Action Adventure

'Star Trek Beyond' Blu-ray Review: The Federation goes fast and furious in Trek's latest installment

November 1, 2016Ben MK

Best know for helming four out of seven Fast and Furious films, director Justin Lin has switched gears. Ditching V8 engines for warp drives, Lin steps into the Captain's chair for Star Trek Beyond; and the result is one of the franchise's most fun and thrilling installments.

Storywise, Star Trek Beyond is remarkably straightforward. Picking up three years into the Enterprise's famed five-year mission, the film finds Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) questioning his destiny as a Starfleet Captain. However, before he has a chance to give some serious thought to resigning his post, Kirk and his crew are thrust headlong into yet another life-or-death confrontation, this time, with a revenge-crazed adversary named Krall (Idris Elba), who — like Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan before him — is out to wreak havoc against the Federation.

Unfortunately, Krall isn't a particularly memorable villain, and the script by Doug Jung and Scotty himself, Simon Pegg, can't help but attract vague comparisons to the series' bland, ninth entry, Star Trek: Insurrection. Yet, despite its shortfalls, Star Trek Beyond still manages to dodge the curse that has befallen the vast majority of odd-numbered Trek installments, serving up a nice mix of fan service and humor, all rooted in solid performances from its cast, which also includes Kingsman: The Secret Service's Sofia Boutella as a fierce warrior named Jayla.

Of course, given Lin's background, you would expect Beyond's action sequences to be the highlight of the film. And, in this respect, the movie does not disappoint. From motorcycle stunts (that amazingly don't feel out of place in a Trek film) to the obligatory starship battles, each of Beyond's set-piece thrills adds a fun twist that prevents things from getting stale. And while the final showdown does borrow somewhat from Into Darkness, the fact alone that Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" has somehow been incorporated into the explosive climax makes it all worth it.

Star Trek Beyond warps onto Blu-ray with a thoroughly excellent — and thoroughly flawless — technical presentation. From the crisp and film-like detail visible in the aliens' prosthetic makeup effects, to the way the red, yellow and blue of the Starfleet uniforms pop against pale grey rocks, to the manner in which millions of tiny stars contrast sharply against the pitch blackness of space, this 1080p image is a stunner from start to finish. And it's accompanied by an equally impressive Dolby Atmos sound mix, which perfectly replicates the theatrical experience of being surrounded by blasts of phaser fire, revving motorcycle engines and bombastic explosions.

Paramount's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack (the film is also available as a two-disc 4K UHD release and a three-disc 3D release) includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (1:02) - Two scenes ("Kirk and Scotty in the Terminal" and "Scotty Gets a Bib and Tucker").
  • Beyond the Darkness (10:08) - A piece about what director Justin Lin and writers Doug Jung and Simon Pegg bring to the movie, which also covers the film's story, its narrative devices, set-piece sequences and characters.
  • Enterprise Takedown (4:31) - A look at a particularly destructive action sequence, and its significance to the story.
  • Divided and Conquered (8:17) - A featurette about the filmmakers' approach of pairing up certain characters to drive the narrative.
  • A Warped Sense of Revenge (5:15) - A look at the characters of Krall and his followers, their backstory and their motivations.
  • Trekking in the Desert (3:06) - A look at filming in Dubai and the city's futuristic architecture.
  • Exploring Strange New Worlds (6:02) - A piece about the work of Production Designer Tom Sanders.
  • New Life, New Civilizations (8:04) - SFX Makeup Designer Joel Harlow talks about his work creating the film's different alien races.
  • To Live Long and Prosper (7:51) - The cast and crew muse about the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and what it means to them.
  • For Leonard and Anton (5:04) - The cast and crew fondly remember Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.
  • Gag Reel (5:13) - Flubs and goofs from the set.

Star Trek Beyond is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of November 1st, 2016. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 2 Mins.

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