Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection (US - BD)
Gabe revisits one great movie, two average movies, and one really bad one
Just like the original cast movie collection, the Star Trek: The Next Generation movie collection has arrived late, so I’m not bothering with synopses. I’m also keeping the film reviews to a single paragraph, and trying not to get too wordy with the other parts of the review. Readers curious about the quality of the discs over the movies should probably skip to the video section, and then the extras section. Most of the audio is pretty comparably solid over all the discs.
Star Trek: Generations starts strong with an intense action scene that leads into the mysterious disappearance of the series’ original hero, Captain Kirk. Then we meet up with the Next Gen cast aboard the Holodeck, things go all whimsical, and the scope is deadened strangely despite some reasonably large special effects sequences. The post-opening sequence plot is as introverted as most of the budgetary constrained series episodes, which is not, in my opinion, the best way to go about bringing a television series to the big screen. Even the most boring and lifeless of all the Star Trek films, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, at the very least took chances to differentiate itself from the original series. And Generations doesn’t just fail to deliver a scaled-up Next Gen movie, it doesn’t deliver on the promise of Captains Kirk and Picard overlapping (this may be the fault of the advertisers over the screenwriters, but a promise is a promise). Shatner’s valuable scenes only act as a promising, but undeliverable bridge between the two series. To this passing fan Generations succeeds only on the level of character. It doesn’t develop the main cast too much, but it manages to humanize them just a little bit more, and leads them into a better follow-up film. Side Note: My Trekkie buddy wants me to remark on the fact that no one has bothered to digitally add Vulcan ears to Tuvok (Tim Russ), who has them in Enterprise. She likes the film more than me too.
Star Trek: First Contact keeps the even number power hour marching, and is quite clearly the top choice among the Next Gen movies. It is the prime example of what should’ve been done with the film series, even if it starts with yet another trip back in time. First Contact doesn’t dumb down the super-series’ mythology, but also takes effort to make itself accessible to non-fans (as I was the first time I saw it) through an increase in action, a more tangible plot, and palpable suspense. Not counting the obvious exception of The Voyage Home, this likely marks the most perfect balance of hard Trek and accessibility. The film dives head first into the pulpier elements of the original series, and stirs elements of bygone B-horror into the broth. First time film director Jonathan Frakes pulls out some less than reputable scare tactics, and utilizes some old-school smoke and lights that make all the difference in dealing with a less than blockbuster budget. At it’s best the Borg attacks resemble a modern take on Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires, if I am permitted to place things into my own horror geek vernacular. Strictly speaking the Borg are basically zombies, after all (mixed with scientific aspects of bees, and bits of Superman’s bionic foe, Brainiac). The horror show aspects work with the down to Earth (if you’ll excuse the pun) aspects because humour is not lost among the drama. It’s not a perfect film, and not as good as the best three original cast films, but the acting is supreme (Patrick Stewart blows the roof off), and the script is one of the two or three strongest and tightest in the history of Star Trek motion pictures.
Star Trek: Insurrection would’ve likely been a very good two part Next Generation episode, but as a feature film it falls short in scope, and more dishearteningly, novelty. The film comes off like a random slice of the series (any of the Trek series, frankly), despite the efforts of some exploding sets, and (then) state-of-the art digital effects. The screenplay is not as non-fan friendly as First Contact’s (or even Generations’), at some points requiring that the audience had been watching Deep Space Nine with relative regularity. Without my Trekkie buddy on staff I’d have missed a lot of the character subtext, though thankfully the overall story doesn’t require such intricate knowledge. Still, the greater tragedy is even without the knowledge of a single Next Gen or Deep Space Nine episode the basic story is a dusty case of old hat. Mysterious planets hiding corruption beneath their Eden-like surfaces are a dime a dozen throughout even the original series. At its best Insurrection is a non-offensive throw-away story. Frakes’ direction is a little more grand this time, but he focuses so much on looking classy we miss out on some of the pulp that made First Contact such a breathless lark. The film does most fortunately feature fun and affecting cast interactions, including the more blatant romantic relationship between Troi and Riker. It’s not without a healthy dose of fan placating, but it’s very sweet, and at least someone walks away happy, which is more than I can say for the final Next Gen feature. Unrelated to the actual value of the film, I find myself surprised that this film only got a PG rating considering the grotesque nature of the chief villains. They’re like the space set, plastic surgery-obsessed cousins of Clive Barker’s Cenobites.
Star Trek: Nemesis is a sad case of the keepers of the franchise attempting to rescue their sinking ship by placating as many different audiences as possible. It was the first Star Trek film to see release after 1999, when The Phantom Menace and The Matrix managed to make science fiction cool again. Sadly for the franchise all but the hardest core audiences had given up on the on-going Star Trek TV shows. In an effort to draw prospective, non-fan audiences the screenwriters plopped awkward action scenes between slices of repetitious political intrigue, and tried to darken the tone in a painfully self-aware fashion. First Contact was more action-packed and ‘violent’, but the filmmakers found a way to keep it with-in the realms of the series’ norm, and never lost their lighter, less ironic sense of humour. In opposition to these desperate efforts to coax newcomers to the series, Nemesis also takes effort to placate fans with forward pressing continuity, and superficial character development. The two practices never mesh, leading to a film that is equal parts circumstantially boring and visually silly. At the very least the film feels more theatrical than Generations[i] or [i]Insurrection, but it unfortunately appears as the cheapest of all the Next Gen films. It’s sad that the series went out on such a down stroke, especially since Nemesis was number ten, and should’ve continued the good even number trend.
Unlike the films of the original series collection all the films in this collection were made in the digital era, so even Generations looks mostly perfect in 1080p (or at the very least very damn good). Speaking of Generations, we’ll start there. I’m immediately surprised at how well the Nexus effects hold up, as I expected hi-def would make those cloud effects look a bit smooth. Instead, like most of the space related special effects, there’s actual texture to the clouds, and the hi-def increase ensures those pink laser beams are super bright (the Earthly model work doesn’t hold up as well, unfortunately). Bright colours are a definite advantage throughout the transfer, which is nice because the use of specific colour is a definite plus that separates the film from the series (the colours were intense enough that my Trekkie buddy was consistently shocked by the extremely lilac hue of Geordi’s undershirt). The detail levels are also quite vibrant, especially in close-up. Witness the glory of a not-so-young Captain Kirk’s facial crags, and Data’s oddly textured, jaundiced skin, and disappoint at the make-up quality of the B-Klingons. The wide-angle details are pretty solid too (not so good when you can see very clearly that the actors are using fist-fight stunt doubles), especially anything taken on a set (the Klingon ship is teeming with fine details). The scenes shot on location are a little smoothed over, and there is some definite edge-enhancement (the most in the collection), but the black levels remain strong.
First Contact continues the trend. Details are quite sharp without an excess of edge-enhancement, and consistently impress throughout, with only a few exceptions during some of the special effects shots. These new details allow fans to really obsess over the differences between the costume and make-up between films, especially Data’s make-up design, which is an entirely different colour this time around, and much less ‘cakey’. Colours are again a big deal, and First Contact is the first film in the set with a definite theme colour: green. Among all the greens are deep blacks, crushed, dark blues, and hits of bright crimson. The earthbound scenes are largely lit using slightly diffused natural lighting, but for the most part the colour scheme sticks. Instead of sickly Borg greens these scenes glow with leafy forest greens, and the spaceship’s blues and blacks are replaced by the day and night sky. Overall First Contact is probably the grainiest of all four films, but this is likely partially intended, and understandable due to the moody darkness of a lot of the photography. There are a few small samples of artefacting and print damage, but it’s pretty minor stuff considering all things.
Insurrectionis a step up on the first two discs, likely due to its more recent vintage. There are still some minor issues with the degree of detail in the furthest backgrounds, and there are signs of DNR along with minor edge enhancement thanks to the overall sharpness, but there are few complaints outside of some bad focus pulling. Insurrection was the first film in the series to use digital effects exclusively for the space scenes. The effects don’t hold up too well as realistic (better than the non-space stuff), but they’re definitely crisp and colourful in hi-def, and perhaps the best place to enjoy the 1080p upgrade. The contrast is really deep, creating really rich black levels (perhaps too deep at some points), and ensuring that the hits of bright colours pop (the clarity keeps them from blooming as well). Check out Worf’s Klingon zit for verification of poppiness. The natural wonders of the location shots are impressive enough to be counted among some of the more impressive nature documentaries on Blu-ray. On Data watch, the android looks quite silver this time around, and a bit smoother than he was in film two.
Nemesis is, practically speaking, a new movie, and thusly the most digitally altered in post-production, and the least molested new transfer in the collection. The fact that it looks good (technically speaking) is no surprise at all. The print is consistent throughout considering detail, cleanliness, colour, and contrast, all depending on the desired effect of a given area. The details aren’t as mega-sharp in close-up as Insurrection, but there’s nothing to point towards this being anything other than intension. There is some grain, but it’s all pretty fine in quality, and consistent in quantity. Nemesis places clear theme colours on different sets and locations, such as yellows, greens, purples, and reds. These hues are cleanly represented, but the practice robs the print of the opposing pops found on the other films. The contrast is a little too even for my personal tastes, but not at the peril of effective black and white levels. This is all clearly not true during the planet side dune buggy action scene, which is sun-baked and blown-out. This change in visual tone is very reminiscent of Pitch Black, which had been released a few years previous to Nemesis. The digital effects often hold up well, but the practical effects, sets, and make-up all appear a bit cheap in hi-def. Data’s look is closer to that of the second film, a little more yellow than film three.
And unlike the first collection all the films in this set were originally mixed with 5.1 in mind, so no major remixing was required. Every film is presented in lossless Dolby TrueHD, so they are all technical upgrades from the previous DVD collections. Generations feels the smallest in overall scope, but is no small potatoes mix. Composer Dennis McCarthy (who I just discovered scored the best penis tearing Bigfoot movie ever made, Night of the Demon) is given a chance to play in a bigger sandbox, and his score gives the film (and in turn the mix) a bit of major motion picture oomph during some of the less aurally intense scenes. Mostly the surround channels teem with the hum of the ship, but occasional feature some aggressive directional noise. The ship crashing scene is the loudest moment for the mix, but scenes of the Nexus engulfing the characters are more audibly interesting overall.
First Contact is more of the same quality wise, but features the strongest and most diverse audio mix in the collection thanks to the film’s mix of futuristic and contemporary elements. The disc scores early points for the abstract sounds of Picard’s nightmare (which continues throughout via his ability to hear the Borg ‘speak’), the Borg’s warnings via the communications channel, and the follow-up fire-fight with the Borg cube. At its base the film is the most action oriented of all the Star Trek films (excepting the latest reboot), so the track is plenty aggressive the whole way through, brimming with big booms, and multi-channel fire fights. The Borg themselves also lend plenty of robotic whirring gears and beeping to the mix’s more subtle elements. No offence to McCarthy, who does impressive things with Generations, but First Contact has the huge advantage of Jerry Goldsmith as musical composer. The score is giant and warm on the track, booming with such clarity one can practically see the orchestra in their living room.
Insurrection is a slight step back in dynamics and intricacies, but there’s a really loud space fight around the centre section of the film that gives the surround and LFE channels a nice workout. The dynamics are all over the place as well. Planet side the action scenes aren’t as directionally impressive, rather mostly centred, though the LFE effects are still pretty heavy. There isn’t a lot to say concerning the track overall, as outside the action scenes there isn’t a whole lot of audio to talk about, except maybe basic ship hum, a few chirping birds, and another solid Goldsmith score. This particular score is more romantic and whimsical, as defined by the style of the overall film. The action bits are plenty rousing, but the music works best when Goldsmith is pushing the pretty bits, which sound plenty warm and clean on the track, of course.
Sound was an important element in the process of making Nemesis more ‘modern’. The film was given a proper blockbuster soundtrack, including rough and tumble action effects, and a more techno-infused score. Things are plenty loud, the surround channels kick out the explosive jams, and directional effects are effectively achieved. The dialogue track of this particular disc is a little too soft, except Ron Perlman, who’s given a very impressive LFE boost. Jerry Goldsmith’s Nemesis is unlike his other Star Trek scores, and like I said, a little electronically infused. The music is likely the only part of the film’s attempt at modernization that works. The scenes that put emphasis on the score over the sound effects are the most exciting bits of aural retreat, with the exception of the ship-on-ship action, which is quite crunchy without losing the clarity of specific design elements.
In the interest of time I’m going to try to keep my thoughts on these extra features pretty brief. The extras are similar to those that accompanied the original cast movie collection, and are apparently still missing some small bits from the super-duper DVD editions fans shelled out for, so far as I understand. Every disc features a ‘Library Computer’ pop-up option similar to that of the other collection, which is teeming with all sorts of in-universe factoids concerning culture, science and medicine, Starfleet ops, life forms, planets and locations, people, technology, ships, and ‘miscellaneous’.
Generations starts with two audio commentaries. The first commentary features director David Carson and Manny Coto, a regular series writer for Star Trek Enterprise, and the second track features Generations writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga, who also wrote for the Next Generation television series. Carson is a bit boring, but he’s technically quite informative, and Coto plays the role of fan interviewer pretty well. The Moore and Braga track is more fun, more personable, and a little more apologetic.
Under ‘Production’ are four featurettes. ‘Uniting Two Legends’ (26:00, SD) is a fluff piece that opens with footage from the original movie premiere, and features interviews with Shatner, Picard, and other cast members, who discuss the differences between the series and the film. ‘Stellar Cartography: Creating the Illusion’ (09:00, SD) is a brief look at the process behind of the scene where Picard and Data chart the path of the Nexus. ‘Strange New Worlds: The Valley of Fire’ (22:30, SD) is a behind the scenes look at the location shooting in Nevada, including a lot of the stunt fighting. This section also features an explanation of the differences between the two endings. ‘Scoring Trek’ (09:00, HD) quite obviously explores composer Dennis McCarthy’s involvement with the film.
The ‘Star Trek Universe’ tab features the lion’s share of featurettes. ‘A Tribute to Matt Jefferies’ (19:00, SD) is a look at the original series art designer, and likely my personal favourite of the disc’s special features. ‘The Enterprise Lineage’ (12:00, SD) takes a look at the real life lineage of the series’ space ships, which were based on real, Earth bound ships. ‘Captain Picard’s Family Album’ (07:00, SD) is a glance at the production design behind the album prop. ‘Creating 24th Century Weapons’ (13:30, SD) rather self explanatorily looks at the literal construction of some of the series’ bladed weapons. ‘Next Generation Designer Flashback Andrew Probert’ (05:00, HD) looks at Probert’s major art design contributions to the motion pictures and Next Generation series. ‘Stellar Cartography on Earth’ (07:30, HD) looks at the reality of the science fictional practice. ‘Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond Part 1’ (10:00, HD) starts a series of interviews with the actor, who here covers his early career, and the first film. ‘Trek Roundtable: Generations’ (12:00, HD) also starts a series of extras that appear over the other disc’s in the set. Here three Trekkies and a moderator are given the shot to geek-out over the film. The section is completed with a Starfleet Academy Brief bit (03:00, HD), which is a continued series of extras from the previous Blu-ray movie collection.
Under ‘Visual Effects’ are two featurettes, ‘Inside ILM: Models and Miniature’ (09:00, SD), and ‘Crashing the Enterprise’ (10:00, SD), both of which kind of speak for themselves. The disc also features three scene deconstructions, three deleted scenes, an alternate ending, storyboards, a production gallery, and two trailers.
First Contact comes fitted with three audio commentaries. The first track features Jonathan Frakes solo. Frakes’ track is actually the weakest of the three, as the writer/director takes too many pauses, giggles at too many of the on-screen gags, and loses his train of thought. There’s some information to be culled, but not a lot that can’t be culled from the other two tracks, which are just generally more entertaining and full figured. The second track features screenwriters Braga and Moore again. The writers discuss their process in detail again, and put emphasis on ‘saving the series’ with this film. The last track features Damon Lindelof, the founder and editor of Trekmovie.com, and new film producer Anthony Pascale. This one is a fan track, but Pascale knows movie stuff, and Lindelof appears to have made a living out of knowing a lot about these films, so as fan tracks go it’s pretty informative.
Under the ‘Production’ tag are more making-of featurettes. ‘Making First Contact’ (20:30, SD) puts major weight on Jonathan Frakes as director, but covers cast relationships as well. ‘The Art of First Contact’ (16:00, SD) delves pretty deeply into the production design of the film, which was the last film to use models for ships. ‘The Story’ (15:30, SD) explores the arduous process of developing one of the series’ better film scripts. ‘The Missile Silo’ (13:30, SD) is a quick look at the location shooting that took place at a real Arizona missile silo (Tucson shout out! Wooo!). ‘The Deflector Dish’ (10:30, SD) explores the many aspects of the space-walk scene from storyboards to filming. ‘From A to E’ (06:30, SD) features a quick look at the film’s spaceship sets.
Again, the ‘Star Trek Universe’ tab features the more fun bits. These featurettes begin with a warm tribute to Jerry Goldsmith (20:00, SD), who had scored several of the films (his Star Trek: The Motion Picture score is the only reason I ever watch the film), and who died just after finishing his work on Nemesis. ‘The Legacy of Zefram Cochrane’ (12:20, SD) explores the character’s evolution from the original series to First Contact, along with actor James Cromwell, who appeared on a few Next Gen episode. ‘First Contact: The Possibilities’ (19:30, SD) looks at the real life science behind the people actually looking for alien intelligence. ‘Industrial Light and Magic: The Next Generation’ (12:20, HD) explores ILM and the series’ movement into purely digital effects in Generations[i] and [i]First Contact. ‘Greetings From the International Space Station’ (08:30, HD) is literally a statement from the station concerning Trek and real astronauting. It’s followed by ‘SpaceShipOne’s Historic Flight’ (04:40, HD), a glance at a fascinating plane that can fly into low orbit. The section is brought to an end with second entries in the ‘Data and Beyond’ (07:30, HD) and ‘Trek Round Table’ (13:00, HD) featurettes, along with another Starfleet Academy Brief (02:30).
The ‘Borg Collective’ tab features three additional and informative featurettes. ‘Unimatrix One’ (14:00, SD) explores the Borg’s origins, and their early appearances on the various Star Trek series. ‘The Queen’ (08:30, SD) looks closer at the concept of the Borg Queen, which was developed for First Contact and later used for the Star Trek: Voyager series. ‘Design Matrix’ (18:10, SD) finishes the selection off with a look at the Borg production, costume and make-up design (the unused stuff is gorgeous). This overstuffed disc also features three scene deconstructions, more storyboards, more photo galleries, and two more trailers.
Insurrection starts with a single commentary track featuring Frakes and actress Marina Sirtis. It’s another weak track for the director, but Sirtis keeps things a little more ‘fun’. If you’re looking for real information on the behind the scenes process move right on to the ‘Production’ tab, which starts with ‘It Takes a Village’ (16:40, SD), a general look at the overall production of the film, with an eye towards production design. ‘Location, Location, Location’ (20:00, SD) quite clearly explores the extensive location shooting required for Insurrection. ‘The Art of Insurrection’ (15:00, SD) quite clearly explores the artistic design of various props and sets (the similarities between the film and Phantom Menace were apparently not accidental). ‘The Story’ (17:20, SD) gives screenwriter Michael Piller a chance to talk about his inspirations and the process of writing the script. ‘Making Star Trek: Insurrection’ (25:00, SD) is a fluffy and oozie bit of salesmanship. ‘Director’s Notebook’ (19:00, SD) gives Frakes a forum to gather his thoughts, better than he does on his commentary, I might add. ‘Anatomy of a Stunt’ (06:30, SD) speaks for it self.
The good stuff under the ‘Star Trek Universe’ tab this time starts with ‘Westmore’s Aliens’ (17:40, SD), a enjoyable look at make-up artist and designer Michael Westmore’s creations through the Star Trek series and movie history (emphasis on Insurrection), followed by ‘Westmore’s Legacy’ (13:00, SD), a chat about the Westmore make-up artist history, that went back to the turn of the century. ‘Star Trek’s Beautiful Alien Women’ (12:40, SD) kind of speaks for itself, and is a fun time, especially where Robert Picardo is concerned. ‘Marina Sirtis: The Counselor Is In’ (08:30, HD) gives the Diana Troi actress a chance to chat about the experience of Star Trek. Things are completed with another ‘Data and Beyond’ (18:20, HD) segment, another roundtable (11:00, AD), and another Academy Brief (3:00).
The disc also features three special effects deconstructions under ‘Creating the Illusion’, seven deleted/extended scenes (12:00, SD), not including the apparent alternate ending featuring Quark from Deep Space Nine, storyboards, trailers and a photo gallery.
Nemesis features three commentaries to go along with the ‘Library Computer’. The first track features director Stuart Baird, who speaks with relative irregularity, and who doesn’t maintain much tonal interest. He also spends a little too much time talking down to the series and fans in a roundabout manner (he’s kind of a prig, frankly). The second track features long time Trek producer Rick Berman, who sounds exhausted, and who speaks with even less regularity than Baird. The final track features the Star Trek: Enterprise writer/producer team Michael and Denise Okuda. The Okuda’s are fans, and their track is the most informative from the standpoint of cannon and small details (though their track is the only one that doesn’t make notice of Bryan Singer’s cameo). Overall I recommend skipping the first two tracks in favour of the third.
This time the ‘Production’ tab holds seven featurettes, starting with ‘Nemesis Revisited’ (25:40, SD), a look at the film as a last reunion for the cast, who was on contracted for three films (really though, what was anyone other than Stewart doing?). ‘New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on Directing Nemesis’ (08:40, SD) give a little back story to director Baird, who is better known as an action editor (recently he edited Casino Royale), and came to the film as an outsider. ‘Storyboarding the Action’ (03:40, SD) speaks for itself, as does ‘Red Alert! Shooting the Action of Nemesis’ (10:00, SD). ‘Build and Rebuild’ (07:40, SD) looks at the set and production design, ‘Four Wheeling: The Final Frontier’ (10:00, SD) explores the dune buggy action scenes, and the section is wrapped up with Tom Hardy’s screen test (06:30, SD).
The ‘Star Trek Universe’ tab starts as a disappointment time around, starting with ‘A Star Trek Family’s Final Journey’ (16:20, SD), which repeats a whole lot of the basic making-of information found under the ‘Production’ tab. Then ‘A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier’ (10:17, SD) revisits more of the ‘Production’ design and direction features. ‘The Enterprise E’ (11:30, SD) continues the trend by exploring the set design even more. ‘Reunion with the Rikers’ (10:50, HD) finally bucks the trend, and features Frakes and Sirtis joking about the future of the Riker family. ‘Today’s Tech, Tomorrow’s Data’ (04:30, HD) glances at the reality of modern artificial intelligence and robotics. ‘Robot Hall of Fame’ (04:30, HD) looks at a real award awarded to real and fictional robots (specifically Data). The tab ends with the final ‘Data and Beyond’ (09:20, HD), ‘ Trek Roundtable’ (10:30, HD), and ‘Starfleet Academy Brief’ (02:30, HD) entries.
‘The Romulan Empire’ tab is similar to the ‘Borg Collective’ tab, covering various aspects of the race throughout the series. ‘Romulan Lore’ (11:50, SD) explores the back story that started with the first season of the original series, but which is still largely mysterious even to fans. ‘Shinzon and the Viceroy’ (10:00, SD) explores the two Nemesis specific characters (including a Ron Perlman interview that really makes me want to like the film). ‘Romulan Design’ (08:00, SD) looks at the efforts made in the case of Nemesis to adapt the design specs set forth by the other Star Trek series. ‘Romulan Senate’ (09:00, SD) checks the design of the senate set (again), ‘The Scimitar’ (13:00, SD) explores the design of the Reman ship (again).
This disc’s deleted and extended scenes are legion, numbering thirteen, and including intros run a total of just over twenty-seven minutes. This is the only time in the collection where the trims would’ve made a definite difference in the final product. The filmmakers cut a lot of fan service in favour of brainless action, and hurt the film in the long run. The disc is wrapped up with more trailers, storyboards, and image galleries.
But we’re not done yet. There’s a whole ‘nuther disc that comes exclusively with the set entitled ‘Star Trek: Evolutions’. Things begin with ‘Evolution of the Enterprise’ (14:30, HD), which explores the various versions of the ship to grace the screen, taken in order of cannon continuity (starting briefly with the unpopular Enterprise TV series version). Think of this extra as spaceship porn, as the informative aspects of the featurette are rather soft. ‘Villains of Star Trek’ (14:00, HD) is cut from a similar cloth, but more satisfying in insight and information, thanks to expert interview subjects. It’s probably important to note that the scope of this featurette pertains to the films, not the whole series. For some reason Insurrection is skipped. ‘I Love the Star Trek Movies’ (04:30, HD) is a geek out for various series cast and crew, who go through their favourite films and moments in an appropriately geek-like fashion. ‘Farewell to Star Trek: The Experience’ (28:00, HD) looks back on the Las Vegas Hilton based Trek museum/show/thing, which closed in September of 2008. Look forward to many adults in alien make-up crying. ‘Klingon Encounter’ (03:30, HD) and ‘Borg Invasion 4D’ (05:00, HD) are companion pieces, allowing the home video viewer to experience two of the ‘rides’ found at the ‘Star Trek: The Experience’. ‘Charting the Final Frontier’ closes things out with an interactive star map feature.
The failure of the final Next Generation film, Nemesis, is perhaps a statement on the series’ place in the post-Clinton, and more importantly, the post-9/11 era. It seems that with a few exceptions (films two and four) Star Trek works best for major audiences during relatively benign and liberal-powered time periods. It could very well be coincidence, but it seems pretty clear that there was no place for Star Trek post 1999. Despite opinions on the films objective and subjective qualities the Star Wars prequels, and the Matrix series, along with Steven Spielberg’s darker sci-fi films ( Minority Report and War of the Worlds) seemed to fill the theatrical science fiction appetites of general audiences, while independent features and Battlestar Galactica seemed to please the harder core audience during the near decade of 1999-2008. I plan on exploring this possible coincidence a bit further in my upcoming review of JJ Abrams new Star Trek film, but wonder here if the latter two Next Gen films would’ve produced more interest even if they had been genuinely good films.
In the end this collection is really not for passing fans. The film’s are bumpy in quality overall, and the best one, First Contact, is available on a solo disc. The audio and video quality varies throughout the films, but none of the four transfers are particularly weak. The extras are many and varied, including the exclusive Star Trek Evolutions disc, which features seventy-seven minutes of all-new extras.
* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13
Release Date: 22nd September 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish
Extras: Commentaries, Featurettes, Documentaries, Deleted Scenes, Library Computer, Starfleet Academy Briefing, Galleries, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: David Carson, Jonathan Frakes, Stuart Baird
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama and Sci-Fi
Length: 522 minutes
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