Sunday, October 30, 2016

Video review: "Star Trek Beyond"

I didn’t care for 2009’s reboot of the “Star Trek” franchise or its sequel, which placed me firmly in the minority of public opinion. I think the latest, “Star Trek Beyond,” is the best of the bunch – which is to say, merely mediocre.

The basic premise of this iteration is that the cast of the Enterprise are stranded on a strange planet and must contend with hostile forces. I don’t know about you, but I always thought the TV episodes where Kirk & Co. spent the bulk of their time planetside were usually the worst. I mean, it’s called “Star Trek,” not “Land Trek.”

Get back onto the bridge and do some space-y stuff, I say.

Anyway, while exploring reports of a lost Federation ship in a remote corner of the galaxy, the Enterprise is attacked by a swarm of enemies and destroyed, with Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest escaping and split up on the surface of the mysterious planet. Many are captured by Krall (Idris Elba), a strange alien who’s brewing up a nasty bioweapon.

(I remember when they self-destructed the Enterprise in “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” and it was a really big deal. Now they go through Enterprises like phaser batteries.)

With J.J. Abrams having decamped to take over the other big science fiction franchise, Star Wars, director Justin Lin takes over. The script was written by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg, who also plays engineer Montgomery Scott. Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Anton Yelchin reprise their roles as Dr. McCoy, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov, respectively.

It’s much more of a self-contained action/adventure than a real progression of the Star Trek mythology. Among other things, Kirk gets to ride an old Earth motorcycle, dazzling his enemies with his rad drifting and jumps. I half expected him to whip out an old Fonzie jacket, too.

It often feels like the movie would do anything to not be a Star Trek movie. Based on the previous two flicks, I think they made the right choice.

Bonus features are excellent, though you’ll have to shell out for the Blu-ray version – the DVD contains exactly none.

These include deleted scenes, gag reel, tributes to deceased stars Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, a perspective on the 50-year history of Trek with Abrams and the cast, plus seven making-of featurettes touching on every aspect of production, from story creation to special effects.



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