Krall space

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents - Richard Ed­wards

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.

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