New on Blu-ray & DVD: Star Trek Beyond

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Three years into their five-year mandate, the crew of the USS Enterprise has found themselves in a comfortable rhythm. One where the daily job no longer offers the thrills and sense of discovery that it once did. The routine and uneventful nature of the work has taken a toll on members of the crew, but particularly on Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). Secretly contemplating a change in scenery in regards to his role within the Federation, Kirk’s plans to give up his position are temporarily put on hold when the Enterprise is dispatched on a rescue mission in the farthest reaches of space.

A risky assignment to begin with, things become even more dangerous when their ship is ambushed by an alien army led by Krall (Idris Elba), a ruthless general who is in search of an ancient artifact. Crashing on an unknown planet, and separated with no means of communicating with each other, the crew must figure out how to stop Krall before he can put his nefarious plan in motion.

If J.J. Abrams 2009 reimaging of the franchise was all about establishing the crew, and the 2013 sequel focused on testing their abilities, then Star Trek Beyond is all about exploring the interpersonal dynamics of the team. The script co-written by Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty in the film) and Doug Jung brings back the sense of adventure and fun that was sorely missing in films like Star Trek Into Darkness. Instead of merely focusing on the same old Kirk and Spock (Zachary Quinto) partnership, the film takes great pleasure in pairing off characters, such McCoy (Karl Urban) and Spock, and exploring the ways their interactions illuminate the team.

Star Trek Beyond does not bring many new ideas to the franchise from a plot standpoint, the predictable nature of the story all but guarantees that Krall will join the long line of forgettable villains in the series; however, the film is an entertaining ride from beginning to end. Taking the characters out of the confines of the Enterprise provides Justin Lin, who takes over the director’s chair from Abrams, opportunities to fill the film with plenty of swashbuckling action. The presence of the warrior Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) is a welcome addition in that regards. Lin’s filmmaking style fits nicely with the overall look and tone of the film. The reoccurring circular imagery in the film, whether on the Enterprise or on a plant that resemble an oversized snow globe, offers a surprising number of avenues for thrilling action sequences. While Kirk may lament the fact that life on the Enterprise has become episodic, Star Trek Beyond reminds us that sometimes viewers simply want an episode that, while not ground-breaking, allows them to have fun with their favourite characters for a few hours.

The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack that hits stores today, courtesy of Paramount Home Media Distribution, is full of special features that should make hardcore Star Trek fans happy. Aside from a brief, but touching, tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, The Beyond the Darkness: Story Origins featurette has several insightful nuggets on the thought process behind taking this film in a different direction from its predecessors.

Special Features include:
* Deleted Scenes.
* Beyond the Darkness
* Enterprise Takedown
* Divided and Conquered
* A Warped Sense of Revenge.
* Trekking in the Desert
* Exploring Strange New Worlds
* New Life, New Civilizations
* To Live Long and Prosper
* For Leonard and Anton
* Gag Reel