TrekCore Reviews: Star Trek Original Motion Picture Collection

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The Star Trek Original Motion Picture Collection was released on Blu-ray disc, in the US, on May 12, 2009. This seven-disc set contains the original theatrical editions of the first six Star Trek movies, and a bonus DVD titled, "Star Trek: Captain's Summit". The discs are packaged in thin, blue cases inside a white cardboard slipcase.

The audio is in English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 2.0 Dolby Surround and Spanish Mono. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH (Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing), French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The sound duplicated that in which I experience in a movie theater. The bass thundered as if my living room was exploding. As far as video quality goes, what can I say. It's high def! The digital video quality is theoretically almost perfect. (disclaimer) The quality YOU see is be based on your entertainment system setup. (/disclaimer) The quality I saw was in between standard movie theater quality and IMAX. The colors were deep and crisp, and lines were perfectly defined.

Each DVD, except for disc seven, begins with the theatrical trailer of Star Trek XI. It's nice to watch this one or two times, but you may want to fast forward through this part for the rest of the DVDs.

The DVD menu system also gives the viewer the option of using the Java-based Library Computer during movie playback. According to the menu, this is "... an interactive experience that allows you to access information about people, technology, locations and more -- at the moment each appears in the film." Click on the icon, and a pop-up window appears with additional information. I don't recommend watching the movie with that feature turned on. It's somewhat distracting to see an icon appear every so often during the movie. It's a little more noticeable than seeing a network logo appear while watching television, and does draw your attention away from the movie. I recommend playing the movie without this turned on.

If your Blu-ray player is BD-Live ready (or if you watch the DVD on your computer), you can access the Star Trek I.Q. BD-Live feature. The menu states that you can "Create and share trivia challenges over scenes from the movie." It "lets you test your Star Trek knowledge by playing unique trivia games. Start with one of the featured quizzes or play and rate quizzes created by other users." These are a series of either multiple choice or true/false questions, in which you have ten seconds to guess the correct answer. To my amazement, you don't need to know all about Star Trek to play this trivia game, but it helps. It's similar to the new DVD game Scene It? Star Trek, but the images are better.

Disc seven is titled, "Star Trek: The Captainsí Summit". Although during the feature, it's referred to the "Star Trek Summit". For the first time ever, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes are together to share memories of their tenure with the franchise. This 70-minute interview session is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. This is a VERY nice feature. Although I wondered why they split it up into three parts. It doesn't play as one 70-minute show. If you want to watch the whole thing, you must sit through two short commercial breaks, but without the commercials.

In all, the set contains over 14 hours of bonus content. Even though each DVD has different bonus features, they all share common extras like Production, Star Trek Universe, and Storyboards.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Production extras. They contain numerous interviews with the stars and production staff of Star Trek. The first of these was titled "The Longest Trek: Writing The Motion Picture". In it, Star Trek writers Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens explained the first mention of a Star Trek movie. Gene Roddenberry announced at a science fiction convention in 1968 in Oakland, CA, that he was talking to Paramount about making a movie about Kirk and Spock's academy years. It took eleven more years until the first movie was produced.

In the disc three featurette "Spock: The Early Years", Stephen Manley was interviewed. He played Spock at age seventeen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. As you remember, his character performed pon far with Lt. Saavik (played by Robin Curtis). Would you believe that Stephen has pon far'ed with eight females at various Star Trek conventions?

The visual effects were another bonus feature I enjoyed. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, large scale models were used for all ship scenes. The use of CGI graphics was in its infancy and visual effects was still an art form. The nebula scene was a huge water tank, filled with thinly separated fresh and salt water, then by adding various chemicals they created swirling effects. This stuff is classic! During the scenes when Khan destroyed the Enterprise, the modelers put steel wool inside the model, and heated it with a flame to give each scene that sparkling look. I loved this stuff!

The most common of the Star Trek Universe bonus featurettes is the Starfleet Academy SCISEC (Science Security) Briefs. Each one technically explains an anomaly from each film. The Briefs listed in the movies are the "Mystery Behind V'Ger", "Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI", "Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer", "The Whale Probe", "Nimbus III", and "Praxis".

The storyboards are good sketches. They reminded me of gaming concept art.

Is it worth upgrading? Yes. It's worth it not only for the high definition content, but also for the bonus features not found on the original standard definition DVD releases.

Review by Bob Stutzman on June 9, 2009.