix that provides a solid film.

While we can be as nitpicky as we want to be about the just how paper-thin Krall is as a villain (a problem with the Star Trek universe that few have fixed over the years), there are other kickass things knocking about in the film’s engine to give us a reason to believe in Trek’s message again.  Thanks to Pegg’s involvement in the script, the narrative is a solid treatment of everything that Gene Roddenberry’s creation represents.  It is also full of self-referential humor.  The nods to the original and the message will certainly please the franchise’s longtime fans.

Thanks to Star Trek Beyond, it really is lucky (movie) number 13 for the crew of the Enterprise and its boldly going forward franchise.   I’ve been beamed back on board.  Here’s to Year Four!


[tab title="Film Details"]

Star Trek Beyond - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence
120 mins
: Justin Lin
Simon Pegg, Doug Jung
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
: Action | Sci-fi
Star Trek Beyond
Memorable Movie Quote: "Our captain will come for us. Mercy will be the last thing on his mind."
Paramount Pictures
Official Site: http://www.startrekmovie.com/
Release Date:
July 22, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 1, 2016.
Synopsis: In Star Trek Beyond, the Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Star Trek Beyond - Movie Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- November 1, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; Digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Paramount presents Star Trek Beyond on 1080p HD with gloriously colorful results. The science fiction is flashy and crisp and the action is solid. Throughout it all, the transfer is bold in its use of color and deep when it comes to black levels. Shadows are strong. Fleshtones are nicely saturated.   The effects are outstanding. Lasers pierce the darkness and molecules are scrambled with a nice layer of fine-tuned colors. The sound is also quite strong. Presented with an earth-shattering English Dolby Atmos track, the adventure isn’t the only thing about this release that boldly goes where no one has gone before. Settle in and turn it up.

Blu-ray Supplements:


  • While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.

Special Features:

Paramount's Blu-ray Combo Pack – including the DVD and a digital download -is loaded with over an hour of action-packed bonus content. Featurettes from filmmakers and cast, including J.J. Abrams, Justin Lin, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto make diving into the bonus material a lively adventure. Fans will get to meet visionary producer J.J. Abrams, director Justin Lin and co-writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung as they discuss the inspiration for the Star Trek Beyond storyline and how it came to life in one and experience edge-of-your-seat action and see how a shocking attack destroys the USS Enterprise in another. Also included are deleted scenes you didn't see in theaters and a hilarious gag reel. In addition, the release includes tributes to actors Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Beyond the Darkness
  • Enterprise Takedown
  • Divided and Conquered
  • A Warped Sense of Revenge
  • Trekking in the Desert
  • Exploring Strange New Worlds
  • New Life, New Civilizations
  • To Live Long and Prosper
  • For Leonard and Anton


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