The Motion Picture the Director’s Edition, The Final Frontier, and The Undiscovered Country hit Ultra-HD home video
Previously here at Cinapse, we reviewed the 4K-UHD release of Star Trek the Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, and The Voyage Home. Housed together in one collector’s box, the presentation of these remasters is impeccable. Stripping away a lot of the artificial DNR manipulation that came with the 2009 Blu-ray releases, leaving authentic, detailed, and stunning representations of the films. A benchmark for the 4K format in many ways. Paramount has now unleashed a set of releases to complete the collection and beyond Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, they also deliver Star Trek the Motion Picture The Director’s Edition. All with a host of extras and the same high quality of restoration seen with the earlier films.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture The Director’s Edition
Having already extolled the tone of TMP for the previous 4K release, the big point here is the presentation of the Director’s Edition. Four minutes longer than the theatrical cut, it features some scenes being tightened and other previously unused/removed scenes being put back in. Overall, it is an improved experience. The film still takes it’s time, has a contemplative feel, but the restorations add much to flesh out intent, and emotional arcs. Perhaps most significantly is tying Spock’s wrestling with emotion to V’Ger’s own state, and their connection better clarifying the reasons for this probes catastrophic journey to Earth into greater clarity.
What is truly impressive here, is that the 4K restoration was not just limited to the theatrical elements, but the restored scenes too. Even an array of special effects that were lacking, have been completely redone for this version. The result is a film that not only looks pristine, but the detail shows off some loving extra touches too. A sharp image, detail is remarkable, with no hint of any artificial nature to the image or textures. The colors are deep and robust, notably the blacks of space, and the brighter interiors and special effect heavy scenes. Like those previous Trek releases, this transfer serves as a statement as to why an upgrade to the 4K format is worthwhile.
Extra Features 4K Disc
- NEW! Audio Commentary with David C. Fein, Mike Matessino, and Daren R. Dochterman: It’s really great to get a new commentary from the main folk responsible for this new restoration. Clearly a labor of love, full of plenty of insight into the film, the updates, and more
- Audio Commentary by Robert Wise, Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Jerry Goldsmith, and Stephen Collins (from 2001 DVD release): A wide ranging and detailed commentary. Background to the making of the film (including talk of the aborted Star Trek Phase II show), the production, design, cast and crew, and more
- Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (from 2001 DVD release): Great for all the tech and production details as crafted by the pair
Key Extra Features Blu-ray Disc
- NEW! The Human Adventure — An all-new 8-part documentary detailing how the Director’s Edition came to life: Running just over 45 minutes, its a collection of new interviews and insights into the production, with a focus on the Director’s Edition cut, the themes and editing, and notably the extra visual enhancements. Parts include; Preparing the Future: How the remastering began, A Wise Choice: The storied history of Robert Wise, Refitting the Enterprise: How the Enterprise design shaped future federation starships, Sounding Off: the use of Dolby Atmos, V’ger: The conception and restoration of an iconic alien antagonist, Return to Tomorrow: Reaching an already high bar with new CGI effects, A Grand Theme: Behind the iconic, influential music score that shaped the franchise’s -future, and The Grand Vision: The legacy and evolving reputation of this classic movie
- NEW! Deleted Scenes: Lost scenes ahoy! 11 to be precise. Extra footage of Decker and Probe Ilia, a V’Ger attack, and other bits of the film cut out
- The Longest Trek: Writing ‘The Motion Picture’: Background on how Phase II morphed into TMP
- Special ‘Star Trek’ Reunion: extras reminiscing on their experiences of being in the movie
- NEW! Effects Tests
- NEW! Costume Tests
- NEW! Computer Display Graphics
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
An ill prepared Enterprise and her crew has to deal with a hostage crisis on Nimbus III, a kind of Switzerland of the galaxy. A neutral backwater and host to diplomats of the major powers to mediate disputes. Upon arrival, they find them all to be willing accomplices in a scheme initiated by Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), Spock’s half-brother. After he commandeers the Enterprise, he sets them all on a course for his divine purpose, to breach the barrier at the center of the galaxy and seek an audience with God.
A much maligned film, muddled exploration of faith, clunky set-pieces, and notoriously hampered by budgetary issues (notably for the film’s climax). However, the cast still sparkles. Each of the crew is wearing these characters like an old glove now, and they play off each other with familiarity, wit, and warmth. The action and scope are second (or even third) rate, but the banter makes the journey worthwhile. Especially that campfire scene.
The Final Frontier 4K transfer offers superb clarity of image. Clean, textures, with deep blacks, robust but faithful colors, and a light grain adding to the natural presentation. The sands of Nimbus III illustrate the fine detail on display. The image quality is so good, you can actually make out one of the “rock men” that was originally planned for the finale. Previously obscured by the picture quality, you can now see one tumbling down a mountain side. The luminescence of the encounter on Sha-Ka-ee is also more clearly defined thanks to the better detail and contrast levels. Just wonderful to behold.
Key Extra Features Blu-ray Disc
- Audio Commentary William Shatner and Liz Shatner: Delivers spurts of information concerning the production, crew stories, etc. Sadly, it kind of glosses over some of the more notorious issues during filming, notably budgetary concerns and the final act, but still worth a listen
- Audio Commentary: Michael and Denise Okuda, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman: A far franker look at the film, covering issues on set, budgetary problems, the direction, fan reaction, as well as some more positive insights concerning the films production
- The Journey: A Behind-the-Scenes Documentary: A solid general overview of the film’s inception and filming
- Makeup Tests: Concept tests for several of the prosthetic heavy characters
- Rockman in the Raw: Production materials for the infamous creations that were cut from the finale
- Star Trek V Press Conference: An on stage Q&A session with the entire cast
- The Star Trek Universe: 8 short featurettes, Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute which gives an overview of the composer’s career, Original Interview: William Shatner which gives the director/actor a chance to talk about the film, Cosmic Thoughts which ruminates on our place in the galaxy, That Klingon Couple features actors Todd Bryant and Spice Williams talk about their roles in the film, A Green Future? showcases the location of Yosemite National Park which notably features in the film, ‘Star Trek’ Honors NASA centers around how Gene Roddenberry’s vision impacted the space program, and Hollywood Walk of Fame: James Doohan which shows clips from the actor’s dedication ceremony
- Deleted Scenes: Four short clips excised from the film
- Production Gallery: a series of stills from the film set to the score
- Storyboards (showing the pre-viz work for 3 key sequences), Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots, and Gag Reel
Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country
The Klingons, enemies of old, are forced to seek help due to an ecologically linked energy crisis. This forcing of overtures of peace towards the Federation kicks off the final voyage of the Enterprise. Fo Kik and co, long simmering animosities must be put aside as they lead the mission to meet with the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) and escort his party to the sign the peace accords. An awkward encounter over a welcome dinner, later gives way to chaos and bloodshed, as the Chancellor is killed during an assault on the Klingon flagship. Confusion reigns as Starfleet personnel are identified as the assailants, while the Enterprise seemed to have fired a photon torpedo. After transporting over to assist, Kik and McCoy end up being arrested by the Klingons, and sent to the prison planet of ua Penthe, Spock and the rest of the cew look to uncover the mystery behind the attack as well as the emerging conspiracy behind it, before the entire peace process falls to pieces.
After The Wrath of Khan, Undiscovered Country is generally regarded as the top tier TOS cinematic adventure. Not as dry as it’s politically tinged plot sounds, instead a dynamic, character driven affair. Intrigue and tension, with some superb set-pieces, and an all timer villain in Christopher Plummer’s General Chang. A smart, entertaining, and above all heartfelt send off for the original series crew.
What’s notable here is that we don’t just get a 4K-UHD treatment of the film, but of the director’s cut too. A version of the film that adds in extra footage, changes up some scenes and sequences, and most notably fleshes out an assassination plot line involving Colonel West (Rene Auberjonois, better known as Odo in ST:DS9). Note, this version is in 4K only, not Blu-ray.
Paramount close out the series with another top quality restoration and transfer. Say goodbye to the 2009 transfer’s smoothing, heavy saturation, amplified shadows, and waxification of facial features, say hello to a stunning presentation that feels true to the original intent. Blacks are inky, whites are crisp, colors are rich, but not imbalanced or heavily amped up. The artificially cranked up saturation and contrast is also gone, as is the smoothing effects. Even that odd stubble effect on Kirk’s face after beaming up from Rura Penthe has been rectified. This is a pristine presentation, not just for the film, but for the 4K-UHD format in general.
Key Extra Features 4K Disc
- Audio Commentary: Director Nicholas Meyer and Screenwriter Denny Martin Flinn (Theatrical Version only): A solid commentary, that oots the film in the political ea it was made, while also covers more specifics aspects of the film, from woking with the cast, costume design, approaches to various scenes,
- Audio Commentary: Larry Nemecek and Ira Steven Behr (Theatrical Version only): The pair come at their commentary with more of a fan-driven enthusiasm, despite their ties to late iterations of the franchise. Warm, insightful, and entertaining
- Text Commentary: Michael and Denise Okuda (Director’s Cut): As with their other contributions, nifty insights to some of the tech seen on screen and tidbits about other production details
Key Extra Features Blu-ray Disc
- Audio Commentary: Director Nicholas Meyer and Screenwriter Denny Martin Flinn: As above
- Audio Commentary: Larry Nemecek and Ira Steven Behr: As above
- Library Computer
- The Perils of Peacemaking: Nicely connects The Undiscovered County, and Sci-Fi in general, to mediums to explore various aspects of current societal/political problems
- Stories from Star Trek VI: Six featurettes; It Started With a Story dives into parallels to the politics of the 90s era, Prejudice centers around the racial elements of the story and how cast and crew interpreted and responded to these elements, Director Nicholas Meyer is essentially a cheer for the director from cast and crew, Shakespeare and General Chang focuses on Christopher Plummer and the works of the playwright in the film, Bring it to Life runs just over 20 minutes and covers some of the key scenes/aspects of the film, and finally Farewell and Goodbye breaks down the final shot of the film
- The Star Trek Universe: Eight featurettes; Conversations With Nicholas Meyer is a compilation of interviews with the director, Klingons: Conjuring the Legend gives an overview of Klingons within the series, Star Trek. Federation Operatives showcases actors who have played multiple roles within the Trek-verse, Trek. Penny’s Toy Box showcases some of the props, Together Again dives into the collaborative work between William Shatner and Christopher Plummer, Tom Morga: Alien Stuntman gives the actor time to talk about his long relationship with Trek, To Be or Not To Be: Klingons and Shakespeare shows a real-life performance of Hamlet in Klingon, and Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 006: Praxis gives a little reframing of the events that dive the plot of the film
- Farewell — DeForest Kelley: A Tribute
- Original Interviews: A selection of short interviews with the main cast, and Iman (Martia)
- Production Gallery
- Storyboards: For four bigger set pieces from the film ; Praxis, Assassins, Rura Penthe, and Leaving the Spacedock
The all new 4K-UHD editions of Star Trek The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition, Star Trek V The Final Frontier, and Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country, are available via Paramount Home Entertainment now