- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Filmmaker J.J. Abrams passed the directorial baton to Justin Lin (“Fast and Furious”) to deliver the latest installment of the rebooted Gene Roddenberry science-fiction universe to the big screen this summer.

Praised by critics, Star Trek Beyond (Paramount Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 122 minutes, 2.40:1, $39.99) arrives to home theaters in ultra high-definition to appreciate a crew of space explorers boldly going where no man has gone before.

Now in year three of a five-year mission, Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his loyal crew find themselves scattered and stranded on a planet, without a ship, and in a fight for their lives against a vicious enemy named Krall (Idris Elba) who has designs on seeking revenge against the United Federation of Planets.

Kirk’s familiar shipmates once again include including Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), Uhuru (Zoe Saldana), Scottie (Simon Pegg) and Checkov (Anton Yelchin) who must, against all odds, reunite and use their brain power and might to save a space station from attack and as the famed Vulcan opines “find hope in the impossible.”

Although the adventure sometimes mires in its past, relying on a villain tapping into the Borg and mega bad guys such as Khan, Kruge, and Nero, there is no denying the absolutely fun taking place on screen via jaw-dropping action sequences, mind-bending production design and room-shaking pyrotechnics.

Especially notable, and best played at loud volumes, a battle that delivers the coolest use of a “Beastie Boys” song in the history of cinema.

4K UHD in action: With the special-effects shots reportedly rendered in 2K, Sony does not release the film in the purest sense of ultra high-definition but rather a 4K upscale of the source material.

Still, that’s a fantastic upgrade to 2160p that especially highlights the marvels of the Starbase Yorktown and its gravity-bending infrastructure and cityscapes as the USS Enterprise snakes through an underground tube to dock for repairs.

Equally impressive was the disintegration of a famed spaceship and ending credits featuring a stunning fly-by through multiple galaxies and celestial phenomenon.

Slightly jarring is too much detail afforded to the skin of the principals — Spock, Kirk and Dr. McCoy. Each actor seems to have an unusual amount of aberrations on the face and chest that are not very well covered by make-up. Now, viewers can scrutinize their freckles, pimples and enlarged skin pores.

I’m not sure actors are thrilled by their existence in an ultra high-definition universe. However, it does work well to show off reality as well as subtle emotional indicators such as a slight glint of moisture on Kirk’s upper lip during a clearly tense escape scene.

Also, suffice to report, the Dolby Atmos speaker-panning sound mix shines in every space battle, especially during the rousing concluding conflict with Krall.

Best extras: About 45-minutes of production featurettes highlight the story, a deeper look at the villain, an introduction to creating new species (more than 50 alien races are shown on screen and highlighted by the cool scavenger named Jaylah), core crew’s friendships and an appreciation of the entire “Star Trek” franchise and its 50th anniversary (crammed into 8 minutes).

The extras also include a far-too-short, 5-minute homage to the late Leonard Nimoy and the late Anton Yelchin. I think Paramount could have done much better here.

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