Star Trek Beyond (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)
Review by: Matt Brighton
Posted on: October 21st, 2016
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Plot: What’s it about?

I’m a Trekkie. I’m not afraid to admit that. I don’t know all the “rules” about being one, though, so I’ll say that there are probably two distinct facets that constitute this genre. You’ve got your “old school” Trekkies that are and always will be loyal to Kirk, Spock and Bones and then you’ve got the newer folks that like Picard, Riker and all of the other series that have come around in the past quarter century. But no matter where you stand – you love Star Trek. In fact, it seems that everyone loves Star Trek. And so in 2009 the film franchise was rebooted by J.J. Abrams and here we are with the third film. It would be one thing if they were making these and trying to give fans what they want (they are, but that’s beside the point), but they’re actually critically and commercially successful – that’ll guarantee they keep making them. Matter of fact, it might be argued that Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have become nearly a synonymous with Kirk and Spock as William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were. I’m sure that won’t sit too well with some folks.  Nevertheless, it’s been four years since Star Trek: Into Darkness, so let’s see what the crew of the Enterprise is up to.

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and crew are on a routine mission when they meet a stranger named Kalara (Lydia Wilson). While attempting to help her, the crew is attacked by a series of “beings” and the Enterprise is forced to crash land on a mysterious world. The crew is torn apart and is stalked by Krall (Idris Elba), a being who feeds on his victims by literally sucking the life out of them. He’s in search of a valuable artifact that’s believed to be on board the Enterprise and will stop at nothing to obtain it. Injured and torn apart, various facets of the crew attempt to keep the artifact out of Krall’s hands while trying to survive on the vast alien world. Of course this sets up the final act with Kirk battling Krall, but we all knew that from the get go. Will Krall succeed?

The best way I’ve come to describe any movie that’s based on a television series is this: it’s basically like an extended version and considered to be a “really good episode.” Granted, we don’t have any history with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock on the small screen, but putting that aside – that’s just what this is.  Abrams and director Justin Lin have both brought their trademark signatures to the third Star Trek film and it’s paid off. This is probably my favorite of the three. I’m in awe of the sweeping visuals, the special effects are lifelike and realistic and the story isn’t bad either. There might be a pretty varied cast when it comes to Star Trek, but when it comes down to it – it’s really the Kirk and Spock show. And that’s fine. They play their parts well and it shows. Fans of these new films will feel right at home here.

Video: How’s it look?

Paramount released the first two (new) Star Trek movies in Ultra HD last summer, coincidentally enough right about the time this movie came out. Coincidence? Each of those looked great and a noticeable improvement from the Blu-ray. With  Star Trek Beyond, this is a brand new film coming straight to the new format. Expectations are high. This one isn’t quite as colorful as the second, but seems to have a little more depth. The details in some of the computer displays seem to jump out at the viewer and the detail in the picture is incredible.  Comparing a few scenes with its Blu-ray counterpart (also included in the set), I did notice a bit more color depth on the UltraHD version. This, of course, is to be expected since they slap that HDR sticker on everything with a 4K logo on it. The interior of the Enterprise has strong contrast that really makes for a good-looking picture and the terrain-based scenes really seem to look the part. The 2.40:1 HD image never really suffers so anyone who was impressed by the first two films will be treated to more of the same here.

Audio: How’s it sound?

One thing that I really enjoy about the 4K titles is the presence of Dolby Atmos. I realize that a select number of Blu-ray’s have this soundtrack as well, but it really seems to “complete” the entire movie-watching experience when I’m surrounded by, for lack of a better word, sound.  The included Dolby Atmos soundtrack really never lets up, even during the supposed quiet scenes there always seems to be a little humm resonating. Vocals, of course, are pure and crisp and with the vast array of characters, I was amazed at how lifelike they really sounded (I close my eyes to get a better sense for sound sometimes, odd I know).  Without giving too much away, I’ll say that there’s a spaceship that’s destroyed and the sound associated with it is amazing. Several battles persist, the “enemy” has a very unique way of destroying their prey and just about everything in between sounds solid. If there’s a fault with this film it is not the soundtrack.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Deleted Scenes
    • Kirk and Scotty in the Terminal – Kirk asks Scotty if he wants to have a drink. Scotty declines. Kirk gets sneezed on by a small alien. I can’t imagine why that was cut.
    • Scotty gets a Bib and Tucker – In what I can only imagine is a follow-up to the above scene, Scotty gets a bib and tucker (which, I assume is some sort of slang for a new jumpsuit) for Kirk.
  • Beyond the Darkness – J.J. Abrams offers praise for director Justin Lin, how he came to the project and Lin’s collaboration with Simon Pegg in the writing department. We get a brief overview of the project as a whole as well as some insight from assorted cast and crew members.
  • Enterprise Takedown – The character of Kalara (Lydia Wilson) is explored in that she’s a new species to the Enterprise and her crew. Interestingly the duality of her character is looked at as a central theme in the film.
  • Divided and Conquered – We’re used to seeing the crew of the ship as one cohesive unit, but that’s throw out the proverbial window in this film as this feature focuses on the different segments of the crew on a new planet and how they interact with one another.
  • A Warped Sense of Revenge – The trio of antagonists are profiled with some particular emphasis on Krall (Idris Elba), his motivations and some of the layers to his character that might not have been visible at first (or even at the end).
  • Trekking in the Desert – When the choice for a futuristic city came up, the producers opted not to use CGI, rather head to Dubai that already had many of the makings of a “Trek-like” city. This short feature shows some of the things that were done to give it a bit more allure than working on a plain old soundstage.
  • Exploring Strange New Worlds – This production design feature profiles Tom Sanders, who brought his own unique vision to the movie as well as his affinity for tactile models that gave the film its own look and feel.
  • New Life, New Civilizations – SFX Makeup Designer Joel Harlow is interviewed and he’s the man who created, literally, the aliens in the movie. This latest installment contained the most of any Trek film to date and it’s interesting to see them come to life (so to speak) from the ground up.
  • To Live Long and Prosper – In its fiftieth year, Star Trek is still going strong and we’re greeted with a montage of clips from all the Trek films. J.J. Abrams, Simon Pegg and others all weigh in on the vision created by Gene Roddenberry as well as the overall message.
  • For Leonard and Anton – Two actors who played iconic Trek characters are no longer with us and this feature pays homage to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.
  • Gag Reel – Yep, five whole minutes of missed lines, goofs, laughing and “take two’s.”

The Bottom Line

The new line of Star Trek films shows that, even 50 years “…going where no one has gone before…”, they can still entertain. The stories are interesting and entertaining, the actors capable and the top notch production team seem to be fans of Trek as much as those watching the film. The disc both looks and sounds great and there’s just enough supplemental material that should merit a purchase.

Star Trek Beyond (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)
Justin Lin
122 min.

Certified Fresh 84%
  • 4K
  • (2.40:1)
  • Video Codec: AVC
  • Audio: Dolby TrueHD
  • Audio: Dolby Atmos
  • 2 Disc Set
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy