SDCC 2016: Star Trek – Beyond Premiere Event Recap and Movie Review


DRWHO42 and friend attending the Trek event
DRWHO42 and friend attending the Trek event

The first day of San Diego Comic Con was certainly one to remember with the World Premiere event for Star Trek: Beyond. A number of SDCC attendees were fortunate enough to attend this screening after picking a winning ticket at a drawing held earlier in the day. The lottery draw was held on the marina at the rear of the convention center.

The event started early in the evening with an on-stage appearance and interview with the legendary Nichelle Nichols followed by some red carpet interviews and a costume contest.

Prior to the actual screening the cast was brought to the stage, which included Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Sofia Boutella, Idris Elba, composer Michael Giacchino, producer J.J. Abrams, and director Justin Lin.


The screening was in IMAX and started immediately after sunset and it was accompanied by the San Diego Symphony orchestra which performed the entire score to the movie live. At the commencement of the screening the orchestra started playing the score to the prior movies and there was some smoke being blown in which lead to a spectacular laser-light show with fireworks.

Seating at the event consisted of two sections: 1) invited guests who had assigned seats and 2) general seating. Those who won tickets through the lottery were seated in the general section. Our experience was not much different from the invited guests with the exception of closer seats in the reserved section. Seat cushions were given out to each attendee for both comfort and as a souvenir. The screening itself exceeded my expectations because there were no interruptions of the experience (outside noise, etc.) and the movie projected well on the IMAX screen setup specifically for this event. To sum up the experience I can only describe it as EPIC.

At the conclusion of the event everyone was given a swag bag which contained:
– A hat with the Vulcan hand salute on the front and the movie title on the back
– Enterprise T-shirt with the movie world premiere date on the back
– A lanyard with the movie title on it
– A starship pin
– Star Trek – The Original Series: Origins Blu-ray
– Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Directors Cut Blu-ray
– Star Trek (2009) – Blu-ray
– Star Trek: Into Darkness – Blu-ray

Spoiler Free Movie Review:
I have to admit that I have had this movie on my calendar since the release date was announced in 2015. This third installment of the Abrams-universe Trek franchise hits all the marks for what a Trek movie could and should be. This movie has it all – strange new worlds, a wide assortment of lifeforms, and more importantly crew boldly goes on a mission where no one from Starfleet has gone before.

Visually, this is a stunning movie which gives viewers a great vision of what living in the future could be like. In terms of story and plot there is everything one could wish for from a good villain, great action & stunts, with a sprinkling of humorous moments to delight all.

The actors are well adjusted to their characters and the situations they face also allow them be paired up with other crew members they have not been paired with in prior movies. This is fresh for the seasoned Trek fan and not the typical boilerplate sequel.

When the movie starts we come to find the crew is in the midst of their 5 year mission in deep space. We see a Kirk that has matured into the role of Captain who puts his crew and ship above anything else. The relationship between Kirk, Bones, and Spock continues to develop into the tight triumvirate we hold dear. The characters of Idris Elba (Krall) and Sofia Boutella (Jaylah) were great additions to the cast and made their roles their own. Idris’s acting permeated through the makeup from his walk and to his dialog. Krall was a formidable villain and certainly left an impression on me. Jaylah was written the way I had hoped. She was certainly not a damsel in distress but had a few demons to contend with during the course of the movie. There are points when each member of the Enterprise crew has something different to do and in the end what makes Star Trek work for me is the essence of teamwork.

Justin Lin and the creative team behind the movie were not sitting back when directing this movie. The aliens and scenery were well imagined. His approach to the visuals used in this this movie was both unique and colorfully stunning. Upon recollection of past movies there are some scenes that were never done in any of the prior Trek movies (no spoilers – you will have to see it for yourself). This movie captured the essence of what traveling and living in space could be – both the beauty and the dangers.

Overall, I am extremely happy with this entry into the Trek universe and after watching it a second time (yes – I did see it a second time in IMAX 3D) I can say it does have a re-watchability factor. For those on the fence I will say this movie is not a “trailer movie” – there is so much more in the movie when compared to the trailer. In the end this movie was a highlight of my summer movie schedule will be on my ‘must-buy’ list once it is available on Blu-ray.

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Kevin aka "DRWHO42" watches a lot of TV and avoids spoilers like the plague. He is an avid Whovian, Trekker, fanboy, gamer, traveler, planner, self-professed gym rat, and Starbucks espresso loyalist. When not plotting out his schedule for the next tent-pole movie or watching his favorite shows he is on the hunt for pop-culture TV & Movie media news. More importantly he is a frequent attendee of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) and New York Comic Con (NYCC). Follow him on Twitter @kevinDW42 @FoCCBlog