STAR TREK BEYOND
As it arrives on disc, our thoughts on the latest Trek.
released 21 November (blu-ray/dvd) 14 November (download) 2016 | 12 | 4K blu-ray/blu-ray 3d/ blu-ray/dvd/download/ vod Director Justin lin Cast Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe saldana, simon Pegg
We’re now well over seven years into Paramount’s mission to reboot the Star Trek movie franchise, and it’s pretty clear the Enterprise crew are no longer flying at maximum warp. The energy, fun and sense of adventure that made JJ Abrams’s first movie such a refreshing antidote to run-of-the-mill blockbusters now feel like a distant memory – Star Trek Beyond seems rather happier recycling old tropes than boldly going where no one’s gone before.
That’s not to say it’s a bad movie – there certainly isn’t anything in Beyond as infuriating as the Wrath Of Khan cover version that was Into Darkness’s final act. It’s more that Beyond is nothing more than a moderately entertaining way to pass a couple of hours, with little that lingers in the memory beyond the closing credits.
It’s caught between wanting to be a mass-appeal sci-fi actioner, and being faithful to Star Trek’s history. It’s the former that wins out, with a plot that could be lifted from AN Other space movie, and the Trekiness limited to in-jokes (Kirk referencing his constantly ripped shirts; a captain’s log about life becoming “a little episodic”) and story elements pinched from earlier movies. For example, haven’t we already seen a James T Kirk starting to feel his age? After The Search For Spock and Generations, isn’t destroying the Enterprise a little old hat? Yes, it’s brave trashing the ship in the opening half hour, but your response to a movie’s big setpiece shouldn’t be, “Oh no, not again.”
Beyond is also hamstrung by its villain. Krall (the usually reliable Idris Elba) is essentially a mishmash of clichéd humanoid alien prosthetics and story ideas that add up to less than the sum of their parts. Why a former Starfleet officer – albeit one whose life has been artificially prolonged by alien tech – would have developed such a beef with the Federation is never made entirely clear. Surely the ancient race who constructed the swarm ships that Krall uses to tear the Enterprise apart would have made far more threatening, more interesting baddies?
The 13th Trek movie is not without its merits, however. Visually it’s stunning, from Federation space city Yorktown to incoming director Justin Lin’s gift for filming the Enterprise in ways we’ve never seen before – the shot of the ship in a warp bubble is one of Beyond’s few moments of pure, unadulterated geek service. And while Chris Pine has lost the wisecracking edge that made his first appearance as Kirk so memorable, other characters do get the chance to come to the fore – it’s great to see Karl Urban’s wonderful, irascible take on Bones (arguably the character closest in tone to the original incarnation)
Little lingers in the memory beyond the credits
given so much screentime, while newcomer Jaylah is charming, funny and kick-ass. Sofia Boutella is surely destined to join the Enterprise A crew next time out.
Mostly, though, Beyond feels like the product of a once-promising franchise whose thrusters are now stuck in reverse. For Trek’s 50th anniversary, we expected better.
Extras Don’t be fooled by the seemingly impressive number of featurettes (nine) on the Blu-ray releases – the combined running time only just creeps over the hour mark, and the cast and crew deliver the sort of bland soundbites that saturate the internet ahead of a movie’s release. Best of the bunch are “Exploring New Worlds” (six minutes), a celebration of the movie’s wonderful production design, and “New Life, New Civilizations” (eight minutes), which looks at the Beyond make-up team’s mission to create 50 distinct alien species in honour of Trek’s 50th. Alas, considering how big a deal half a century of Trek should be, the celebration is strangely muted – “To Live Long And Prosper”’s efforts to condense the franchise’s history into eight minutes via the medium of Kelvin timeline talking heads and movie clips are frankly laughable. Two spurious deleted scenes are a waste of their combined 44-second duration, while the five-minute gag reel is moderately amusing.
Just behind-the-scenes piece “Beyond The Darkness” (10 minutes) and tribute “For Leonard And Anton” (five minutes) make it onto the DVD – though DVD buyers also get Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer” music video, and trailers.
“I knew you’d left the gas on!”
The front room’s decor was a little drab.