Anyone seen Star Trek Beyond yet?


Thanks Ben. I really had no idea it could do that. It made sense in TNG since it had so many civilians on it. So if its war time then u gotta separate and protect the civs. What gain does it serve in the old enterprise?

Also, glad to see u back here. We missed u man. I've been following ur progress on twitter. I'm glad to know you are home now. U take care my friend.

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Thank you! It's been a tough week, but I'm doing a lot better... and still fighting!

The original idea for saucer separation was that it would separate for "short-range solar system exploration." Here's the (pretty darned fascinating!) writers' bible that introduced the concept (on page 48 of the PDF):'s_Guide.pdf

Looking into the fandom history a bit, it seems like what really popularized the saucer separation idea was the 1974 Franz Joseph Enterprise blueprint set, which marked where the ship detached and showed all kinds of details like where the secondary bridge was (deck 19, right behind the deflector dish!) We have so much errata these days that something as simple as ship blueprints probably wouldn't impact anyone... but back then, those drawings were the coolest thing in the world for info-starved Trek fans!


Rear Admiral
There was a book back in the 1980s called "Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise", and I'm 90-95% sure that it mentioned that the saucer could separate for emergency purposes, but the only way to reattach it was at a starbase.


Rear Admiral
Right, so my brother had his copy handy and was able to tell me this off-the-bat:

The section about F Deck talks about five independent fusion reactors that are used to power the impulse engines and the rest of the ship in the event of saucer separation. (because the warp core runs all the way up to F Deck, right under the impulse deflection crystal)

G Deck describes storage for the saucer's four emergency landing legs.

And H Deck is where it gets really exciting:
"Should emergency hull separation ever become necessary, the H Deck level of the connecting dorsal is designed to perform several major functions. Couplings in the vertical intermix shaft disconnect at this level, and explosive bolts beneath the floor sever the primary hull from the rest of the ship. Once the saucer has safely landed on a planet surface, the forward floor of the H Deck dorsal level drops down, becoming an ingress/egress ramp."

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Howdy Wing friends!

I went to see Star Trek Beyond again tonight (ed: now last night) and I thought I’d share my thoughts now that they’ve settled! This post will contain massive spoilers for the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet you should leave now!

I will say first, before criticizing anything, that I enjoyed the movie a great deal. I will also recognize a bias: seeing Beyond with Ali and Silas was my treat after getting out of the hospital. Every day I was in I felt like I was working towards it, and so I probably have a strong bias in favor.

I will also say: DO NOT SEE IT IN A BARCO ESCAPE THEATER. There is a version of Star Trek Beyond adapted for this ‘three screen’ experience, where you get additional FX shots on either side of yourself (like a really wide movie.) It sounded really cool, but in actuality it was distracting, weird and very, very poorly done. The color balance wasn’t right on the added footage and it was also clear that the Barco version of the movie wasn’t even finished (shots weren’t fully color graded.) See it the normal way. :)

Some stream of conscious thoughts, then I’ll talk about my big issue at the end:

- As much as I hate to say it, I miss some of the signature visuals that Mr.Abrams brought to the series; as easy as the lens flares were to make fun of, they also gave the reboot movies a very distinct feel. For better or for worse, it felt like a new visual style the same way the jump from the series fo the movies was at the time… and now we’re in a less stylistic rut.

- That said, I’m really, really glad to be rid of some of Abrams’ more ridiculous tropes. His ‘willful ignorance’ bit where he purposefully thumbs his nose about how the universe (real and fictional aspects) works is gone, and you can call me Teddy Roosevelt because I’m de-lighted. It’s present in spades in the Trek movies, and still a strong undercurrent in The Force Awakes) makes me mad. (You know; distances in space not being a thing, transporters working any crazy way he wants, magic blood, hyperdrive through shields, etc. It’s not so much that the movies sometimes awkwardly shrug and have to rely on these things as that he’s obviously treating that take as one of his signatures and is basking in the impact they have on the audience.)

- At the risk of maybe being a little too PC, it seemed problematic to leave only Sulu and Uhura as damsels in distress waiting for the other characters. Kudos to Mr. Lin for managing to keep four separate narratives moving forward together for a time (Kirk/Chekov, Spock/McCoy, Scotty/space lady and the prisoners) but it really strikes you when you get to Kirk and Chekov together… why are all the white people having adventures? (And just narratively, they probably should have cut this down a bunch anyway. Simon Pegg gave himself wayyyyyy more screen time than Scotty’s role deserves; he probably shouldn’t have had a separate leg of the movie.)

- The specifics of the evil plot were pretty bad, and the fact that the movie was structured so Krall’s true nature was a ‘reveal’ at the end hurt a bunch. Going in the second time was a bunch better, and you see the movie DOES explain much of the nonsense… but it does so before you know it needs an explanation, so it falls on deaf ears for a new viewer. I left the first time not having any clue what the deal with Krall’s army was: who was flying all the spaceships? WHY? It’s only with the second viewing that I understand they’re mining robots (‘bees’) he’s stolen and that there were only three Franklin crew still alive. Production design should have gone with something that looked less like Krall in a space suit for the robots, for sure. (And maybe not had scenes where you see them flying out into space like bodies…) If I were cutting this movie, I would start with Krall’s log entries (and if I were making this movie, I’d open with a prologue that introduced him as a human.)

- And you know, what the hell was Krall's plan for anyway? I feel like they came up with a good broad concept (unity makes us strong) but they didn't do much to present or advance it... or to explain why Krall killing a bunch of people would impact anyone's unity in the first place. (Is attacking Yorktown going to cause the Federation to collapse in on itself? How and why?) 'He mad, so he kill people' is bad writing.

- ... and why did he need the bioweapon in the first place when he has a giant army of robots and space fighters that were capable of instantly skeletonizing the most powerful ship in the Federation AND that were capable of reaching Yorktown immediately regardless?

- Blowing up the Enterprise is a lot more emotionally satisfying the first time and I somewhat rue the idea of 'repeating' the big beats from the original movies... but I will say it elicited a gasp when they cut the nacelles off.

- I could have cheered when they threw shade at the 2009 Star Trek for building the Enterprise on Earth. And then they did it again! That was satisfying. :)

- The deeper immersion into Star Trek lore felt very satisfying overall, but it verged into ‘they’ve been reading the wiki’ at one or two points. Still, massive, massive credit for embracing Star Trek Enterprise and the fact that it would be the ‘same’ since it happened before the timeline split. I never thought we’d get a movie about that before we dealt with Klingons.

- I thought the characters were much better than the previous two movies… at least, they were their classic selves instead of their Millennial stereotype equivalents. Kirk was a real, thinking starship captain instead of a sex party bro, Spock lost his ‘brooding’ emotional core and tapped into who he was on the show (Spock is hiding how much fun he’s having, not how much he wishes he were listening to Korn), McCoy bickered, Scotty was fun instead of a crazy pal dude, etc. I do continue to have a problem with Uhura being defined solely/largely as ‘Spock’s girlfriend’; not because it doesn’t match the show (well…) but because I feel like it does a disservice to the character as a whole person.

- I wish the Enterprise A looked a little more distinct. You can tell they were hard pressed to meet the CG deadlines, though, so I wonder if it’ll look a bit differently next time. (The scene where it was being constructed was very odd tonally too… very cool looking and I’m glad they made a big deal about it being in space… but it felt so out of place! Just have them look over at the new Enterprise…)

- The Franklin was really cool… but again I thought the aggressor ships were weak. After two viewings I can’t really tell you what they looked like (have had the same problem for several movies now.)

Now the thing that makes this not a top five Star Trek movie for me: Star Trek films have a villain problem in general. It’s something they’ve always struggled with and that the more simplistic setup of the reboot movies magnifies a hundredfold. Unlike other TV franchise-to-film reboots, classic Star Trek doesn’t HAVE a Professor Moriarty (… okay, I know…) or a Green Goblin who they can pump full of figurative steroids and make important for a movie adventure. The show was about traveling to strange new worlds and seeing something different each week… and when they needed a real ‘bad guy’ for a single story they usually relied on the screen presence of a particular character actor to make them instantly menacing rather than establishing them as some essential, ongoing part of the world (Mark Leonard as the Romulan Commander, Ricardo Montalban as Khan, etc.)

The first couple Star Trek films understood this implicitly (with the exception of Wrath of Khan, which had the luxury of bringing back one of those character actors!) and focused heavily on ‘man-against-God’ and ‘man-against-himself’ type stories. You can watch that break down pretty quickly after Star Trek V’s more ham-handed take, and starting with Undiscovered Country and going through the TNG films there’s always this very basic attempt to ‘make’ a bad guy quickly. You know: Chang is bad because he quotes shakespear and has an evil eye patch! You know Dr. Soran is evil because he’s Admiral Tolwyn! Casual viewers know the Borg are evil now because they have an EVIL SNOW QUEEN and so on, with less impact each time (who even casually remembers the name of the guy from Insurrection? Skin stretch man.)

To my mind, Star Trek Beyond came very close to making an effective signature villain, far moreso than Nero or Unnecessarily British Khan II. On paper, Idris Elba’s Krall is a really, really interesting character: a human from an earlier, less enlightened age, brilliant at war but unable to accept the peace. That’s a classic idea, and they worked him right into a sweet spot in the Star Trek lore, tying into Enterprise and the early history of the Federation established by the original series. Having him be a Captain with similar doubts as Kirk lets him be an interesting mirror and a way to inject a little bit of the classic films’ inward-looking philosophy instead of a cackling monster. But they didn’t do anything with it! They came so close to overcoming a fatal flaw in Star Trek films, they set up a wonderful idea… and then gave it the same damn ending as Into Darkness: a manic fist fight over an epic sprawling vista where Kirk tries his darnedest to kill the bad guy before {bad thing happens.}

That note-for-note repeat was certainly a letdown, but what ruins the ending for me is how it stacks up compared to a traditional Star Trek story. Because here’s something we’re going to forget if we keep having this same climax: Star Trek isn’t about Kirk and Spock punching bad people until they die. The classic episodes preached understanding and rehabilitation and acceptance. I think of Whom the Gods Destroy, with Garth of Izar (who is clearly the prototype for Krall) treated and hopeful at the end, or Space Seed with Khan and his followers being given a new chance to do what Kirk has come to understand they want, or Arena, where Kirk is given the opportunity to destroy the Gorn and instead explains we must learn to live together. Star Trek Beyond should have ended on that same humanistic, positive note, with the crew coming to understand what happened to Krall and (ideally) helping him in some way while showing why it's important that their universeview has evolved from his.


Rear Admiral
Wow - a really in depth review here. You should make a living of it! (oh, wait, you already have an awesome job)

It almost seems that the whole Krall metamorphosis was largely redundant. Yes, it prolonged his life & drove the plot. But for some reason I've never seen anyone wearing prosthetic (CG or otherwise) able to really carry a dramatic performance. I'd much rather have seen Idris Elba act the crap out of the role WITHOUT all the makeup.

And yes - a superweapon to kill everyone when you already possess that capability does seem largely anti-climactic. I guess they'd already set the bar high in the doomsday respect with Nero's whole 'mini black hole' magic goop. Now, a super weapon that turns everyone into MORE Krall drone things; kind of an insta-army builder - that might have raised the stakes a little... During the film I had actually thought that the weapon might have been exactly that.

Bah. What do I know. I'm not a film maker!

Overall, #3 on the Trek reboot list. First one's still the best in my mind. But not a huge gulf between them or anything.

(Beastie Boys don't need to save the day again. We're done with that.)


Vice Admiral
Hrm, I saw it in Barco today and thought it was quite good - the colors were matched and everything. It's possible maybe your theatre's lost its calibration? The only bad thing I would say is the three screens were disjointed - there was a black seam between them, so the shots weren't that transparent. But other than that, the colors were well matched and didn't suffer from any color issues (and I'm a sticker for that nowadays).

Though, the bad thing with Barco is the main screen is somewhat smaller it seems, so the standard anamorphic (2.15-2.25:1) shot wouldn't fit in there and it felt a bit of the action ended up well outside the normal safe area and into the side screens. And of course, well, there's a lot of time when the screens aren't showing anything, and you really end up wishing they would've used it more.

(Personally, I don't usually see movies this late - I only go for the "special" high end screens and audio - IMAX,3D/DBOX/Atmos/etc (our theatre calls it "UltraAVX"), 3D regular (the last is somewhat rare, since I generally detest regular screens). Barco does have an unadvertised use of the Auro 3D surround system though. Regular 3D I'm reluctant - having worked on glasses-free 3D screens for the past couple of years, glasses seem so... passe. (And I admit, when I saw The Martian in UltraAVX with DBOX, I wondered why they handed me glasses... been too used to seeing 3D without glasses. And no, it's miles better than a Nintendo 3DS).


Vice Admiral
The basic underlying technology is autostereoscopy, which is a fancy word for saying the screen produces views depending on the angle you view it. Similar to the Nintendo 3DS, there is a special optical film placed over a screen that redirects light.

Now. unlike the Nintendo 3DS, the technology I'm working with gives a wide 120 degree stereo viewing (i.e., you can be up to 60 degrees off perpendicular and still see a stereo image). But, it gracefully degrades, so you get a full 178 degree viewable image - just that it's no longer stereo, but 2D. And this is for a big screen, so multiple people can be watching at the same time (the Nintendo 3DS only works with single viewers).

It takes regular sources too, and 2D can be upconverted into 3D quite convincingly (it's one of the more advanced upconversion algorithms around), or you can feed in standard 3D stereo content for display.

The default setting is to subdue to the 3D to some extent, because if you want to make it safe for 24/7 continuous viewing you can't exaggerate the depth too much or you WILL make people sick. I've done it in the demos - cranked it up a fair bit, which looks very impressive but can start inducing nausea. I crank it back down to the default and it's perfectly watchable 3D without inducing sickness (yes, I too have felt sick at the higher settings).

Edit: Unfortunately, you need stereo vision to see the 3D even on our technology.