Blu-ray Review: STAR TREK – THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE COLLECTION.

Paramount Home Entertainment
Release date: May 12th, 2009
MSRP: $139.99

Directors: Several.
Stars: Anyone that might care about this set already knows who the stars are!

* * * There are Spoilers in the following words. Mostly for Star Trek 3, well and one spoiler for Star Trek 2. Which is in the paragraph for Star Trek 3. And one nugget about Star Trek 5 in the paragraph about 5. But if you don’t know them already…WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? The movies have been out for 20 or so years! …and the wife did it in Presumed Innocent. …The woman is actually a man in The Crying Game …and Liberace was gay. * * *

To sum it up before I have started, 2,4,6 good. 1,3,5 horrible. I know what you’re thinking. “Randy that’s BRILLIANT! You’ve solved all the world’s problems with that simple mathematical sequence of numbers!” To which I would respond, “Moron, your bus is leaving!” (Not sure what that means, but thought it was funny when Bill Murray said it in Groundhog’s Day). If I were to write a review of all the Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) movies (which I am), it would would follow the above formula.
2,4,6 good. 1,3,5 horrible. (or as The French would say “orr-ee-ball”…well, not the French, but some one doing a horrible French accent).

In the late 70’s a movie came out that would change Science Fiction movies forever! It was Star……..Wars. Which came first, Trek or Wars? (Chicken or egg?) Trek of course was first, The Original TV series was in the 60’s. BUT movie-wise it was Wars first.

With the super massive extraordinary super-duper success of Star Wars in 1977, movie studio execs were falling all over themselves to find something ….um…well, space worthy. Then someone at Paramount said, wasn’t that guy from T.J. Hooker in some “space” deal back in the 60s? (yes, I realize T.J. Hooker was several years after the first Star Trek movie….Shut up! Dramatic license, suspension of disbelief. and if none of those will sway you, think about this: I have seen ALL the Highlander movies! I know! I know. But don’t feel sorry for me. I will get through. But give me the T.J. Hooker reference out of pity!) Where was I? ….da, dah,
dah….1977….dah dah dah…space worthy….dah dah dah, hookers…Oh, yes! “….wasn’t that guy from T.J. Hooker in some “space” deal back in the 60s?” said the Execs. and BAM! 2 years later the horrible, horrible, horrible, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released. Admiral James T. Kirk takes the Enterprise to stop a destructive vessel that is heading toward Earth.

Luckily Paramount didn’t realize how horrible One was, if they had, they would not have made Two, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Which is the best of the six TOS movies. An enemy from Kirk’s past comes back for revenge. Ricardo Montalban revives his one episode character from the 60’s TV series, the genetically enhanced “super man” Khan. or KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! as Seinfeld fans would know him.

Then there was Three. Star Trek: The Search for Spock. Directed by Spock himself Leonard Nimoy. Not nearly as bad as the first, but also not anywhere near as good as the second. That’s all I have to say about that, as Forrest Gump would say. Not to ruin Two for you but…Spock dies in The Wrath of Khan. But now with evidence that Spock might be alive Kirk and crew steal the Enterprise and …Search for Spock. With all that happens in this movie, (Spock comes back to life, Kirks son dies (The son we learn of in Two), the Enterprise is destroyed, and Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown himself Christopher Lloyd plays a mean Klingon and John Larroquette plays his underling), it really should have been better than it was.

FOUR! Star Trek: The Voyage Home, also directed by “I am Not Spock” writer Leonard Nimoy. Who is actually …Spock. The Voyage home is a fun tale of our “fish out of water” heroes going back in time and having to deal with the Earth of today. …well, not today, but 1986. Which was today when the movie was made.

and then….(dun, DUN, DUUUUUUUUUN) there was Five. Star Trek: The Final Frontier. Written and directed by The Shat himself William Shatner. While I was a big fan of
Star Trek, I had never been a fan of William Shatner himself. I believed all the stories written about him. But recently, since around the Boston Legal days, I have
changed my tune. The Shat, IS the sh*t. He can make fun of himself. I can respect that. and he is HILARIOUS on Boston Legal. Is? was. ANYWAY… Star Trek Five.
Wow. that is about all I can say. Wow. Did it suck? Yes. I have paraphrased 20th cenatury thinker Homer before, but I must do it again. It was the suckiest suck that
ever sucked. A renegade Vulcan (Yes, renegade VULCAN!) hijacks the Enterprise to find God. Which turns out to be an alien that wants transport off a planet.

Now we get to Six. Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. Was it as good as 2 and 4? No. But it was fun. Space battles, bad guys that you like, conspiracies at the
highest levels of government and Klingons! Of course Five had Klingons… But I shudder just thinking about Five. AND Sulu is captain of his own ship in Six!

To recap, no there is too much, to sum up 2,4,6 good. 1,3,5 baaaaaaad.

Randy Otteson

Ok, I am now taking over to talk about the Video, audio and extras. Before I hop into the nuts and bolts, I want to chime in a bit 1 and 3 are mediocre and 5 is HORRID!!!!!!! Bad does not begin to describe the ego trip that first time director William Shatner took us on. Only Kirk is strong enough to save us all! I seriously wanted to see Kirk not only killed, but killed while wearing a little Bo-peep outfit and singing I am woman. 5 is a mid-life crisis that should not have been foisted on the unsuspecting public.

Now onto the my side of this:
Video:
I am a little baffled at this. The picture quality varies wildly from film to film. Only The Wrath of Kahn appears to have gotten a complete restoration. Disturbingly enough, 5 appears to have gotten some love as well. Why?? If love and care was going to be doled out here and there, it is 4 that should have gotten it after Kahn. Instead four, like the others, has more than it’s share of digital noise.
All of the films have some nice details shining through and the color looks good all around. But why not take the time to clean up all of the films? After watching Kahn, the issues with the others become all the more apparent. None of them look awful, but I just don’t get only touching up one or two films. All films are presented in 1080p with a 2.35:1 ratio.

Audio:
For audio, all fare better. The films are offered up with Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Now I can’t take full advantage of the 7.1 set-up (If anyone wants to donate a 7.1 system to the Crimespree Cinema lab, we would not refuse), but the sound is excellent. The battle scenes of Khan (2) and The Undiscovered Country (6), the water in The Voyage Home (4) and ego-driven blather of The Final Fronter (5) all sound great…well, the ego-driven blather is not great, but it is clear and impressive in technical aspects.
There is also a Fench Dolby Digital 2.0 track and a Spanish Mono track. Not sure why the French get more love than the Spanish. Subtitles are in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The folks at Paramount have put together a very impressive collection of extras. You can spend a weekend watching the films and about the same amount of time on the extras. Each film has a commentary track as well as numerous featurettes.
But the best of the bunch is on the seventh disc: Captain’s Summit. Shatner, Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and Jonathon Frakes all gather for a round table hosted by Whoopi Goldberg (She had some role on TNG). It runs about an hour and is fun with frank discussion. When it was over, I was sad and could easily have sat through another hour. Some of these things feel stiff, but this was very relaxed and entertaining.

Could this set be better? Absolutely! But, it is better than the non-BD releases. Kahn is wonderful in all aspects and the Captain’s Summit will be loved by all Trekkies (or ers or ians or whatever the hell you folks are).

Order the Blu-ray set of Star Trek: The Motion picture Collection.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.