Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture Collection (US - BD)
Gabe takes a long trek to remind him why he likes the even numbered ones...
Okay gang, I’m gonna have to play this one pretty fast and loose. I didn’t get this seven disc collection until the Wednesday after its official release. Though I am largely unfamiliar with Star Trek in its many television incarnations, I am familiar with the Star Trek film series. It wasn’t the mainstay of my childhood that Star Wars was, but films two through six have phased across my eyeballs more than once. I even saw some of them in theatres during their initial runs. I’ve held fast to the popular opinion that only the even numbered Treks are worth re-visitations, subscribing to hit before I even knew others shared my opinion. I found out I wasn’t alone when Simon Pegg made mention of it in an episode of Spaced (pause for irony). Still, it’s been long enough that I’m looking forward to a little revisit. Even the odd numbered films deserve another chance.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek: TMP isn’t a bad film, but a boring, self-important film, and one that doesn’t survive gracefully outside its time even as well as the original series. I said in my layman’s review of season one of the original series that the length of each episode was usually the roughest aspect of the viewing, as thirty minute concepts were often stretched into sixty minute episodes. TMP is a thirty minute concept stretched into a brutal two plus hours of film time. To call it a slow slog is an understatement. There’s little plot to hang onto, there’s zero sense of pacing, and every character moment (character moments arguably being the one thing that makes Star Trek good) is overburdened with humourless melodrama, and more pseudo-pornographic long shots of the Enterprise models. It’s a fine technical achievement, though one of director Robert Wise’s least successful films, and a testament to how much a pulpy property can be classed up. But in the end the film is too 2001 for Star Trek, and too Star Trek for classic cinema (as an aside, hiring someone of Wise’s caliber to direct Star Trek: TMP is not unlike hiring Robert Altman or Milos Foreman to direct Serenity ten years after Firefly’s cancellation).
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
Wrath of Kahn is often cited as the fan favourite among the Trek films, and I’m not one to argue with fandom. Except that I am. Kahn is the most pulpy, fun, and true to the original show of all the films in the series, but it isn’t the ‘best’, not when The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country are dropped into the equation. Kahn is full of classic series dialogue, but upon this revisit I discover it’s surprisingly thin on actual story. The characters are perfectly, lovingly portrayed, and placed in the perfect episodic situation (which nicely leads into the next two films), but there’s nothing particularly epic about the narrative scope, which I’m finding disappointing. Director Nicholas Meyer is arguably the best thing that happened to the Star Trek films, and even at this relatively inexperienced point in his directing career (and even if Time After Time was an incredibly effective first film) he directs circles around Wise (in the Star Trek universe), Nimoy, and Shatner. The climatic nebula battle is still an indelible and exciting take on films like Run Silent, Run Deep and Das Boot, and Spock’s death still packs an emotional punch.
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
The Search for Spock suffers the odd movie curse, but it’s easily the best of the cursed odd movies. Seen directly between films two and four it’s a perfectly harmless side trek (pun intended, obviously). The problems are still many and varied, starting specifically with the fact that it’s really a ninety minute ret-con, which is generally bad movie series writing. It works for TV, but it’s silly to the nth degree when the releases are separated by years rather than weeks. The plot is very thin, amounting to little more than an elongated coda to Kahn, but the pacing is brisk, and the film is an easy and cholerically anemic viewing. First time director Leonard Nimoy is surprisingly adept, and uses colour to great effect throughout the film, especially the final act. To its greatest credit The Search for Spock re-introduced the modern version of the series’ most memorable villain set—the Klingons—who manage to survive the goofily miscast Christopher Lloyd. I also had to have a friend explain ‘pon farr’, which means I now realize Spock got laid. That’s a plus.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
This is the first time I’ve watched the series in a row, and the first time I was made aware of the trilogy status of films two through four. This new light doesn’t only make The Search for Spock a slightly better film, but several of the more serialized elements of The Voyage Home suddenly make sense, not the least of which is the title. The Voyage Home was the first Star Trek movie I ever saw, and I saw it in theatres (my mom surely came up with the following equation: whale posters on the wall plus a love of Star Wars equals a good night at the movies with the boy). I watched it with almost zero knowledge of the show or film series, I was only six years old, the movie starts with oodles of back story plotting, and frankly the sci-fi elements are pretty abstract, but I got it, and loved it. Yes, there’s a lot of silliness going around in the film, the kind of stuff that probably would’ve bothered me if I was coming to the film as an adult, but there’s also a visceral joy built into the film, and an undeniable originality behind the very Star Trek-ian story. I’m very proud of my ability to revisit my childhood favourites with a critical adult eye, and I’m overjoyed that The Voyage Home fully passed the test.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
The fifth film in the Star Trek series is an inarguable mess. It’s the one truly bad movie in the collection, the worst of all the original cast movies, though strangely enough it’s much easier to watch than the first film. The Final Frontier doesn’t fit between the Nimoy and Meyer films thematically or stylistically, and pathetically apes the Star Wars and Mad Max films at its weakest points. The entire film feels like a displaced episode of the original series minus almost all the joy normally found in the hammy acting, over-simplified ‘big’ ideas, bad special effects, and padded runtimes. I’d complain about the plot, but there isn’t one to complain about, just a series of events that Shatner and company were apparently looking forward to seeing themselves enact on the big screen (the fan dance reeks especially of some kind of post-mortem ego stroke). And speaking of Shatner, the guy is a pretty incapable technical director, though he does show some semblance of skill in the film’s opening scene, which features an excess of dreary atmosphere. The pace is too sluggish for the film to even be considered a guilty pleasure, unfortunately.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
The final film in the original crew collection is, as far as I’m concerned, the best Star Trek feature ever. It’s true to the themes of the original series, and builds upon them without sticking its nose up its rear with pretentious undertones. The subtext is obvious (the end of the Cold War), but not insipidly so, and avoids the heavy-handed braininess of the first film. The actors advancing ages is again part of the theme, but is this time presented in a more serious, almost melancholy manner. The seriousness doesn’t overtake the joy and opera of the series and characters, and can be laughed with when needed, yet up until the final curtain there is a palpable feeling of dread cast across the entire picture. The plot mixes the tropes of several genres not always associated with science fiction, including prison break, political thriller, murder mystery, and courtroom drama, which keeps the story moving and firmly enforces the series roots. Above all, however, is Nicholas Myer’s direction. After the relatively stagnant Nimoy and Shatner productions, Myer’s hand-held look is exhilarating.
Most interested fans will probably be reading this review after purchasing the set, but I suppose a few of you might still be waiting. The early rumours are partially true through my eyes, and according to my 42" set. There is a slight difference between Wrath of Kahn, the one film verified by the box art as ‘digitally restored’ rather than ‘digitally mastered’, and the other five films, but we’re not talking a tragedy on any terms.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is lacking definition in medium and far shots, but relatively sharp in close-ups. Digital noise is minimal depending on the scene, though special effects scenes are a bit overwhelmed by grain and diffusion (much of the diffusion seems unintended to me). The edges of the anamorphic frame are sometimes unfocused and smoothed, but these are likely a symptom of stylized filmmaking, not bad restoration (the use of split diopter is particularly sloopy). The transfer succeeds because of it’s brighter and lusher image, and some fully realized 35mm print colours.
Wrath of Kahn is the set’s best moment, but like I said, I don’t think its improvements are that far beyond the other films. The transfer overtakes the others mostly because of its increased details and harsher contrast. Sometimes the harsher contrast leads to some harsher print damage, and there are some inconsistencies in cleanliness, but it’s hard to find real fault with things outside of the occasionally low-lit sets. There’s very minor noise in some of the warmer colours, but when fully lit everything is sharp and solid, especially all those primary colours Trek fans have come to expect out of uniforms and bridge sets. The blacks on this particular print are also second to nothing in the entire collection. The last act ship fight within a nebula stands up remarkably well even if a couple of the other effects are a little too easily noticed in hi-def (Jupiter looks quite grainy).
Nimoy and cinematographer Charles Correll created possibly the most colourful film in the entire series with The Search for Spock, which despite an overall cheap looking production, makes for a memorable visual experience. Sometimes things go a little too far (the pink apulstory on the USS Grissom comes to mind), but it leads to one of the more exciting Blu-ray upgrades in the set. This particular transfer is one of the more uneven ones, and one of the dirtier ones (the backgrounds are almost never entirely free of dancing grain and noise), but the colours are so rich and so bright that it’s hard to not appreciate the upgrade. Check out the papier-mâché and cardboard Genesis sets, and marvel at the range of hues, and the strictness of the image separation for verification. Detail levels are fully realized in close-up, but the middle and background details are occasionally a bit fuzzy, and the most obvious inconsistency on the transfer. Unlike Kahn, Spock's effects stand up a little better in hi-def, including more evenly blended spaceship and planet shots, along with some more natural make-up effects.
The Voyage Home looks a lot like Search for Spock, and features many of the same problems, including a relative inconsistency which is multiplied by the film’s street shot sequences. The San Francisco circa 1980s scenes are rife with minor noise and more grain than the other films, and the Klingon Bird of Prey sets are far smokier than the Enterprise sets (which is obviously a stylistic choice). Details are sharper than the DVD release, but not as sharp as the Kahn disc, and not without their sharpness related compromises, such as prevalent edge enhancement, specifically in wide shots. This is probably the most disappointing transfer in the whole set, but I’m still relatively satisfied watching it on my 42" set.
The Final Frontier, unfortunately, looks better than The Voyage Home, featuring another inconsistent transfer with overall sharper details, and an overall cleaner presentation. Shatner uses too many of the lamer visual tropes of the late ‘80s, which make for ugly images, but for the purposes of high definition video the ugly neons and post- Blade Runner pretend noir are a plus. The blacks are rich like the Kahn transfer, and the ugly colours are vibrant like the Spock transfer, though the overall noise is a bit more extensive.
The Undiscovered Country is probably the darkest film in the series, visually and tonally speaking, and the Blu-ray presentation is rich with deep and subtle hues. There are plenty of colourful highlights within the dark compositions, but nothing as neon as The Final Frontier or Search for Spock. The Enterprise crew’s blood red uniforms are clear of the low level noise found on DVD releases, and the separation of elements is impressive beyond SD possibilities. The details could do with a bit of sharpening again, but are less blunted than the The Voyage Home disc. The disc is not without its noise, more than really should be present, and edge enhancement is obvious throughout.
They may not look exactly perfect, but jeezeum crow do these movies sound good in TrueHD sound (though I do wonder why the television series got the DTS-HD treatment). Things begin with Star Trek: TMP, which bares all the scars of its thirty year old age, and isn’t particularly overwhelming in the area of sound effects. The surround and stereo effects are mostly devoted to a few spacey effects (the wormhole scene is pretty cool), incidental bridge noise (much like that of the season one release), and Jerry Goldsmith’s indelible score. The score is the best reason for watching the film again at all, frankly, and has been lovingly restored and reassigned. Some of the directional effects are a little misplaced or overdone in context to the simplicity of the majority of the original sound design, but it’s a solid effort for an elderly film.
My only complaint concerning the Wrath of Kahn Dolby TrueHD track pertains to James Horner’s score, which struck me as a little quiet. I mean, it’s loud, but it could be louder, we all know it. There’s a little more action in the second film, which leads to some more actiony directional effects, but overall there isn’t too much to grab onto outside of the obvious. The mix is pretty much a frontal assault with a few key surround attacks, and some rich and punchy bass. The advantage of the first film’s mix is in the more abstract space sounds that come naturally out of the V’Ger design, but the second film has some good blow-ups, and a really effective outer space rumble.
The Search for Spock features the least aggressive sound elements in possibly the entire series (even the relatively actionless first film has some bizarre elements to share) right up until the last act when Genesis starts to fall apart all around the cast. These scenes utilize the full range of surround effects available at the time, and these effects have been joyfully resituated for the Dolby TrueHD mix. Bass is rumbly, explosions are punchy, and the various chaotic elements flit about the channels without overwhelming Horner’s score or the dialogue. The rest of the track is pretty close to the first film’s track, including plenty of subtle surround effects, a clean dialogue track, and well separated elements.
My first thought the second I got this set in the mail wasn’t ‘Oh boy, hi-def Trek’, it was ‘Oh boy, I can hear the whale probe in lossless surround’. I am not left disappointed by the surround revamped, and bass increased synth sounds that scared me witless as a boy. Besides the probe scenes The Voyage Home is easily the most grounded and realistic film in the entire series, so there isn’t a whole lot of overt surround fun, which is fine. The street scenes are natural, and relatively lively with incidental noises, while the army base and hospital scenes actually feature a few zippy directional effects. Composer Leonard Roseman is the least outgoing of probably every composer in the series’ history, but there really isn’t enough theatrical music to care in the case of the track, save the introduction to the streets of San Francisco, where the most obnoxious ‘80s stereotype blares out of the front speakers.
The Final Frontier has only one real advantage over The Voyage Home, and its name is Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith’s score isn’t an entirely original take on the series themes, but it still sounds fantastic in Dolby TrueHD. The score is almost deafeningly full-bodied when it needs to be, and subtly infiltrates the track on a much lower register when the other sound needs to make a point. Otherwise there’s nothing to over-praise this particular track for, save maybe some more impressive surround design during the large-ish scale battle scenes, and an aggressive soundscape during the ridiculous God scenes.
Cliff Eidelman’s The Undiscovered Country score is the darkest and bassiest in the series, taking cues from Gustav Holst’s ‘Planets’, specifically ‘Mars: God of War’. The score is also quite operatically presented on the track, often placed above effects and dialogue when sharing a scene. Otherwise, despite a relatively low-key story scope, The Undiscovered Country is the newest of the films, and thusly features the largest soundscape. Particularly huge moments include the opening explosion, the Klingon assassination scene (surround sound violet blood), out side scenes on the prison planet, the final battle, and especially the Klingon court scene.
Interestingly, or perhaps annoyingly enough, these discs feature very few of the previous collector’s edition extras. Mega fans will want to hang on to those old discs for alternate cuts, deleted scenes, documentaries, and commentaries. There are several new, Blu-ray exclusive extras to replace these, but the lack of definitive collections of extras points towards future releases. It’s easy to milk Trekkies, and it’s apparently hard to resist the motion for Paramount.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the only disc in the set with only one commentary. This track features series crew Michael and Denise Okuda, Judith and Garfield Reese-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman. The commentators should be commended for actually calling the film on some of its more obvious shortcomings, including length and some of the less impressive visual effects. Following the first of the surprisingly intensive and informative ‘Library Computer’ features are three new featurettes. There are no featurettes ported from the original DVDs.
‘The Longest Trek’ (10:45 HD) is an all new featurette concerning the original film’s very long journey to the big screen. Sadly, every early iteration of the script is much more interesting than the final product, including the dropped television sequel Star Trek: Phase II. It’s really fascinating to hear the producers and writers continuing their honest streak from the commentary track as well. ‘Special Star Trek Reunion’ (9:30 HD) is a quick round table discussion with five folks that got minor on set roles. ‘Starfleet Academy Briefing: The Mystery Behind V’Ger’ (04:20 HD) is the first of a series of six adorable pretend informational briefings. The first disc is completed with 11 deleted scenes (I’m guessing most of these are in the Director’s Cut version of the film), three storyboard sets, two trailers, and eight TV spots.
The Wrath of Kahn starts with two commentary tracks, one featuring director Nicholas Myer solo, and the other (a new one) featuring Myer with Manny Coto. The need for two tracks is questionable, though in my quick shift viewing I didn’t notice an excess of repeated elements. There’s a lot of mention of Myer’s outsider’s POV, which is likely very important to the film’s success, as well as his love of nautical battle stories, which sets the Trek series apart from Star Wars. The tracks are met with another solid ‘Library Computer’ feature.
The second disc’s new featurettes begin with ‘James Horner: Composing Genesis’ (09:30 HD), a look at The Wrath of Kahn’s remarkable score. Horner echoes many of the film’s other participants in that he was not a fan of the series before working on the film, and gently covers his inspirations, his favourite cues, and his relationship with Myer. ‘Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics’ (11:00 HD) is a rather dry look at the various props that made their way into various collections. The objects are produced, described, and shown in filmic context. Fans can look forward to brief hi-def scenes from the latter four films. Another ‘Starfleet Academy Briefing’ (‘The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha IV, 03:10 HD) follows, and a tribute to Ricardo Montalban (04:45 HD) completes the Blu-ray exclusive stuff.
The featurettes ported from the older special edition DVD release begin with ‘Captain’s Log’ (28:00 SD), an intriguing look at the process of scripting the feature, Nimoy’s disinterest in the project (which led to his character’s death), the re-writes that came out of these meetings, the process of bringing Montalban into the fold, and tweaking the original ending to leave the door open for a second sequel. ‘Designing Kahn’ (24:00 SD) covers other aspects of the making-of process, specifically the art design process, and covers a lot of facts already covered during the commentary tracks. Next up are original release interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, and Montalban (11:00 SD), followed by ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’ (18:00 SD), a look at the film’s visual effects, including behind the scenes photographs and video, and interviews with the ILM artists. ‘A Novel Approach’ (28:00) finishes these up with a rather extended look at the work of series novelists Julia Ecklar and Greg Cox. The disc itself is completed with storyboards and trailers.
The Search for Spock also features both the DVD’s original commentary and a new Blu-ray exclusive track. The original track features Nimoy, writer/producer Harve Bennett, DP Charles Corell, and actress Robin Curtis. Nimoy is the best commentator on the track, which is a conglomerated commentary, covering the controversial story behind his involvement right off the bat, and addressing the other fan chatted issues of his direction, like initial behind the scenes strife. The second track features former The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager writers Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor. Moore is one of the brain trusts behind the enormously popular Battlestar Galatica reboot, and seems to have a slight lead on the track, but both participants are joyfully full of geeky extras. If I hadn’t had my own geeks I would’ve found the track strangely invaluable. Also included is yet another ‘Library Computer’ option.
The new features begin with ‘Industrial Light and Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek’ (14:00 HD). As the title implies this featurette covers ILM’s involvement in the series as a whole, not just the third film. The major theme of the interviews is how much more difficult things were before the days of digital effects. ‘Spock: The Early Years’ (06:30 HD) is a pseudo-creepy interview with the actor that played seventeen-year- old Spock, who only really talks about the pon farr thing. ‘Star Trek and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame’ (17:00) explores the series’ place in the Seattle based museum (God I wish I’d visited that place when I was there) in the form of an interview with the films’ writer/producer Harve Bennett. The new stuff on this disc ends with another ‘Starfleet Academy’ entry (The Vulcan Katra Transfer, 02:30 HD).
The old release extras continue from the previously released commentary, and include another ‘Captains Log’ featurette (26:00 SD), which is equally joyously informative as the previous one, and which features more slyly sarcastic William Shatner. The information is a little repetitive out of the commentary tracks, but it makes for a good either/or scenario. This is followed by ‘Terraforming and The Prime Directive’ (26:00 SD), an exploration of some of the philosophical and technological issues found in the Star Trek movie series. ‘Space Docks and Birds of Prey’ (28:00 SD) covers some of the special effects information, but is further concerned with the ship design. ‘Speaking Klingon’ (21:00 SD) is a brief interview/lecture with the linguist that was at least partially responsible for the Vulcan and Klingon languages (at least their proper inceptions). ‘Klingon and Vulcan Costumes’ (12:00 SD) is a look (rather obviously) at the costume design of the alien culture’s costumes. Again things are completed with the trailer, and photo and storyboard galleries.
The Voyage Home features my favourite commentary track of the collection, the one featuring Nimoy and Shatner in the same room together, chatting most specifically about the film, but yammering a bit about other subjects as well. It’s a nicely filled track, and tonally warm and intelligent. The second track, the new one, features Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the producers of the new Star Trek film. They have relatively little to say about anything. Again, these tracks are augmented with a ‘Library Computer’.
The new featurettes start with ‘Pavel Chekov’s Screen Moments’ (06:00 HD), a good natured look at Walter Koenig’s role in the films, most specifically his scene stealing work in The Voyage Home. ‘The Three Picture Saga’ (10:10 HD) explores the trilogy aspect of films one, two and three. The unintended aspect of the continuity is pretty interesting, as it’s good to know good writers can create serialization in an organic fashion. ‘Star Trek For a Cause’ (05:30 HD) looks at the environmental messages of The Voyage Home, with Green Peace people giving interviews about the factual issues of whaling, and the film’s real effect on the situation. The new extras are completed by another ‘Starfleet Academy’ (03:20 HD) entry ('The Whale Probe').
The ported featurettes start with ‘Future’s Past: Looking Back’ (27:30 SD), another general retrospective featurette, covering the inception through the completion. Again, there is a degree of repetition post-commentary track, but the featurette (again) stands as a great alternative. ‘On Location’ (07:30 SD) covers the film’s San Francisco location shooting, which was the first location shooting in the film’s history, outside of some California desert shooting in the original series. ‘Dailies Deconstruction’ (04:00 SD) is a comparison between various takes of raw footage taken for the San Francisco street scenes. ‘Below-the-Line’ (11:45 SD) looks at (or rather listens to?) the film’s sound effects editing and creation, including the bizarre whale probe sounds. It is conceptually complimented with ‘The Language of Whales’ (05:45 SD), which looks at the whale song scientifically. ‘Time Travel—The Art of the Possible’ (11:15 SD) is a pretty intellectualized look at the actually scientific possibilities of time travel with real life scientists. ‘A Vulcan Primer’ (07:50 SD) is a strangely scientific look at Spock’s genetic relatives, presented as if they are an actual species. ‘Kirk’s Women’ (08:20 SD) wraps the featurettes up with a brief look at the captain’s romantic entanglements, via the actresses involved.
Also included from the DVD release are a collection of three period interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, and Deforest Kelley, two tributes—one to Roddenberry (08:20 SD) and another to actor Mark Lenard (12:45 SD), a period effects featurette/EPK (15:00 SD), a collection of on-set video (04:00 SD), storyboards, and the original trailer.
Jesus Christ, I’m still not done? Sigh. The Final Frontier starts with two more commentary tracks. The first track features William and Liz Shatner, and was available on the previous DVD release. The Shatners don’t have a lot to say beyond a few snippets of recalled behind the scenes info. Overall the track is very quiet. The second track, a new one, features series writers Michael and Denise Okuda, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman. This is a much more lively track. The participants are knowledgeable, and take some time to defend the much maligned feature, but aren’t above pointing out the crappy bits. Once again the commentaries are greeted with a ‘Library Computer’ option.
The new featurettes are very minimal this time, starting with ‘Star Trek Honors NASA’ (10:00 HD), which is a bit mislabeled. This featurette is actually made up of NASA folks honoring Star Trek. The scientist discuss the stuff that the series got right, and the series stuff that inspired them. ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame: James Doohan’ (03:10 SD) is raw footage from the satellite feed of the actor’s induction onto the Walk. Doohan looks like he’s on his last legs, and I personally found the whole thing kind of depressing. The new stuff ends with another ‘Starfleet Academy’ entry on the Nimbus III (03:00 HD).
The old featurettes start with ‘Harve Bennet’s Sales Pitch’ (which is exactly what it sounds like, 01:40 SD), and move quickly over to ‘The Journey: A Behind the Scenes Documentary’ (29:00 SD), which looks and acts nothing like the ‘Captain’s Log’ behind the scenes docs. I’m not sure why it was decided that The Final Frontier was worthy of a real retrospective, but suspect it has something to do with Shatner’s clout. ‘Hermann Zimmerman: A Tribute’ (19:00 SD) looks back on the production designer/art director’s career, which started with film five. ‘Cosmic Thoughts’ (13:00 SD) is a collection of interviews with various theologists, scientists, historians, and authors, who yak about the themes of space exploration and religion. ‘That Klingon Couple’ (13:00 SD) is a sort of cute interview with the two body builder types that stared in film five as a couple of loving Klingons (loving being a relative term). ‘A Green Future’ (09:30 SD) is concerned with the film’s use of Yosemite National Park.
The continued extras (more than any other disc on the set, mind you) are completed with make-up test footage (09:50 SD), pre-viz model footage (01:40 SD), a look at a deleted sequence entitled ‘Rockman in the Raw’ (05:40 SD), a press conference (13:40 SD), four deleted scenes (04:20 SD), production and storyboard galleries, two trailers, and TV spots.
The final two commentary tracks are found on the The Undiscovered Country disc. The first, which was featured on the DVD release, features director Nicholas Myers again, and co-writer Denny Martin Flinn. The commentators cover the Cold War subtext to a rather extreme degree, discuss working together, and discuss the collaborations of others, including specifically Nimoy. The new commentary features later series writers Larry Nemecek and Ira Steven Behr, who like the other guest commentators cover the greater universe and nerdier aspects of the series and film. Once again these are greeted by a ‘Library Computer’ option.
The final batch of new featurettes begin with ‘Tom Morga: Alien Stuntman’ (04:40 HD). Morga played a stuntman on every series outside of the original, and several of the films. ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ (23:00 HD) covers a group of Klingon actors performing Hamlet in its entirety…in Klingon. The actors mostly cheat and learn their lines phonetically rather than actually learning Klingon. The new stuff ends with the last ‘Starfleet Academy’ entry, this one concerning the Klingon moon Praxis (02:30 HD).
The ported extras start with ‘The Perils of Peacemaking’ (26:30 SD), which mixes aspects of the historical Cold War, and the film’s take on them, along with a short lesson in the making of the film overall. ‘Stories from Star Trek VI’ (57:10 SD) is a six part making-of featurette. The most interesting aspect of this piece is the talk of the film’s early development, which mirrors the new film’s (the reboot) ideas pretty surprisingly. ‘Conversations with Nicholas Myer’ is an interview with the man and myth, and is repetitive after three commentary tracks and various behind the scenes featurettes. ‘Klingons: Conjuring the Legend’ (20:40 SD) traces the alien creatures’ history and development within the series. ‘Federation Operatives’ (04:50 SD) is a quick look at some of the actors that played more than one character in the series. ‘Penny’s Toy Box’ (06:00 SD) is a look at some The Undiscovered Country items in the prop warehouse. ‘Together Again’ (05:00 SD) explores the professional relationship between Shatner and Chris Plummer.
The disc is concluded with a tribute to Deforest Kelley (13:20 SD), eight original release interviews, production and storyboard galleries, a teaser and theatrical trailer, and a convention presentation with Myer.
The whole set culminates with disc seven, the Captain’s Summit, a three part round table with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, and moderator Whoppi Goldberg, running a total of seventy minutes. I expected to be bored, but the discussion is brisk and amusing, even when Goldberg tries to weigh things down with the ‘big idea’ questions.
So I haven’t been swayed in my personal views concerning the original six Star Trek films, which is both a good thing (concerning the even numbered films), and a bad thing (concerning the odd numbered films). These Blu-ray discs are pretty clearly not the last word on the subject, considering Paramount’s history of re-releasing the films, the lack of director’s and extended cuts, some missing extra material, and the less than perfect transfers. I personally still found the extras and transfers satisfying, but as a non-fan still recognize the room for improvement. I apologize this review took me so long to finish, and hope my opinion still has some meaning for those that haven’t yet purchased the set, but were considering it.
* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Some material may not be suitable for children
Release Date: 12th May 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Mono Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish
Extras: Commentaries, Featurettes, Documentaries, Deleted Scenes, Library Computer, Starfleet Academy Briefing, Captain's Summit, Galleries, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nicholas Meyer, Robert Wise
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi and War
Length: 720 minutes
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