In the end, STAR TREK BEYOND turned-out to be a perfectly serviceable entrée into the canon, and a more legit Trek movie to emerge from the franchise in awhile. It turns out that, yeah, Lin kinda did know how to make a good Trek movie, and while the box-office receipts were down enough that a fourth installment seems a bit iffy, creatively the Trek-universe is in a good place. Star Chris Pine, as he gets a little older, is starting to seem more Kirk-like, although him being burnt out on the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday seems a bit premature (Shatner’s Kirk was at least fifty before he started whining about being too old).
Everyone seems to be having a ball getting back into the groove. Of all of them, Zachary Quinto has always come the closest to recapturing the iconic nature of his character, but Karl Urban, having been given a lot more to do this time, is also giving it a solid go. Ditto John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldana as a kick-ass Uhura, Pegg as Scotty and most heartbreakingly, the late Anton Yelchin as Chekov. They also have a good villain this time, with Idris Elba as the complicated Krall making a solid physical adversary for the not unimposing Pine. Meanwhile, Sofia Boutella, of KINGSMAN and the upcoming THE MUMMY reboot steals scenes as a heroine who may well pop back into the franchise at some point.
My only issues are minor, such as the abandoned Yorkville inexplicably having a motorcycle on-board so Pine can so some alpha-male stunts, while the use of contemporary music (including a repeat of The Beastie Boys’s “Sabotage”) seems thrown in to make this “less geeky.” Hey Paramount, haven’t you heard? Geek is good!
Beyond the Darkness: A short featurette focusing on how Justin Lin was hired to direct, and how Simon Pegg got the co-writer gig.
Enterprise Takedown: Dedicated to the Enterprise destruction setpiece, the design and VFX.
Trekking in the desert: Another featurette, which reveals the futuristic Starfleet city in the film was constructed in Dubai.
To Live Long and Prosper: Focusing on the film’s timeliness, coming out on the 50th anniversary of the franchise, and how much it means to people.
Divided and Conquered An interesting featurette explaining why it was decided to pair up certain characters on individual arcs, with a focus on McCoy/Spock.
A Warped Sense of Revenge, New Life, New Civilizations, Exploring Strange New Worlds: Short featurettes dedicated to Idris Elba’s Krall (with spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet), the alien design, and the production design.
Gag Reel: A fun collection of flubs and goofs.
For Leonard and Anton: Two sweet dedications, one to Leonard Nimoy, and the other to Anton Yelchin, who died shortly before the movie’s release.
DVD/Digital HD copy