Star Trek: 4K Blu-ray Movie Review
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Star Trek: 4K Blu-ray Movie Review
When Star trek unceremoniously ended its three-season television series in 1969, it was with a sense of surprise that its loyal fan base not only stayed on but flourished through syndicated reruns. Despite a short-lived animated series, in the mid-1970s Star trek could no longer be ignored, and another series to call Star Trek: Phase II was commissioned by Paramount Television. While this show would have seen Kirk, Spock, and the crew of the Enterprise completely replaced, the massive success of Star wars in 1977 gave Paramount the impetus to change course and bring the franchise (and the Enterprise) back into a big-budget feature film, which became known without much imagination as Star Trek: The Movie.
Bringing together the entire team of the original series, The film sees James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and the crew of the USS Enterprise reunite in a bid to prevent an unknown and hostile energy source from wreaking havoc in the universe, resulting in will destroy Earth in the process.
While some fans have traditionally made fun of the film’s slowness (sometimes harshly called The still image), it looks like opinions towards the film have softened over the past few years. Although that does not correspond to the thrills of Wrath of Khan or the accessibility of The trip home, it successfully captures the tone and “essence” of the TV series better than any other feature film, delivers a satisfying reunification of the original team, while still continuing to pose (and occasionally respond) to some of the big questions that Star trek has always been known for.
It should be noted that this 4K version offers the original theatrical release of the film and not the generally preferred director’s edition. Originally finalized in standard definition in 2001, Elements were woefully out of date by the time the franchise hit Blu-ray in 2009, let alone 2021 with Ultra HD. However, great news, Paramount has announced that it has given the go-ahead for a full 4K Director’s Edition under the same restoration team of David C. Fein, Mike Matessino and Daren R. Dochterman, who has worked with late director Robert Wise. . The film is expected to have a short exclusivity on the Paramount Plus streaming service before releasing on physical UHD and BD discs later in the year.
Star Trek: The Movie is featured in its original 2.35: 1 aspect ratio, encoded with H.265 compression and finished with Dolby Vision pass, in addition to an HDR-10 base layer.
Following a further push from Paramount Pictures to restore and exploit its important 4K comeback catalog, the studio has finally turned its attention to one of the Crew Gems in their vaults. Due to the age of the film, coupled with the analog origins of its ever-impressive visual effects, all of which were reflected in the previous Blu-ray release of The film, I would bet that this required more care and attention from one of the Star trek feature films – although you won’t see much evidence of it in the final product.
The film boasts a spectacular 4K restoration that reverses the ravages of time, presenting it in a quality that surpasses the original theatrical presentation. The image is crisp and detailed, free from the film artifacts that littered every image in previous presentations, with a glorious color balance and fine-grained structure.
All in all, this is a jaw-dropping achievement that will thrill fans and provide a great foundation for the next director’s edition version of the film. I can’t wait to see how this might improve some of the problematic effects.
The main audio track here is a 24-bit Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix.
Originally released in theaters with a Dolby stereo track, Star Trek: The Movie saw a full 5.1 remix undertaken for their 2001 debut DVD, which was refined to a 7.1. remix for the 2009 Blu-ray version. This 4K version reuses the latter mix, which is more than capable in 2021.
It’s a suitably active mix, with quite a bit of surround activity. The fidelity of some of the sound effects is a bit dated (I suspect a lot of the effects from the original series were recycled), but without betraying the original mix, little could be done to improve that. The use of basses is very frequent and emphasizes the action with a sufficiently punchy activity. Jerry Goldsmith provides a good score, the greatness of which helps raise the production values of the original series.
All in all, a pretty nice mix, which distinguishes between respecting the soundtrack and updating it for the HD generation.
Unfortunately, unlike the US version, Paramount didn’t include a copy of the standard Blu-ray in the Australian version, which means all of the video-based features are completely missing. This is a super disappointing trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
At the very least, however, the 4K disc includes the previous one. audio commentary with Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman, alongside a isolated score which features Jerry Goldsmith’s incredible score matched to the visuals.
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