A few weeks back, we brought you our early review of the standard Star Trek Beyond Blu-ray bonus features, which are included on both the iTunes edition of the film, as well as every on-disc media release of this summer’s newest Trek adventure.
But as we’ve reported – just like with Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013 – many of the film’s bonus materials have been spread between different retailers, meaning you may have to shop around if you want to pick up every version of the release.
If you gravitate toward special features that focus on production details (and the below-the-line creators in the world of Star Trek), then the Target-exclusive bonus feature disc is a must-buy. From props and costumes, to music and special effects, this extra disc covers all of that ground and more throughout its running time, which adds an additional 45 minutes of content to the primary bonus content.
NOV. 2016 UPDATE: This bonus disc is also found in the UK as a Sainsbury’s exclusive release.
Also found on this disc are the three primary Beyond theatrical trailers released ahead of the film’s debut, as well as Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer” music video – though the ‘making-of’ feature for “Sledgehammer” is not included.
The collection of vignettes is an immersive deep-dive into the creative minds behind the film’s epic production design, including a fascinating look at Justin Lin’s four-person (!) editing crew, as well as prop master Andrew Siegel’s incredible creations. The disc also includes a fun hook in the feature analyzing Michael Giacchino’s majestic score, as he is interviewed by his teenage son (which may sound hokey, but works very well).
Every feature in this compilation resonates with the heartfelt praise of the production crew for Justin Lin’s camaraderie and collaborative creative process. You get a complete understanding of how Lin works to put together such a massive project, and it’s truly impressive.
(Although, it is a mild disappointment that some bonus content wasn’t included to discuss the connective tissue between Star Trek Beyond and Star Trek: Enterprise, which was executed so flawlessly in the final cut of the film.)
In addition, as we reported earlier this fall, iTunes once again is home to the ‘enhanced commentary’ audio track by Justin Lin, unavailable – at least, for now – on any Blu-ray release of Beyond.
Since that’s also an exclusive release to Apple’s digital domain, we wanted to make sure to give it our full attention too – so you can plan your next round of viewing!
1. Enhanced Audio Commentary (iTunes)
There has to be a legitimate reason (to destroy the Enterprise). Working through it early on, the idea of taking away the security blanket from the characters, to be able to have them be challenged in this new environment and to hopefully find each other, made it worth it. – Justin Lin
For the most part, film commentaries usually come in one of two packages: either a group of actors and/or producers reminisce together in a fun, lively conversation about the making of the film, or a filmmaker does a solo commentary that ends up being much more introspective. Justin Lin’s commentary on Star Trek Beyond definitely falls into the latter category.
This feature includes picture-in-picture, behind-the-scenes footage sprinkled throughout the commentary, but ultimately those images are not as satisfying as the unique video-controlled commentary on Star Trek Into Darkness, which featured producers highlighting elements of the film on screen and running the film backwards and forwards to focus on specific items.
Some of the interesting factoids include:
- The closet shot of Kirk’s duplicate tunics was Chris Pine’s idea.
- The writers and cast spent a massive amount of time on the set working through the critical nuance of the Kirk/Bones birthday discussion. Clearly time well spent.
- Lin reveals he was extremely sick shooting most of the Yorktown arrival scenes. (Great behind the scenes footage has been inserted here).
- Lin discusses his initial conversation with Idris Elba, where he was confident he had found his Krall, but was worried the actor might reject the offer because of the heavy prosthetics.
- For those who didn’t notice (including this reviewer), Lin highlights a fantastic one-shot of Scotty and Jaylah entering the Franklin for the first time together (which begins on the rocks outside the ship, follows the pair up into the ship and ends with Jaylah shining her flashlight on the Franklin registry sign).
Some of the items that may leave you wanting more:
- Lin teases the viewers by saying he preferred a more action-heavy opening that he wrote (instead of the light-hearted scene with the Teenaxi), but doesn’t reveal any clues as to what that might have been.
- An extremely odd picture-in-picture shot of Kirk watching the saucer section hurl toward Altamid from his Kelvin Pod that unnecessarily duplicates the shot you are watching on the main screen.
Our take: Although slightly dry and offering only a few deeply revealing factoids, Lin does allow the viewer to get a personal insight into his filmmaking process and motivations.
2. “Small World” (8:05)
“We liked the idea of all of these personal things, and we thought we’d play with that, and feed it into the general ennui that the crew have at this point. And then suddenly what they take for granted gets ripped away.” – Simon Pegg
The little moments that affect Kirk and Spock so poignantly at the onset of Star Trek Beyond are examined in varying degrees of detail in this opening vignette. With most of the focus on Kirk’s struggle with his own legacy, and that of his father, the feature includes some strong background from producer Lindsey Weber and director Justin Lin, as well as Chris Pine, on the characters’ overall motivational arc in the film.
The strength of this bonus feature, however, is its examination of the creative process that led to the production team’s decision to open the film with a more lighthearted prologue, in stark contrast to the action pieces that opened Star Trek ’09 and Star Trek Into Darkness.
The excellent third-camera production views of Kirk faux-fighting the computer-generated Teenaxi (who are inserted later), are a delight, as are the producers’ explanations of how this humorous showdown was able to flow seamlessly into the gravitas of the film and the immediate portrayal of the everyday malaise the crew finds themselves in on day 966 of their five-year mission.
Our take: A basic compilation of soundbites and behind-the-scenes camera work that might have done better to focus more heavily on the production elements that went into the opening prologue (and how it related to the rest of the film).
3. “The Battle of Yorktown” (5:11)
“I didn’t want it just to be a fight. I wanted to have two characters who had their own journey, and in many ways parallel journeys, but had very valid points of view and philosophy.” – Justin Lin
This slightly mixed-bag feature opens with extremely quick snippets on the “Sabotage” attack, McCoy’s role flying a swarm ship, the visual effects that went into creating the Yorktown and playing with the physics of gravity, before finally settling into an interesting vignette on the contrasting motivations of Kirk and Krall as they have one final showdown “on the maintenance tower at the station’s gravitational nexus.”
Excellent interviews with Lin, Idris Elba and Chris Pine (as well as some great behind-the-scenes shots) add great depth to the piece, which is summed up perfectly by producer Lindsey Weber as a “physical fight, with a unique visual trick, and an ideological showdown as well.” It’s a strong finale to the film, and it’s dissected very well in this feature.
However, other topics were given such short shrift that they probably shouldn’t have been included. The mere 30 seconds or so focusing on the selection of “Sabotage” to anchor the film’s climactic battle sequence will definitely leave fans wanting more.
Our take: An odd piece that opens with quick 30-second nuggets on a variety of Yorktown topics, all of which barely scratch the surface, before settling into a nice deep dive into the final gravity-well fight between Kirk and Krall.
4. “Properly Outfitted” (3:29)
“Justin wanted a more realistic, sort of a grittier version of Star Trek.” – Andrew Siegel
Holy crap: the Kelvin phasers slots into their rifles, like the old-school TOS Phaser 1 and Phaser 2 designs! That could literally be the entire review for this fantastic special feature, which has one mindblowing reveal after another as it expertly showcases the props from Star Trek Beyond.
Property master Andrew Siegel hosts the feature and hits on everything you want to see, from the “chunkier” Franklin-era phasers to Scotty’s busted communicator. Jaylah’s gear is also featured prominently, including details on her staff, as well as her motion-capture technology and refractor belt.
Our take: It may only run three and a half minutes, but it doesn’t miss a beat. This is one of the Beyond release’s best features, and it packs a powerful punch with some never-before-seen close-ups and details on the film’s spectacular prop work.
5. “Set Phasers to Stunning” (4:58)
“I got a very brief message from Justin saying, ‘I’m doing Star Trek, do you want to do it?’ And my answer was, ‘Are you kidding?!? Of course I want to do it!’” – Sanja Hays
Justin Lin’s directive for Beyond’s costume design was to “embrace and celebrate everything that’s come before, but not be afraid to try something new.” To achieve that goal he brought in Sanja Hays, one of genre film’s most respected costume designers. Hays is a self-described Trekkie who had previously worked on Star Trek: Insurrection.
The costume work in Beyond is obviously a huge strength of the film, from Starfleet’s new survival jacket to the long sleeves (and ranks!) for women. In this superb vignette, Hays describes her decision-making process for all of the film’s key costume designs, including Jaylah (a worn look, with an “appeal to the gaming generation”), Krall (“a bio-suit, not really armor” that still needed to move well) and the Yorktown public (“a little bit of everything, to make it look like there are people from all over the galaxy”).
Our take: Another fantastic feature showcasing the brains and talent of what goes into the creative costume design for a major motion picture. Hearing Hays reveal her inspiration for each key design, and how she works with Justin Lin, is a treat for fans of below-the-line production.
6. “Spliced” (6:03)
“Some of these characters have been around 50 years. When you are cutting the dailies it’s like, ‘OK, I’m cutting…Bones and Spock.’” – Dylan Highsmith, editor
An original feature that is as much about Justin Lin’s incredibly unique production style as the nuance of making Star Trek Beyond — and that’s absolutely fine.
Lin’s production vision includes the use of four different editors working independently on specific scenes to put together his final film, which in his words allows everyone “to play without stagnating. It comes down to frames sometimes, and I think it’s important to have that open dialogue.”
This informative piece includes comprehensive interviews with editors Greg D’Auria, Dylan Highsmith, Kelly Matsumoto and Steven Sprung. From finding the narrative through lines to discovering how much is too much, this is an introduction to filmmaking in six minutes.
The editors on Lin:
- “Justin is always returning to story and character above anything else.” – Sprung
- “He has a certain style for action, that’s as real as it can be. Not just flash and quick cutting.” – Matsumoto
- “In terms of editing a scene that may be dramatic, there’s always a chance to find a little bit of a twinkle in somebody’s eye.” – Sprung
The four editors (Lin’s self-described “Dream Team”) will each take one major sequence and then bounce around on different dialogue scenes. They all work separately in the same area, so Lin can work his way around each editing bay to offer his personal recommendations.
Our take: Editing “really is the final rewrite,” says Sprung, and this amazing feature shows you exactly why that is the case.
7. “Beats and Shouting” (9:14)
“Our main theme is about bonding and friendship, and how strong that bonding and friendship needs to be in order for things to work as a team. You need to trust each other. That’s why it starts off very simple. It’s about this idea, and gets bigger and bigger. And to me that represents the idea of building trust… a very powerful, simple theme that says this is a strong team and a team with a very strong core friendship.” – Michael Giacchino
This is the longest video feature in the Target release, and perhaps the most deserving of that distinction, since the soundtrack from Beyond has already cemented itself as a definitive piece of Star Trek music from Michael Giacchino Jr.
The vignette features a nontraditional interview with Giacchino by his adorkable teenage son, Michael III, which might sound like a bad idea, but is actually very clever and fresh in this setting.
The interview ultimately covers all the bases.
- On the Yorktown: “It stands for where the Federation is going. It really wrote itself.”
- On writing for new characters: “It’s about a feeling, so I need to get to know and empathize with the character.”
- On Krall: “He was abandoned, left alone; not cared about. … I went through four or five versions of his theme, before settling on one that hit on all the story points. … I can use it in different ways. A sad way, an action way. It morphed with the character in the story.”
- On Jaylah: “She’s actually my favorite new character.” (Join the club!) “She’s protecting herself, while slowly building trust. It’s a sad theme, but it ends in a beautiful hopeful way. … There is always an underlying layer of hope in her character.”
In Giacchino’s own words, the maestro uses “different melodic tricks that make it feel like the old show.” By using instruments like vibraphones and straight mutes in trumpets, he instils echoes of the music from he Original Series.
Our take: An insightful look at Giacchino’s creative process that also delves into how he and Lin worked together on Beyond to “break from what was done before, but at the same time keep some of the same feelings and textures from the old series.”
8. “Visually Effective” (8:07)
“Justin is really crazy about (having) it feel like a real camera rig in space. You can put the camera anywhere in a CG shot, but that’s not how we do it. We really consider that this is a camera person operating a shot. … A lot of what we talk about is, ‘Does this feel like real photography?’” – Ron Ames, visual effects producer
A number of fun storyboard shots and composite photography samples punctuate this look at the visual effects in Beyond. However, the piece mostly taps into the philosophy of Lin and his crew, as opposed to the technical machinations that went into producing such stunning visuals.
While the video broadly touches on everything from the swarm attack to the swarm soldiers and the Yorktown station, the extra detail shown in filming the motion-capture refractors utilized by Jaylah when she first meets “Montgomery Scotty” is a highlight (and should have been utilized in other sequences).
Nearly absent from this vignette are details about the impressive stunts and wire work shot at a base level before being composited into final VFX shots. The many brief glimpses of these shots (crew being pulled by wires out of a corridor and into space; Simon Pegg jumping out of his torpedo while wired to a crane; Chris Pine and Anton Yelchin doing their own wire work stunts as they jump out of the way of the saucer section) all leave you wanting more.
Our take: A decent broad stroke on Beyond’s immersive visual effects, but there is not enough detail to really satiate the “how’d they do that?!?” curiosity of many fans.
As we’ve recommended in the past, if you don’t care about fancy packaging or model starships, the best value – to get all of these features – is to pick up a copy of the special Target release, which also contains the regular bonus material along with a redemption code for a free iTunes download. You can pick it up in stores today, or through Target.com.
Be sure to check out our photos of the Best Buy exclusive Beyond steelbook, also available today, and look for our upcoming photos of the Walmart and Target exclusive packaging releases, as well as galleries of full-resolution, 1080p screencaps from the Beyond Blu-ray.