Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (1979) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Drama / Science Fiction / Thriller|
|Paramount || PG - 685 minutes - $139.99 || May 12, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-05-20|
Writer(s): Gene Roddenberry (created by)
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Kristie Alley, Ricardo Montalban, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Plummer, Robin Curtis, Catherine Hicks
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|| STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) || *** / *****
Plot: A massive alien presence of enormous power enters Federation space, destroying three powerful Klingon cruisers and neutralizing everything in its path. As it heads towards Earth, Admiral James T. Kirk returns to the helm of an updated U.S.S. Enterprise and sets course to meet the aggressor head-on.
Short version of my thoughts on this first Star Trek feature film: snooze-fest. The movie actually starts out well enough introducing (or re-introducing for fans of the series) to Spock and Kirk, the Starship Enterprise herself along with developing an uncomfortable feud between Kirk and the Enterprise’s current captain (whom Kirk demoted to XO to take command).
Outside of that, though, this is a movie that could probably be skipped and only even slightly enjoyable for true fans of the series. I remember groaning after several minutes watching the “exciting” revelation of an alien ship with the occasional intercutting of seeing shocked faces of the Enterprise crew. Literarily there was no dialogue during this time as if the audience is supposed to be on pins and needles wondering what they are looking at (it’s also an obvious copy/homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey). Perhaps 30 years ago, it was impressive. That’s not so much the case anymore.
The cast works well together with William Shatner slinking into the Kirk character as well as Leonard Nimoy playing Spock. Along with DeForest Kelly as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the trio have great chemistry obviously mined from the television series.
|| STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1981) || ****½ / *****
Plot: Feeling that the future holds nothing close to what the past once did, Admiral James T. Kirk begins to believe that galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young. Yet on a routine inspection of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Kirk’s Starfleet career enters a new chapter as a result of his most vengeful nemesis: Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically enhanced conqueror from late 20th-century Earth. Escaping his forgotten prison, Khan sets his sights on capturing Project Genesis, a device of god-like power, and the utter destruction of Kirk.
I can say with little equivocation Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of the best sequels ever made behind only The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight and The Empire Strikes Back. I hadn’t seen the movie in several years so much of it felt new, but I was fully immersed, not an easy task when you watch several movies every week.
What makes Star Trek II head and shoulders above the first movie is it is filled with fantastic action, gripping suspense and a true heart at its core with an ending in which if you do not shed even a single tear, you are not human. I can’t think of a single thing where this sequel was not better than the original. Its 112-minute running time was perfect telling an interesting story with a cruel villain played by the late and great Ricardo Montalban. Add in the life-long friendship between Kirk and Spock (played to perfection by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy), and you have a great and memorable movie.
The movie was directed by Nicholas Meyers, Star Trek II also features a solid supporting cast including DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei and Kirstie Alley. I know many are/will be disappointed that the director’s cut was not the version used in this set, and while I share the feeling, getting this theatrical version on Blu-ray is still great, but I’m 99% sure that one will come to Blu-ray and hopefully as a standalone release.
|| STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1984) || ***½ / *****
Plot: In the wake of Spock’s ultimate act of sacrifice, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise returns to Earth from the newly formed Genesis planet. Upon arrival, the crew learns that life back home will not be easier. Scotty gets reassigned, Dr. “Bones” McCoy appears to be going insane, and the Enterprise is to be decommissioned. It is only when Kirk is confronted by Spock’s father that he learns his old friend may have another chance at life if the crew can survive the Klingon interference and return to the Genesis planet.
The third entry in the Star Trek franchise, and one that takes place almost immediately after the events of Star Trek II, is a good movie, but nothing more. It lacked the excitement, the humor and the emotions of the previous entry. Unlike the Wrath of Kahn, an action-adventure more than anything, Search for Spock is pure science-fiction which may be a turn off for some viewers, though sci-fi fanatics may appreciate it more than others.
Directed by Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock has some decent moments but at only 96-minutes (w/o credits), it seemed like more story could’ve been told and when the climactic scene finally unfolded, it was nice, even sweet, but ultimately ineffective. I’m not sure if this was due to Nimoy’s direction or Harve Bennett’s screenplay, but this could’ve been a better film if only more care was put into it.
The cast seemed to go through the motions. Even William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, after a devastating event, didn’t come close to his heart wrenching and heartfelt performance after the sacrifice his best friend made for him and the Enterprise crew. Hell, nothing will ever match his blood-curdling “Khaaaaannn!” scream. As for Leonard Nimoy, he’s actually not in it that much (maybe 10-minutes, max and only a few lines) but his presence was always felt and the only thing that propelled this film and made me care about what the Enterprise crew’s venture to find Spock.
|| STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986) || ***¾ / *****
Plot: Branded as fugitives by the very Federation they swore to protect, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise dutifully returns to Earth to face charges for crimes committed in the course of rescuing a resurrected Spock. But en route, it is learned that the Earth is being ravaged by a strange alien probe demanding a response from a life form that no longer exists. Commandeering a captured Klingon Bird of Prey, Kirk and his crew bend time and space to save Earth and rediscover the meaning of friendship.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the conclusion to the “Spock Trilogy” in which our intrepid crew go back in time to the late 20th century to an uncivilized population with bad manners and use course language. Their mission is to get a couple humpback whales (which are extinct in the 23rd century) take them back to their own time to stop an alien probe whose 'attack' is based upon trying to communicate with the whales.
I’m not a Trekkie by any stretch, though I’m pretty sure the original series did get that asinine with its plotline, the story for this was just a tad... strange even by Star Trek standards. That said, once you can roll with what the Enterprise crew is trying to accomplish, you will find at its core a fun (and funny) movie that is a modest improvement over the ho-hum previous entry. It doesn’t come close to Star Trek II, but it does right the ship.
Again directed (and co-written) by Leonard Nimoy, it would seem his skills are more honed or confident. Sure, it’s not some masterful piece of filmmaking in terms of style, but Nimoy shows great comic timing without being hokey (my favorite is Scotty trying to communicate with a mid-80s computer, which has a double sense of humor during this day and age).
Taken as a trilogy (Star Trek II – IV), it might not hold a candle to the likes of Star Wars or anything, but it’s a good compilation of movies that fans and non-fans alike can enjoy.
|| STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989) || **¾ / *****
Plot: A renegade Vulcan with a startling secret hijacks the U.S.S. Enterprise in order to find a mythical planet. Kirk and his crew set out to stop a madman in an adventure that takes them to the center of the universe and, perhaps, before the face of God. With the crew under Vulcan control, the captain must rely on an unlikely alliance to save the galaxy.
Amongst Trek fans, there’s much fodder over where the fifth entry into the original series’ franchise fits. Is it actually worse than The Motion Picture? Was the entire movie a way to stroke the massive ego of one William Shatner, a man who could only watch as his co-star managed to co-write and direct the previous two movies? Yes and yes.
Although I don’t feel Star Trek V is a horrible movie, it is probably the worst of the franchise, just slightly below The Motion Picture. Underneath the surface, the story is actually pretty good but it moves at such a quick pace, the film has little time to expand on character development or the deeper meanings set forth (the final scene is also never fully explained).
I felt that this was, as it has been said over the years, more of a way to stroke Shatner’s ego. Now, some may feel that is a slap at the man, but personally I have far more respect for someone with a strong ego and let’s others know rather than people who sneak around and try to disguise who they really are... Overall, The Final Frontier is an uneven film. The visual effects are far, far, far below that of the previous entries. According to IMDb, ILM, who had worked on the other movies, was unavailable to work on the final scene (they were handling Ghostbusters II and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the time) and thus due to the awful effects, it was considerably shortened. Not sure what parts ILM did work on but I noticed a significant drop in quality.
The story itself never gets into first gear beginning with Kirk, Spock and McCoy on shore leave camping in Yosemite Park in which our favorite trio do their rendition of “Row, Row Your Boat” over a campfire. In fact, from the teaser opening with the introduction of the film’s catalyst, Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), to the first 15-minutes before the film picks up pace, the movie felt cheap and flat.
|| STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1991) || ****½ / *****
Plot: After a lunar cataclysm brings the Klingon Empire to its knees, the foreign concept of peace with the Federation may be finally within reach. Ironically, it is Admiral James T. Kirk who is the first emissary to broker that peace. Yet all hope is virtually lost when the U.S.S. Enterprise and crew are implicated in the brutal assassination of a Klingon diplomat, bringing both worlds to the brink of full-scale war.
The Star Trek franchise is so unusual with its ups and downs in terms of quality. Where many franchises tend to slide down with each new movie (Batman --> Batman & Robin), Star Trek manages to save itself from the depths of direness, after the poorly executed Final Frontier, with what most consider being a film that can compete with Star Trek II, and indeed, it does. The sixth, and final film of the original series crew, is a fantastic mixture of science-fiction, suspense and mystery with a finale reminiscent of a good Hitchcock assassination thriller.
The original cast, appearing one last time (this would be DeForest Kelley’s final theatrical appearance), still have the great chemistry that was built from the 1966 television series and carried it through SIX feature films. There really isn’t one performance that stands out from the other. Shatner is still great as Kirk and shares a kinship with Leonard Nimoy’s Spock and Kelley’s Dr. McCoy. And while Christopher Plummer doesn’t come even close to Ricardo Montalban, he’s still an effective villain going up against Kirk.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, surprisingly enough, came close to the same level of quality as The Wrath of Khan. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the third act and the film as a whole just clicked on all cylinders thanks in no small part to the return of Nicholas Meyer as both writer and director. As cool as it was for producers to allow Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner to direct their movies, it goes to show how much the telling of a good story depends on getting a capable director.
The “Motion Picture Trilogy” comes packed in a shiny and partially reflective slip case and the discs are housed in digipak holders. The discs are exactly the same as the one’s available in the “Motion Picture Collection”.
All three films feature the following:
Library Computer (Profile 1.1/2.0) – This is just some text trivia on various subjects (Kirk, Spock, V’ger, Vulcan, etc) that you can select from a menu on the side while watching the movie. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
BD-Live with the Star Trek IQ – This allows users to post their own IQ tests to take. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Each also includes the theatrical trailer for the new Star Trek movie and a promo for the “Star Trek” Season 1 Blu-ray release.
|| STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) || **** / *****
Feature Commentary with Michael & Denis Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman. The five participants talk about the movie together (versus spliced in comments) as they share their experiences when they first saw the movie back in ’79. ** NEW FEATURE **
“PRODUCTION” (1 Featurette):
The Largest Trek: Writing the Motion Picture (10:44; HD) is a new featurette covering the numerous drafts and versions Paramount was throwing around for the franchise (a new series vs. feature film).
“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” (2 Featurettes):
Special Star Trek Reunion (9:37; HD) some members of the secondary (and extras) cast chat about filming The Motion Picture, so it’s not exactly what you think. ** New Feature **
Starfleet Academy Scisec Brief 001: Mystery Behind V’Ger (4:24) – A semi-cute chick explains the V’Ger in front of a green screen with visuals behind her about the history behind the Voyager.
Deleted Scenes (8:02) – There are 11 rough scenes that were, quite frankly, a little tough to watch, especially without any music or sound effects. It’s actually kind of funny to watch.
Lastly there are three storyboards and a couple trailers and TV spots.
|| STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982) || ****½ / *****
There are two feature commentaries the first is from the initial DVD release with director Nicholas Meyer and the other, a new one, with Meyer and Manny Coto, producer of “Enterprise”. With rare exceptions, I always prefer 2 person (or more) tracks, but Meyer’s solo track wasn’t too bad. The second track -- a ** NEW FEATURE ** -- is great as the two have a nice conversation about the movie from the perspective of a fan (Coto) with Meyer given another opportunity to talk about his love for various topics.
“PRODUCTION” (5 Featurettes):
Captain’s Log (27:21) goes over the origins of Khan from his debut on the “Star Trek” series in the episode ‘Space Seed’ and re-introducing the character in the Star Trek sequel. It also covers Leonard Nimoy’s refusal to be in the movie and the one thing that interest him was the death of Spock; Nicholas Meyer’s coming on board which also was a reason for Nimoy’s involvement.
Designing Khan (23:54) – The director, production designer, costume designer, art director and other members of the crew describe the look of the Star Trek universe trying to create a future look. Topics range from the costumes to the ships.
Original Interviews (10:56) with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and Ricardo Montalban were filmed in 1982 to promote the upcoming Star Trek II release.
Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II (18:14) is fairly self-explanatory featuring interviews with those involved with the visual effects with some cool archive footage of the model designs and how certain techniques were done back the early 80s. I actually found this more interesting than most of these other featurettes.
James Horner: Composing Genesis (9:33; HD) features comments from the composer about his involvement with the sequel and explains how he even sat in on sessions with Jerry Goldsmith during his work on the original movie. ** New Feature **
“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” (3 Featurettes):
Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics (11:05; HD) takes a look at the collectable memorabilia of the props and costumes of both the series and movies. ** New Feature **
A Novel Approach (28:55) covers the novels released featuring interviews from two Trekkies about their love for Star Trek.
Starfleet Academy Scisec Brief 002: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI (3:08; HD) is a simple Wikipedia-like featurette with a chick standing in front of a green screen about Khan and the planet he was deserted on. ** New Feature **
Lastly we get a nice Tribute to Ricardo Montalban (4:44; HD) ** New Feature ** with comments by Nicholas Meyer; 12 Storyboards; and the theatrical trailer (2:22).
|| STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1984) || ****½ / *****
Again, we get two feature commentaries. The first was ported over from the DVD release and includes director Leonard Nimoy, writer/producer Harve Bennett, director of photography Charles Correll and actress Robin Curtis. The participants are spliced in together, unfortunately, but it’s still an interesting track. The second one, and a ** NEW FEATURE **, is with producer Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Michael Taylor, neither had nothing to do with the making of Star Trek III, but offer their insights into the universe as they had involvement with the series or future movies.
“PRODUCTION” (4 Featurettes):
Captain’s Log (26:13) is a basic overview on the making of Star Trek III and how Leonard Nimoy came to direct the third movie, coming up with the story and all the behind-the-scenes elements. Interviews include with Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner (at his most humble moments), Christopher Lloyd and others.
Terraforming and the Prime Derivative (23:53) is an introspective look at the Star Trek universe and how it translates to current society. It features interviews with various people from an author to someone at NASA about the Genesis project and the real life possibilities.
Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek (13:50; HD) goes over the effects used over the course of the films and how it has progressed through the years and the difficulties on some shots. ** NEW FEATURE **
Spock: The Early Years (6:22; HD) covers the four actors used as Spock through his transformation on the Genesis project. It features an interview with the actor who played Spock, Age 17. ** NEW FEATURE **
“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” (5 Featurettes):
Space Docks and Birds of Prey (27:49) – With an increase in the budget, filmmakers were able to make better models for Star Trek III, this includes the space dock and the Birds of Prey ship.
Speaking Klingon (21:04) features a guy who actually created the Klingon and Vulcan language used in Star Trek II and subsequent movies.
Klingon and Vulcan Costumes (12:16) goes over how the costumes (obviously) are made and features interviews with the costume designer.
Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (16:52; HD) is an interesting look at the museum in Seattle with a bunch of memorabilia, cool exhibits and the like for all science-fiction fans to behold. Well, sort of. It’s just an interview with a Star Trek writer intercut with footage from the movies. ** NEW FEATURE **
Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 003: Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer (2:42; HD) is another pointless featurette with info you can easily get from a Trek fansite. ** NEW FEATURE **
We also get a photo gallery on the production and movie, 9 storyboards and the theatrical trailer.
|| STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986) || ****¼ / *****
The Blu-ray contains two feature commentaries the first ported over from the DVD featuring Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner and the other, which is a ** NEW FEATURE ** with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, writers of Transformers and the new Star Trek film. Both tracks are actually good in different ways. The Nimoy/Shatner track is part technical/part analytical about the characters while the second is from a fan perspective as well as the perspective as writers. However, there was too much dead air time with them so that was annoying.
“PRODUCTION” (5 Featurettes):
Future’s Past: A Look Back (27:32) – This is a retrospective ‘making-of’ featurette about how the project came to be with comments by Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and Harve Bennett amongst others.
On-Location (7:26) goes over filming during the current time period in San Francisco. The featurette includes some fun behind-the-scenes footage of them filming at the four corners in San Fran.
Dailies Deconstruction (4:13) – Here we just check out alternate angles for various scenes.
Below-the-Line: Sound Design (11:45) – A much more extensive featurette than I expected, we get to hear from the sound effects editor on how some of the sounds were created such as the alien vessel making whale calls.
Pavel Chekov’s Screen Moments (6:09; HD) features Walter Koenig talking about his character in Star Trek IV and how he had a more substantial role. ** NEW FEATURE **
“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE”
Time Travel: The Art of the Possible (11:15) - In August of 2002, three prominent Quantum Physicists were asked, “Is time travel possible?” Actually time travel has always been fascinating to me so this was interesting to watch.
The Language of Whales (5:46) – This is a simple featurette explaining whale noises/language and the different types of whales filmed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
A Vulcan Primer (7:50) – An author analyses Spock and other Vulcans who have appeared on the series and movies.
Kirk’s Women (8:19) chronicles some of Captain Kirk’s lady friends in the eyes of the women who played the roles and why Kirk was so charming.
Star Trek: Three Picture Saga (10:12; HD) – This explains how Star Trek II morphed into a trilogy, though it wasn’t planned. As a couple writers out it, it was an “accidental trilogy”. There are a lot of interviews with the crew involved with all three movies. ** NEW FEATURE **
Star Trek for a Cause (5:40; HD) covers the humanity touched upon in Star Trek IV with a pitch by Greenpeace. ** NEW FEATURE **
Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 004: The Whale Probe (3:42) – You know the drill: green screen, semi-cute chick, wash, rinse and repeat. ** NEW FEATURE **
Under the category of “VISUAL EFFECTS” we get 2 more featurettes: From Outer Space to the Ocean (14:43) and The Bird of Prey (2:48). The first one shows us the process of the effects with photos and interviews, some filmed on the set in the mid 1980s. The second featurette is shorter and just gives a glimpse how The Bird of Prey was visualized.
Next up, there are original interviews (43:15) with William Shatner (14:33), Leonard Nimoy (15:40) and DeForest Kelley (13:02). Only plus to watching this is seeing how young each of them looked.
Last up we get a hodgepodge of features which I’ll touch on quickly: There are two “TRIBUTES”: Roddenberry Scrapbook (8:17) with comments by his son, and Featured Artist: Mark Lenard (12:44) about the man who played Spock’s father, Sarek from the perspective of his family.
And finally there is a production gallery (3:55) where we get to see a nice cast/crew picture with some random pictures on the set; 8 storyboards and the theatrical trailer.
|| STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989) || ***½ / *****
We get two feature commentaries, the first with star/director William Shatner and his daughter Liz Shatner that was ported over and the second is the return of Michael & Denis Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman ** NEW FEATURE **.
“PRODUCTION” (6 Featurettes):
I’ll start off with the lighter (skip able) featurettes: Harve Bennett’s Pitch to Sales Team (1:42) is a very short featurette filmed on the set where Bennett salutes (Vulcan salute) the sales team or something. Next are some makeup tests (9:50), pre-visualization models (1:41), Rockman in the Raw (5:37) which is a cool look at how this was originally going to be used during the climactic scene and the Star Trek V Press Conference (13:42).
The Journey: A Behind-the-Scenes Documentary (25:55) is an ‘older’ looking making-of featurette that is presented in full frame whereas the others of the same subject were in widescreen.
“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” (8 Featurettes):
Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute (19:09) – No, he didn’t die, just a featurette with various members of the cast and crew talking about his work on the Star Trek movies and TV series (including “The Next Generation” and “Enterprise”). Again, this is presented in full frame even though it was probably recently shot (given the reference to “Enterprise”).
Original Interview: William Shatner (14:37) is on the set of Star Trek V at Yosemite Park. Good for archive purposes but little else of this is that interesting.
Other featurettes include: Cosmic Thoughts (13:05) is a technical featurette with interviews with scientists and the like talking about the vastness of the universe; That Klingon Couple (13:05) is about the couple that appeared in Star Trek V and has interviews with the pair; and A Green Future? (9:24) covering filming at Yosemite.
These next three are ** NEW FEATURES **: Star Trek Honors NASA (9:57; HD), Hollywood Walk of Fame: James Doohan (3:10) and yes, our good friend the kind-of cute chick in Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 005: Nimbus III (3:02). Other than the Walk of Fame one, they are all presented in widescreen.
Last on this disc are 4 deleted scenes (4:17), a production gallery (4:05) with posters and production stills, 2 storyboards, 2 theatrical trailers and TV Spots.
|| STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1991) || **** / *****
And the journey is coming to a close with the final two commentaries: 1. Co-writer/Director Nicholas Meyer and Co-writer Denny Martin Flinn and 2. Star Trek novels author Larry Nemecek and “Star Trek: Voyager” writer/producer Ira Steven Behr (** NEW FEATURE **). The first track is the behind-the-scenes aspects and how plot elements were changes due to budgetary constraints and whatnot. The second is a more fanboy-driven track with their recollection of seeing Star Trek VI in theaters.
The Perils of Peacemaking (26:33) – Obviously the central theme of the movie is about peace between the Federation and Klingons, so they cover how contemporary issues of the peacemaking process was transplanted to outer space. Presented in letterboxed widescreen.
Stories from Star Trek VI (57:09) – This six-part ‘making-of’ featurette was probably originally released with the 1999 DVD. It starts out how the story was constructed out of the failure of Star Trek V and the return of Nicholas Meyer as co-writer and director. They also go through previous story ideas including a prequel, which they would eventually do anyway. Feature interviews with members of the cast (Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Plummer, William Shatner and others) and crew (director, editor, etc). It concludes with a “Farewell & Goodbye” which even as a non-Trekkie was bittersweet.
“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” (8 Featurettes):
Klingons: Conjuring the Legend (20:46) is an extensive look at how the Klingon race was developed from the original series and how important it was that carried on throughout the various series.
Together Again (4:56) is a short featurette with dueling interviews between William Shatner and Christopher Plummer who had worked together in the past.
Some of the ho-hum featurettes include: Conversations with Nicholas Meyers (9:33) who talks about various topics about filmmaking and his involvement with the Star Trek franchise; Federation Operatives (4:53), though interesting, is just a “report” on actors from Star Trek VI who have appeared in other incarnations of the franchise and Penny’s Toy Box (6:06) has the Star Trek archivist giving us a tour at Paramount.
Tom Morga: Alien Stuntman (4:57; HD) is a profile on Morgan who had worked in various stunt roles throughout the franchise. It gives some behind-the-scenes footage of Morga in the make-up chair and his thoughts on doing the stunt work in heavy makeup. ** NEW FEATURE **
To be or Not to Be: Klingons and Shakespeare (23:04; HD) goes over the abundant use of Shakespeare in Star Trek VI and goes to St. Paul, Minnesota where there is a stage play of “Hamlet” done in Klingon. ** NEW FEATURE **
And one last hoorah for the Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 006: Praxis (2:37; HD) where we get a rundown on Klingon moon that blows up at the opening of the film. ** NEW FEATURE **
DeForest Kelley: A Tribute (13:19) is a sentimental look at DeForest Kelley from the perspective of those who worked with him (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Plummer, Nicholas Meyer and others) and his contribution to the “Star Trek” franchise and his early career in Westerns.
Original Interviews with: William Shatner (5:05), Leonard Nimoy (6:26), DeForest Kelley (5:03), James Doohan (5:33), Nichelle Nichols (5:39), George Takei (5:28), Walter Koenig (5:31) and Iman (5:07). Each one answers various questions as promotion for Star Trek VI.
And lastly there’s a production gallery, 4 storyboards and some promotional material including the teaser and theatrical trailers and the 1991 Convention Presentation by Nicholas Meyer.
|| THE STAR TREK SUMMIT (2009) ||
The cru decal of this 7-disc “Motion Picture Collection” is The Star Trek Summit (1:11:12; HD) that features William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes and is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.
This is an excellent roundtable discussion that sits these class “Star Trek” actors around a coffee table rehashing stories about how the shows/movies changed their lives and life on the sets. Even as a non-Trekkie, I absolutely loved watching every minute of this and for all the issues this set may have with the use of DNR, this disc is well worth the price..., though even at 70-minutes, it goes by really fast.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
|| STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) || ****¼ / *****
Star Trek is presented in 1080p high-definition “digitally remastered”. Although I know the controversy about whether these new Star Trek Blu-rays received DNR (digital noise reduction) or not (it does), it doesn’t look too bad as sometimes movies with DNR can give skin tones an almost plastic look to them. Fact is I didn’t have a problem with it, as far as this movie is concerned. Is it the most ideal situation? Probably not and I understand the frustrations. Overall, it’s not a bad looking transfer given its age as the images are sharp with a certain amount of detail. -- ****¼ / *****
On the audio side of things, Paramount continues their support of Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (after offering it on the recent “CSI: The First Season” Blu-ray release). The TrueHD track on this 30-year-old movie sounds excellent. Dialogue is crisp and clear and Jerry Goldsmith’s resounding score sounds awesome. Gladly it is not an overpowering track; instead it has that perfect mix to spread across all channels giving that theater experience. French Dolby Surround 2.0 and Spanish Mono tracks are also available. -- ****¾ / *****
|| STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982) ||
The Blu-ray release of Star Trek II has been given a 1080p high-def transfer (with its original 2.35 aspect ratio) and has been restored (versus remastered like the rest). Comparatively, while the DVD release was not at all bad, if not a tad too saturated, this one has better color distribution and skin tones look just right. It’s not a visual blast but there is definitely nice depth in every scene with only momentary bits of dust or scratches (and it’s minimal). Note: There’s not a hint of DNR work on this release. -- ****¼ / *****
I was less impressed with the audio, compared to The Motion Picture, but the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 is still good, just not fantastic. I found some dialogue to be a little muffled and even James Horner’s score didn’t have that “boom” in comparison with Goldsmith’s work on the original. Sound effects are solid but like the dialogue it didn’t have the big impact I came to expect, but again, it isn’t too bad for a 27 year old movie. -- **** / *****
|| STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1984) ||
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock actually looks good in 1080p high-def but like the first movie, it did receive the DNR treatment to the chagrin of many fans. However, while it is concerning that we couldn’t be given a restoration like Star Trek II or The Godfather movies (well, the first two), I will say it’s not a bad looking film. Skin tones looked just right while colors on various objects like the uniforms or on the Enterprise looked excellent, especially since this is now 25 years old. This may not be reference material, but I was fairly impressed, though as I said, I wish Paramount avoided using DNR. -- ****½ / *****
The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track sounded pretty good with an immersive experience between James Horner’s wonderful – if not slightly forgettable – score, and the sound effects as the Enterprise takes on some Klingon blasts. For some reason, I actually found this audio track to be slightly better than the one for Star Trek II, which is surprising since it didn’t receive the same treatment. -- ****½ / *****
|| STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986) ||
This is by far the worst of the video transfers, more on that later, but on to the technical aspects: The movie is presented in 1080 high-definition with its original 2.35 aspect ratio. I did notice the use of DNR as the noise level is minimal, though I noticed some major amount of pixilation during some scenes. The colors look pretty good without exactly popping off the screen and details were half-decent, but it doesn’t look as sharp by comparison with its predecessors.
I luckily haven’t had the displeasure to experience drastic amounts of edge-enhancements on previous Blu-rays... until now. Although this only occurs a couple of times, it’s actually quite ridiculous how much was used especially during this one scene. The scene in question is when a whale hunting boat is going after a couple humpback whales you can see almost a yellowish glow around a couple of the actors. It is absolutely inexcusable. -- ***¼ / *****
The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track fares much better, though. It’s not a ‘blow-your-mind’ kind of audio experience but the score, by Leonard Roseman (replacing James Horner who replaced Jerry Goldsmith), sounds fantastic from the opening credits while sound effects are good and dialogue is clean. -- ****¼ / *****
|| STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989) ||
This Blu-ray transfer is OK, but it’s not exactly a visually arresting movie... The 1080p high-def transfer doesn’t pop with any colors and in fact the palettes looked a tad soft in places. I also noticed some edge enhancement, but not nearly as much as seen in Star Trek IV. As with the others, save Star Trek II, this has been remastered (aka applied with DNR) so the picture does look clean but somewhat flat as well, unfortunately. Details aren’t as good by comparison (lower budget?) to the others either. -- ***½ / *****
Once again, the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio is very strong, blasting the welcome return of Jerry Goldsmith’s wonderful score. All channels get used and in a pleasant manner rather than blaring just to be loud, instead it’s an all encompassing audio track. Dialogue sounds clear and the sound design was also tight. Sure, the picture may not be the best, but again, the audio steps up to the plate and hits a home run. -- ****½ / *****
|| STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1991) ||
The final movie of the original series’ feature film franchise still utilized the loathsome DNR but overall it’s not a bad looking high-definition transfer. The colors on the Federation uniforms look just right meaning not too bright but not too dull either which was the case in Star Trek V. Thankfully I didn’t notice much in the way of edge-enhancement and of course the level of noise was limited except for a couple scene with blue in it. Now, detail wasn’t exactly the most clear as it was a tad fuzzy in spots which were a little surprising since this was the “newest” Trek movie, though probably because of a smaller budget. -- ***¾ / *****
The TrueHD 7.1 track is, like Star Trek I, III and V, sounds absolutely fantastic beginning with the score by yet another composer, this time Cliff Eidelman after Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner turned down the job. It all starts with the booming Star Trek theme over the opening credits. The dialogue levels aren’t exactly the best but it was clear enough to understand while the sound effects (explosions, laser fire, ambient ship noises) all sounded quite good. -- ****½ / *****
Although it is disappointing that Paramount didn’t give this “Motion Picture Collection” the same kind of treatment of The Godfather when it debuted on Blu-ray. Plus, one cannot ignore the fact we only get the theatrical versions rather than director cuts which I’m 99% sure will see the light of day in high-definition.
With that said, this set does contain some great – and substantial – new features including new commentaries on each one as well as porting over everything from the previous sets. I think this would’ve easily been a must-buy if the studio had gone all out. As it stands, if you can find it at a good price (something in the $10 range per movie), then it is worth picking up, just remember the other versions probably will be released at some point.