Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray)
Studio: Paramount Home Video
Rated: See individual titles
Aspect Ratio: See individual titles
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; French, Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; English SDH+
Time: See individual titles
Disc Format: 5 SS/DL BD
Case Style: Slimline keep cases in a cardboard and plastic sleeve.
Theatrical Release Date: See individual titles
Blu-Ray Release Date: September 22, 2009
Since this is a pretty big set, I’m going to break from my usual review format and give brief synopsis of the movies themselves. I believe most of the readership is familiar enough with these movies that they wouldn’t need a lengthy rehash of the plots.
The time had finally come to retire most of the original cast, Kirk (William Shatner), most importantly, and that is truly the motive behind Star Trek: Generations
(1994, 117 minutes, PG). Aboard the newly commissioned Enterprise-B
, Kirk, Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Scotty (James Doohan) are guests of honor on the maiden voyage, but not before a distress beacon comes in and Enterprise
is the closest response. Explosions ensue, and Kirk is killed. We jump ahead 78 years to find Worf (Michael Dorn) being promoted with the rest of the Next Generation
crew in a Holodeck simulation of a historical sailing ship named Enterprise
, of course. Picard (Patrick Stewart) is delivered sad news and his mortality and legacy are now his burden alone. The ship is summoned to an outpost that has been attacked by Romulans and they recover the mysterious Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell) as well as information regarding trilithilium and the possible weaponization of it. Soran has a much bigger plot, one that can only be stopped by Picard and a lost ally, finally putting the future and the past right.
Star Trek: First Contract
(1996, 110 minutes, PG-13) still seems interested in the past, if not generationally, then historically. The Borg return in the 24th
Century and wreak havoc on the Federation. The newly commissioned Enterprise-E
shows up to destroy the Borg cube but not before a drone escapes into the past to alter history. The Enterprise
gives chase and wind up in 2063, on the eve of Zefram Cochrane’s (James Cromwell) first historic warp flight. An alien race is passing by and they just happen to see what the humans have done, and decide they are ready to make first contact. The picture moves along quite well, but the franchise is still too scared to deviate from the formula and really branch out to advance these characters and this story. Everybody does a great job, especially Stewart and Woodard, and first time director Jonathan Frakes knows his stuff, but the sameness that crept into the original cast’s movies is now beginning again in this franchise. The story, while compelling and interesting in a heavily invested fan sense, does nothing much to give us something new and make us hungry for more.
Star Trek: Insurrection
(1998, 102 minutes, PG) tries to dazzle us with some stunning CGI imagery (the space shots of Enterprise
never looked better) but fails to deliver as a story suited for the big screen. The plot deals with a renegade Starfleet admiral trying to work with an alien race to exploit the secrets of a planet that produces eternal youth. Picard and crew intervene but the story never rises above the level of an over produced episode. Frakes seems a little more confidant in the director’s chair and this bleeds over into an almost too lighthearted Riker (Jonathan Frakes), sucking out what little angst there is in the script. This one is a very poor entry into the franchise and certainly misses the touch of previous scripts and stories by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore.
Everything seemed to change for the last picture in the Next Generation
series, Star Trek: Nemesis
(2002, 116 minutes, PG-13). The Romulan senate is wiped out in a vicious attack from an insurgent, Praetor Shinzon (Tom Hardy) from the neighboring planet, Remus. The crew, meanwhile, is celebrating the marriage of Riker and Troi (Marina Sirtis) when they stumble upon a positronic beacon emanating from a nearby planet. Picard, Data (Brent Spiner) and Worf respond to find what turns out to be a “brother” of Data’s, which is basically a dumber prototype of the android. Starfleet dispatches the Enterprise
to Romulus to see what is happening. Once there, Picard meets Shinzon and he discovers he and the human/ Reman baddie share some things in common. Political peace is going to be difficult to achieve when the Praetor has much bigger plans than what he initially discloses. This is probably the best of the four films, restoring some weight to the story and the direction under new Star Trek
director Stuart Baird breaths some new perspectives and a new look into the movie. While the picture reminds me a lot of several other Star Trek
, in particular), it is still an acceptable send off for this crew.
First Contact: ***.5/*****
Note: I am watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment.
The Blu-Ray discs are encoded in the MPEG-4 AVC codec at 1080p with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Needless to say, after the problems with DNR on the Star Trek: The Motion Picture Collection, I was very nervous about this set. However, I found I was pleasantly surprised!
Star Trek: Generations starts us off with an image that is an improvement over the ST: OMPC discs, but still not free of DNR and edge enhancement. While it is nowhere near as pervasive as was on the previous BD set of movies, I still saw incidence of some processing as the image is just a bit too smooth. Thankfully it was never enough to ruin my viewing enjoyment as the image is sharp and clear showing an excellent color palate and delineation between all the hues. The image tends to stray towards warm colors throughout and they are accurately represented. Data was the most interesting one to observe as the makeup applied to Brent Spiner looks natural and lifelike. We are able to make out fine details in his face as well as all of other actors. The scene in the Stellar Cartography room is quite amazing as the light is set just right to see some excellent detail. Sharpness is good throughout, if slightly tweaked, and this varies from scene to scene, but it does not harm what is overall a very nice image. Black levels were excellent showing great detail and subtlety (check out the scene with Troi and Picard when he discusses his family). Edge enhancement, again is present, but it is not obtrusive, and there is a minor amount of print dirt. While I was watching some of the HD bonus materials, you could see what the image may have looked like had it been more heavily processed only showing us what is good about the image in the main feature.
Star Trek: First Contact
maintains all of what was good with Generations
and expands upon it. Since the movie is more in tune with more modern home video demands, we can start to see how great these films can look. DNR and edge enhancement is lessened here, and the extensive color scheme only adds to a great picture. When you go to Insurrection
, it re-introduces some of the DNR and edge enhancement, unfortunately, but itgives us such an amazing color palate, especially in the nebulas, that I found myself pausing the movie to look at these images in greater detail. Both of the images improve upon the dimensionality of the first disc giving us a very nice sense of depth. Black levels seem slightly deeper in these two and the star fields look amazing as The Phoenix
makes its historic first flight in First Contact
breaks away from the other pictures by nearly eliminating the DNR processing and allowing the film grain to return making this the most film-like of the four. Baird changes the aesthetic of the image, muting the colors and blowing out the contrast in the scenes on the desert planet and lighting the picture in such a way to give it a more somber tone. Close-ups look great showing us exceptional detail and clarity on Data and B-4’s faces. Black levels are good, but often times seem to collapse making us lose any detail in them.
First Contact: ***.5/*****
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the PS3 to the Denon 3808CI.
I watched all the movies with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track engaged. Each of them provides an excellent surround field giving the surrounds a workout and planting you right in the middle of the action with sounds seemingly coming above you. I find it unfortunate Paramount did not do 7.1 mixes for these films as the level of activity in all of the channels would have made for an even better surround experience. They exhibit very smooth panning effects as well. LFE’s are very active throughout providing deep, powerful bass to the action scenes, particularly the space battles. Tonality is excellent and they each exhibit a good dynamic range. ADR is evident occasionally, but it does not damage what are some very well done soundtracks.
The musical scores on each disc really come to life here, especially Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Final Contact. The dynamic range is greater in these TrueHD releases, obviously, and it really giving us a more prominent and exciting experience.
First Contact: ****/*****
All four of the movies have the Library Computer (BD Exclusive) option and BD Live: Star Trek I.Q. “The Library Computer is an interactive experience that allows you to access information about people, technology, locations and more at the moment each appears on the film. Switch to Index Mode to scan the entire database and jump directly to points of interest.” This is similar to the Starfleet Access portion of the Original Series discs and provides much more trivia and information for the casual Star Trek viewers. The BD Live feature is a trivia game is where you can “create and share trivia challenges over scenes from the movie.” It allows you to create and post your own trivia challenges and compete with others. You can choose several pre-made questions then it jumps to a video clip and question.
Each film has a brand new commentary track from noted experts and Star Trek
fans, in addition to commentaries from the previous release. The new set contains almost all the extra features from the previous two-disc “director’s editions” or “collector’s edition” of each film, except for the Okuda text commentaries (the new “Library Computer” feature takes their place, which also involves the Okudas).
Star Trek: Generations
Two Commentaries, the first one is new with Director David Carson and Manny Coto and the second, older one is with Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore: both commentaries deal with the plot, themes, and characters, but Braga and Moore’s stays there while Carson and Coto’s goes a little deeper into the technical aspects of the shoot. Both of these were quite enjoyable and worth a listen.
Production is split into three sections: Uniting Two Legends (25:40, SD) has members of the cast and crew talking about the significance of this story and how much fun it was to make it while combining the two crews; Stellar Cartography : Creating the Illusion (9:23, SD) spotlights this extraordinary set which blends the practical with the digital; Strange New Worlds: The Valley of Fire (22:42, SD) has the cast and crew talking about this majestic location; and finally, Scoring Trek (HD, 8:57) is a new piece spotlighting Dennis McCarthy.
Visual Effects has two segments, Inside ILM: Models and Miniatures (9:39, SD) showing us some excellent behind-the-scenes and making-of material including the models and their restoration and use; Crashing the Enterprise (10:44, SD) details the creation of this spectacular scene.
Scene Deconstruction (15:34 total, SD) has three parts that allows you to see how each of these sequences was created with storyboards then on to the CG phase.
The Star Trek Universe is the overall title for a number of smaller documentaries. A Tribute to Matt Jefferies (19:38, SD) tells us about Jefferies, the art director from the original TV show in the 60’s, via interviews with him and other art directors who he has influenced. The Enterprise Lineage (SD, 12:49) details the history of the name “Enterprise” in various Earth-locked and starships bearing the name (making me wonder about the necessity of this in light of what is on the bonus disc); Captain Picard’s Family Album (SD, 7:05) has the art coordinator showing us the Picard Family Album detailing his lineage. Creating 24th Century Weapons (SD, 13:24) introduces us to the armorer. Next Generation Designer Flashback: Andrew Probert (HD, 5:04) is a retrospective of Probert, a production designer for ST:TNG and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Stellar Cartography on Earth (HD, 7:39) has cutie-pie astronomer Amy Mainzer and others talking about how we do something similar on Earth now like what Data and Picard did in the movie. Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond Part 1 (HD, 10:21) is a spotlight on Spiner and his character. Trek Roundtable: Generations (HD, 12:23) is a roundtable discussion with some of the moderators and contributors to the various fan sites moderated by Star Trek writer Larry Nemecek. They discuss the story from a fan’s perspective along with the historical period the film was shot. Finally, picking up where the last BD set started, are the Starfleet Academy SciSec Briefs, this one being 007: Trilithium (HD, 3:06)
Four Deleted Scenes (SD, 33:10) start with introductions by Rick Berman explaining why they were cut and what was the original intent to each one. Shatner, Doohan, Koenig and others also contribute and I was glad to get some context and to why these scenes were excised. Unfortunately, the footage is just the raw footage with incomplete shots. The scenes are “Orbital Skydiving”, “Walking the Plank”, “Christmas with the Picard’s”, and an alternate ending.
Archives features Storyboards (Enterprise B, Worf’s Promotion and Two Captains), Production Gallery has pictures from the movie and shoot.
Finally there is the Theatrical and Teaser Trailers (HD).
Star Trek: First Contact
Three Commentaries, the first one is new with Damon Lindelof and Anthony Pascale, and the other, older ones have one with Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore and another with Jonathan Frakes: Lindelof and Pascale are the most humorous and slightly annoying, and the other two cover the shoot, story, etc. Frakes talks about specifics to the shoot from a director’s point of view, but he’s a little terse and nervous. Braga and Moore’s is similar to the previous one and the best of the three.
Production is again the overriding title for the smaller making-of docs, starting with Making First Contact (20:19, SD) which is a routine piece with interviews and behind-the-scenes material. The Art of First Contact (16:34, SD) focuses on all of the artwork, pre-production through post, and models that are eventually used in the movie. The Story (15:29, SD) is pretty self-explanatory. The Missile Silo (14:04, SD) highlights the difficulty in finding an actual one and being able to film in it. The Deflector Dish (10:30, SD) breaks down this sequence and how it was done. Finally, From “A” to “E” (6:38, SD) has the production crew and cast talking about the ease of the shoot as well as the sets and the new Enterprise.
There are Three Scene Deconstructions showing the path from storyboard to final film: Borg Queen Assembly (11:10), Escape Pod Launch (4:58) and Borg Queen Demise (3:12).
The Star Trek Universe is another overriding heading to a bunch of smaller pieces. Jerry Goldsmith: A Tribute (19:46, SD) spotlights this legendary composer and his work in this film; The Legacy of Zefram Cochrane (12:19, SD) has Cromwell and others talking about the character and the role; First Contact: The Possibilities (19:39, SD) examines the question if we are alone in the universe; ILM: The Next Generation (12:17, HD) has ILM staffers, including John Knoll, talking about the CG in this movie and in general; Greetings from the International Space Station (8:31, HD) features the denizens of the Space Station and give us a tour of the station; Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond, Part 2 (HD, 7:30) and Trek Roundtable: First Contact (HD, 12:51) are continuations from the first disc; Finally, there is the next part of the Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 008: Temporal Vortex (3:01, HD).
Next up is The Borg Collective (all in SD), a series of three pieces discussing the Borg as villains in the TV series, Picard’s connection to them, the character of the Queen and how that translates to the movie. The three parts are Unimatrix One (14:15), The Queen (8:31) and Design Matrix (18:10).
Archives features Storyboards (1930’s Nightclub, Hull Battle, Hull Battle alternate shots, Worf vs. the Borg alternate shots), Production Gallery has pictures from the movie and shoot.
Finally there is the Theatrical and Teaser Trailers (HD).
Star Trek: Insurrection:
Commentary by Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis: Frakes maintains his flippant and lighthearted approach as does Sirtis. The two mainly repeat what we’re seeing on the screen with only minor amounts of useful information.
Production: another multi-part heading featuring smaller parts inside. It Takes a Village (SD, 16:41) has the cast and crew discussing the bigger scope of this production and how they did it. This goes to show how the script took a back seat to how big a production they could pull off. Location, Location, Location (SD, 19:56) shows us the various panoramic locations in Thousand Oaks and Mammoth. The Art of Insurrection (SD, 14:53) shows us some of the production art, the miniatures and CG. Anatomy of a Stunt (SD, 6:33) details the stunt work. The Story (SD, 17:19) has screenwriter Michael Piller trying to justify the weak script and somewhat explaining how much the studio interfered in the final product, and the cast, including Frakes as director, does the same thing in Making Star Trek: Insurrection (SD, 25:07). Director’s Notebook (SD, 18:56) gives Frakes a chance to describe his work on the picture and the pampering the director gets sometimes.
The Star Trek Universe: This section kicks off with two segments on make-up designer Michael Westmore, entitled Westmore’s Aliens (SD,17:43) and Westmore’s Legacy (HD, 12:45), these docs detail Westmore’s work on this film and the various TV shows as well. Star Trek’s Beautiful Alien Women (SD, 12:40) talk about the babes in the franchise then Marina Sirtis: The Counselor is In (HD, 8:26) highlights Sirtis and Troi. Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond, Part 3 (HD, 8:17) and Trek Roundtable: Insurrection (HD, 10:50) are continuations from the first two discs; finally, there is the next part of the Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 009: The Origins of the Ba’ku and Son’a Conflict (3:00, HD).
Creating the Illusion (all in SD) has three docs on the making of three scenes: “Shuttle Chase” (9:36), “Drones” (4:43) and “Duck Blind” (4:38). Peter Lauritson walks us through the art and designs, the computer rendering, the storyboards and through to the final footage.
There are eight Deleted (or extended, in some cases) Scenes (SD, 12:56 total): “Ru’afo’s Facelift”, “Working Lunch”, “Flirting”, “The Kiss”, “Status: Precarious”, “Disabling the Injector”, “Alternate Ending”. Lauritson again introduces the semi-completed scenes, but there’s explanation to some of the scenes as to why the scenes were changed or cut.
Archives has storyboards for “Secondary Protocols” and a photo gallery, and the Advertising selection has the Teaser and the Theatrical Trailers and an Original Promotional Featurette (5:02), which is the common EPK.
Star Trek: Nemesis
Three commentaries: a new one with Michael and Denise Okuda, and two legacy commentaries the first with Stuart Baird and the last by Rick Berman: Baird and Berman both really only comment on what is going on on-screen, often simply reiterating what we’re seeing. They give us a few notes on how and why things were shot a certain way, and some notes on the story, but overall, they’re quite dull. The Okuda’s approach of uber-fans who are lucky enough to work on the series give us some great backgrounds and stories about the shoot as well as how all of this fits in to the greater Star Trek universe.
Production: again, we have several pieces falling under this heading. Nemesis: Revisited (SD, 25:45) has the cast, writer John Logan and others discussing this bittersweet project and how much the cast is a family; New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on Directing Nemesis (SD, 8:42) is a spotlight on the director, and Storyboarding the Action (SD, 3:37), Red Alert! Shooting the Action of Nemesis (SD, 10:08), Build and Rebuild (SD, 7:44), Four Wheeling in the Final Frontier (SD, 10:14) and Screen Test: Shinzon (SD, 6:29) highlight these various aspects of the production.
The Star Trek Universe contains A Star Trek Family’s Final Journey (SD, 16:17) is a very similar piece to the Nemesis: Revisited piece above; A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier (SD, 10:17) has Baird and others talking about the sets and the look of the picture as well as some storyboarding; The Enterprise-E (SD, 11:37) allows Howard Zimmerman to talk about the ship and other vehicles and sets; Reunion with the Rikers (HD, 10:47) is a funny new piece where Frakes and Sirtis pitch a new show and discuss the fame the show generates; Today’s Tech, Tomorrow’s Data (HD, 4:23) talks to some professors to talk about how we are moving towards more robotics in our daily lives; Robot Hall of Fame (HD, 4:34) is a piece from the RoboBusiness Conference where Data was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame. Seriously geeky or legit? I just don’t know… Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond, Part 4 (HD, 9:18) and Trek Roundtable: Nemesis (HD, 10:26) are continuations from the first three discs; finally, there is the final part of the Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 010: Thalaron Radiation (2:27, HD).
The Romulan Empire is comprised of five parts (all in SD): Romulan Lore (11:51), Shinzon & the Viceroy (10:00), Romulan Design (9:05), The Romulan Senate (8:57) and The Scimitar (13:14). Here, we are given some history on the Romulans and their place in the Star Trek universe. The pieces go on to spotlight the designs and costuming of the Romulans as well as The Scimitar and Shinzon and how he continues the proud lineage of Star Trek villains.
13 Deleted Scenes (SD, 27:13) with introductions by Rick Berman, Stuart Baird and Patrick Stewart, explains why the movie was cut down to its current run time. The scenes, while not necessary, could have turned this into a more personal picture giving us time to think more about these characters and their world and the lives they will lead when the credits rolled. We also find out the final fate of a cat named Spot!
An Archives section features Storyboards, an image gallery of Production photos and Props, and the bonus material on this disc concludes with the Teaser and Theatrical Trailers.
Bonus Disc - Star Trek: Evolutions:
This fifth disc is split up into seven smaller segments, all in HD. The Evolution of the Enterprise (14:23)
details the evolution of the ship from the Enterprise
TV show through the various lettered versions of the ship. Villains of Star Trek (14:04)
has Nicholas Meyer, Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman discussing villains in general and the Star Trek
ones in particular. I Love Star Trek (4:34)
has Orci and other Star Trek
producers and writers discussing what it is about the franchise that makes them fans and how it’s influenced their lives. Living in Las Vegas, I got a bit spoiled having so much Star Trek
in my backyard (or, at least, at the Las Vegas Hilton) where Star Trek
: The Experience resided for several years, and Farewell to Star Trek: The Experience (28:06)
kind of sums up the attraction via interviews with the cast members and others. Klingon Encounter (3:29)
shows us some details to the Star Trek
: The Experience before it closed down, as does Borg Invasion 4D (5:12)
. Charting the Final Frontier
is an interactive GPS-like map of the Star Trek
universe showing where the movies events transpired in relation to one another. You can then choose which movie button you want to take you to a video with more information on that locale and that story. Overall, this whole disc is a letdown compared to the previous movie collection’s “Captain’s Summit” disc. Most of these items would have been better suited to Easter Eggs.
Bonus Material: *****/*****
While Paramount gives the video a little more love, it’s still just not as good as it could and should be. The audio is excellent, however, distracting us from the image, and you really can’t ask for more and better extras we have here.