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Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection 4K UHD Review

“Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection” is a must for Trek fans.

With Star Trek Day AND the 55th anniversary of the long running sci-fi franchise tomorrow, it seems only fitting to review this new 4K set housing the first 4 Trek films. I’m sure everyone reading this review has seen these films countless times before, but I’ll add my two cents in about each entry.

1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” is still probably the most divisive Trek film. Some fans treasure it as it captures the ideals of Roddenberry’s vision all while bringing the original series crew to the big screen. Other fans find it to be a stiff, slow-paced slog that lacks adventure and excitement and contains far too many overlong sequences. I definitely find myself in the latter camp. Although I appreciate the technical artistry (ala the special effects and veteran direction by Robert Wise), the story involving the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise chasing after a mysterious alien spacecraft is drawn out and lacking in emotion. The ending is intriguing as it refreshingly isn’t just another Starfleet Vs. Alien foe tale, but it’s not enough. Simply put, Trek never reaches its full cinematic potential with the first big screen outing. Note: Only the theatrical edition of TMP is included here.

On the flip side, “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” is arguably the best Trek film and one of the best sequels ever made. Not only does it tie into the series via the “Space Seed” episode, but it has everything the first film did not. It’s an intense, high stakes sequel with Khan Noonien Singh seeking vengeance against Kirk and trying to weaponize Project Genesis. More than that, however, it’s a film with great emotion. It has an ending for the ages and it perfectly explores the friendship between Kirk and Spock. Note: Both the theatrical and director’s cut editions are included here.

“Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” is often dismissed which boggles my mind as I find it to easily be the most underrated Trek movie. For starters, I love how this is a direct continuation of ‘Khan’ in that it deals with what happened to Spock. Again, the story shows the bond between the crew and especially between Kirk and Spock. On top of that, I was really drawn to the further exploration of Project Genesis and the introduction of the Klingon foes (with Christopher Lloyd as the memorable Commander Kruge). Sure, they are sort of cartoonish in comparison to other variations of the Klingons we’ve seen, but that’s a minor quibble.

“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” is one of the most accessible Trek movies in that it’s sort of Trek for non Trek fans. There’s more humor on display here and the ecological message really hit home with viewers. The fourth entry is also a time travel tale as the U.S.S. Enterprise goes back in time to 1986 San Francisco to retrieve whales that can communicate with a dangerous alien probe in the future. Although it does connect with the last 2 films, this fourth entry certainly does its own thing as a time travel/fish out of water story. What really grabs me about this one though is that the story gives the entire main cast something to do. Much of the time TOS was always the Kirk, Spock and McCoy show, but this sequel has all of the characters embarking on a vital mission which was rewarding to see. 

On a side note, I’m not sure why the fifth and sixth films weren’t included here to complete the Original Series era Star Trek films but I’m sure there will be more sets to come in the future.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 2160p. How does it look? Worry not Trek fans as these new 4K transfers deliver the goods. The image quality ofTMP, Khan and Voyage is nothing short of impressive. There’s a whole new level of clarity here that wasn’t on past releases. The biggest stand-out, however, is definitely ‘Spock’ which has the best transfer of the 4 films by a large margin. The restoration team really did wonders with that print.

Audio Track: Dolby TrueHD 7.1. How does it sound? Some fans may be bummed by the lack of an Atmos track on the 4K releases and that both the 4K and Blu-rays share the same 7.1 track, but I will say the track is more than satisfactory. From the epic scores to the iconic sound effects, the sound quality of these 4 films boldly goes where it hasn’t gone before in terms of quality.


Extras:
* Blu-ray copies of each film.
* Digital copies of each film
* Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Darren Dochterman on “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”
* Isolated score track for the first film
* 2 commentaries on ‘Khan.’ One by director Nicholas Meyer and one on the theatrical cut by Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto.
* 2 commentaries on ‘Spock.’ One by Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Charles Correll and Robin Curtis and the other by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor.
* Commentary on ‘Voyage.’ One by William Shatner and Leonard Nomoy and the other by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
* 11 deleted scenes from ‘The Motion Picture.’
* 2 storyboards, teaser and theatrical trailers and 7 TV spots for TMP
* “Special Star Trek Reunion” of extras.
* 4 Starfleet Academy Scisec Briefs which look back at the core mysteries of the first 4 films.
* “The Longest Trek: Writing The Motion Picture” featurette
* “Library Computer”- A pop up extra that provides trivia and factoids through the 4 movies.
* 13 storyboards and trailer for ‘Khan’
* Text commentary on ‘Khan’ by Michael and Denise Okuda
* “The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath Of Khan”- A great making of documentary.
* Featurettes on the score, design, and visual effects of ‘Khan.’
* Original interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelley and Ricardo Montalban for ‘Khan.’
* “Captain’s Log”- A featurette on how ‘Khan’ came about.
* Featurettes on Trek pops and Trek novels.
* A tribute to the late Ricardo Montalban
* 10 storyboards, theatrical trailer and 2 photo galleries for ‘Spock.’
* “Captain’s Log” featurette for ‘Spock’ that covers the development of this third entry and Nimoy’s directing of the production.
* Featurettes on terraforming, the young Spock actors, the visual effects of ‘Spock,’ Klingon and Vulcan costumes, the SciFi Museum and Hall of Fame, the Klingon language, the models and effects of ‘Spock,’
* Production gallery behind the scenes footage, theatrical trailer and 8 storyboards for ‘Voyage.’
* A Roddenberry Scrapbook and a tribute to artist Mark Lenard.
* Original interviews with Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley from ‘Voyage.’
* 2 visual effects featurettes for ‘Voyage.’
* Featurettes on time travel, whales, Vulcans, location shooting of ‘Voyage,’ the sound design of ‘Voyage,’ Kirk’s love interests, the connectivity between films 2-4, the environmental messages of ‘Voyage.’
* A retrospective featurette on ‘Voyage’ titled “Future’s Past: A Look Back.”
* “Dailies Deconstruction”-Side by side shots of different camera angles.
* An interview with Walter Koenig in “Pavel Chekov’s Screen Moments.”

September 7, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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