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Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy
Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/12/2009
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/23/2009
Despite the fact that multi-million-dollar companies have hoards of marketers and PR people working for them, they don't always seem to understand what the public wants or needs. It can be very frustrating for us to see something which should be obvious to these captains of industry, but isn't. So, when they get something completely right, it should be applauded. At first glance, you would assume that a collection entitled Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy would contain the first three Star Trek movies, but it doesn't. Instead, it includes Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Yes, apparently Paramount Home Entertainment knew exactly which three movies the fans would want and we now have them on Blur-ray Disc.
When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released, it was greeted with a great deal of hype. But, let's be honest, the movie was boring. So, Star Trek II took things in a different direction. We get Ricardo Montalban chewing the scenery as the insane Khan, and William Shatner shouting one of his most famous lines, "Khan!" The movie gives us everything that we would want from a Star Trek film: starship battles, a touch of serious science-fiction, wordplay between Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley), one of Kirk's old flames, and ear-worms. And, of course, who can forget the emotional ending. Star Trek II renewed the franchise and drew in new fans who found Star Trek: The Motion Picture too stuffy.
For its Blu-ray Disc Release, Star Trek II has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only very slight grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good and the crispness of the image is undeniable. The picture shows nice depth and an impressive level of detail. The Disc offers a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.7 Mbps. This track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Often older audio track don't fare well on Blu-ray, but this one sounds great. The action scenes reveal a world of stereo and surround sound effects and the mixing of these sounds in the front and rear speakers is very well done. The subwoofer effects aren't overwhelming, but still complimentary.
The Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Blu-ray Disc contains sevral extras. We start with two AUDIO COMMENTARIES. The first features Director Nicholas Meyer by himself, while the second has Meyer with TV Producer Manny Coto. "Library Computer" allows the viewer to to learn about many facets of the Star Trek universe through an interactive menu. "Prodcution" is a five-part series of featurettes, which contain both modern and archive interviews, that explores the making of the film. "The Stark Trek Universe" examines fandom and stories outside of the movies and shows. "Farewell" is tribute to Ricardo Montalban. Finally, we have storyboards and the THEATRICAL TRAILER.
With Star Trek II pumping new blood into the franchise, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock arrived in theaters two years later. This time the approach, under the direction of Leonard Nimoy, was more cerebral, as the plot involved the birth of a new planet, the re-birth of Spock, and a Klingon plot to steal the Genesis Device. While there is some action in the movie, this one is focused more on diplomacy and Kirk's plans to defeat the Klingons and save his friend. Although it might seem a bit dull when compared to Star Trek II, Star Trek III is nonetheless entertaining and who doesn't enjoy a movie where our heroes are forced to steal an alien ship?
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 on Blu-ray
Disc and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at 27 Mbps. The
picture looks great, as it is incredibly sharp and clear, showing no grain and
no defects from the source material. The colors look good, and the depth on the
image is very impressive. The only negative here is that the picture is a bit
dark at times, but overall, this 25 year old movie looks fine. The Disc carries
a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps.
The track delivers clear sound effects and dialogue. While Star Trek III
doesn't have quite as many opportunities to show off its sound as Star Trek
II had, this track is still impressive. Anytime a starship flies by us, the
audio originates in the front channels and zips past us to the rear, making us
surprised that there wasn't a rush of air moving by. The stereo and surround
sound effects are consistently good and the finale offers some nice LFE rumble.
The extras found on the Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Blu-ray are kicked off by a pair of COMMENTARIES. The first has Director Leonard Nimoy, Writer/Producer Harve Bennett, Director of Photography Charles Correll and actress Robin Curtis. The second one has Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor. "Production" is a four-part featurette which examines the film's special effects and the Spock make-up. Again, we have "Library Computer" and "The Star Trek Universe". The extra are finished off with "Photo Gallery", "Storyboards" and the THEATRICAL TRAILER.
While Star Trek III wasn't the rip-roaring adventure that Star Trek II was, it did lay the groundwork for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Star Trek IV is that rare case of a movie which is not only a good movie, but a great film as well. What do I mean by that? This film was embraced by Star Trek fans and it contains all of the sci-fi elements that we would want from a Star Trek movie. But, it's also a good movie period, and this allowed it to become a mainstream hit. Nimoy is at the helm again and he's filled the film with wonder and much needed humor. Who would have thought that a Star Trek movie would have so many quotable funny lines? (With "Double dumbass on you!" being my favorite.) Yes, the whale story gets a bit preachy at times, but that's all part of being Star Trek. Over two decades later, this film still holds up and along with Star Trek II proves that Star Trek can be everything to everyone.
On Blu-ray Disc, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has been letterboxed at
2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average
of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, but it's also somewhat soft and dark.
Now, this movie has always had that soft-focus look in some scenes, but it's
very obvious and somewhat distracting here. Still, the daytime scenes in San
Francisco look great, showing rich colors and a nice amount of depth. The Disc
contains a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of
4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The sound
overcomes any minor issues with the video, as it will blow you out of your seat.
Strong stereo and surround sound effects greet the viewer during the bulk of the
film, and these are supported by well-done subwoofer effects. Most every scene
contains a moment where you'll note the quality of the sound mix.
The extras here are similar to those on the other Discs. William Shanter and Leonard Nimoy provide an AUDIO COMMENTARY, as do Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who worked on the new Star Trek film. Again, we get "Production", "Library Computer", and "The Star Trek Universe". There are also featurettes which focus on "Visual Effects" and one which has archive "Interviews". There "Tributes" to Gene Roddenberry and Mark Lenard. And, again, we get a "Production Gallery", "Storyboards" and the THEATRICAL TRAILER.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long