Star Trek Beyond

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday October 25, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

It's a shame that "Star Trek Beyond" underperformed at the box office this past summer. It was light years away from the drab mess of "Star Trek Into Darkness," filled with action, humor, and great character moments.

But if you missed the movie's cinematic run, or want to re-live its many slyly incorporated call-backs to the Original Series, which was first broadcast on NBC fifty years ago last month, this new Blu-ray release is right up your alley.

Or rather, your debris-choked nebula -- which is where Kirk and company head on what they think is a rescue mission. It turns out to be a trap. All the previews have spoiled this already, so I'll just say it: The Starship Enterprise has been beaten up pretty badly in the previous two "new timeline" movies, but (as was also true in the third installment in the original series of films), here she's utterly destroyed. The crew are marooned on an inhospitable planet, with most of them captured by an alien leader named Krall (Idris Elba).

Luckily for our guys, the main cast stay mostly together and meet a more than capable new friend named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), who first befriends Scotty (Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote) and then, as the others wander in -- Kirk (Chris Pine) and Chekhov (Anon Yeltchin), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and McCoy (Karl Urban) -- takes a shine to them, too. Sulu (John Co) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are trapped in Krall's encampment along with the rest of the surviving crew, but they work from the inside to frustrate Krall's nefarious plan (and there's gotta be a nefarious plan, right?) and orchestrate their escape in a derelict old Federation ship.

The film is lively and well-paced, directed by Justin Lin and co-written by Doug Jung, who also makes a cameo appearance as Sulu's husband Ben, a resident of the far-flung Starbase Yorktown... which is, you guessed it, Krall's first target in a campaign of rage against the Federation.

The Blu-ray release contains lots of extras that cover every aspect of the movie's production, from the ideas behind the major story beats to the lovingly included riffs on the Star Trek TV and film canon.

There's also a video montage of those shows and movies in a fun featurette titled "Live Long and Prosper," and a tribute to deceased "Trek" actors Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) and Anton Yelchin (the "new timeline" Chekhov, who was killed earlier this year in a tragic freak accident).

There's a gag reel, and also two deleted scenes -- one of which references a fan favorite from among Scotty's various romances on the Original Series.

Best of all, one featurette tackles the issue -- non-issue, really -- of Sulu being gay in this "new timeline" universe, with a civilian husband and a daughter. That choice was not a hit with original Sulu actor George Takei -- now proudly out, married, and an activist for LGBT equality -- but for the rest of us it's both welcome and long overdue. Finally, "Star Trek," still an optimistic vision of the future, is catching up with the times.

"Star Trek Beyond"

Blu-ray

$48.99

http://www.paramount.com/movies/star-trek-beyond

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.