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Robert Harris

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Allow me to be absolutely clear about something.

I am not any sort of expert on the Star Trek films.

I am not a fan, cannot come up with a requisite line of dialogue (or Boltie) as a need arises.

I am not able to tell you if lines of dialogue, effects, or other attributes might be missing.

I can only relate what I'm seeing in a general sense.

As far as back history, I may be better than most.

The series of films began life as a video game, which became a TV series running at least two seasons, followed by various animated TV series through the decades.

I've always been of the opinion that the films had a certain "low-rent" look to them.

Effects, especially, seemed to lag behind the highest end norm. Not terribly so, but in some rather obvious ways. Compare the first film, created in 1979 to another medium budget sci-fi epic released two years earlier that spawned its own series of spin-offs, and the effects appear more "homespun."

I'm not suggesting that they're akin to those found in the Flash Gordon serials, in which tiny models supported by strings are pulled across in front of the camera, with sparklers attached to what may appear akin to be flying dildos.

Certainty not.

They just always seemed to lag a bit behind state of the art.

I'll begin this review with the packaging, which is pretty much worthless in one important respect.

The physical packaging is fine. The films arrived in a blu-ray sized heavy paper box containing two plastic cases, each holding the requisite discs. The 4k is standard black, and contains seven discs, half of which were disconnected, and loose, but no matter.

The Blu-rays are treated in a similar manner, albeit with one extra disc - a bonus disc attributed to the Director's Edition of the first film, for a total of 15 discs in the set. Is that Blu-ray bonus disc the same extra disc available in the separate new 4k release of the first film, along with the Director's Edition? No idea.

The original film in its Director's Edition receives its own disc, as does the original theatrical cut. For those who may not be aware, this was a problem production with a locked release date. I had a long discussion with Mr. Wise about what was occurring at Telluride in 1979, and he was not amused, but still his good-natured self. Hence the need for a reconstruction of the original filmmaker's intent in 2001.

The second film, Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan (1982) has both cuts on a single disc. Star Trek III, The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home (1986) - I actually like this film - Star Trek V, The Final Frontier (1989) , and finally Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country (1991), which also has two cuts on the single disc, comprise the original set.

The cover art is fine. Basic illustrations of the five lead characters.

It's the back cover which seems to have been designed by an automaton or AI creature - possibly that cute little Sony dog. It's useless.

For whatever reason, some brain at the studio decided that since there were six films in the set, that everything about those films HAD to fit on the back cover. That's an area 4 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches. Not a great deal of real estate.

But someone was told it had to fit.

So there's an obvious, if perverse answer to the problem.

Make everything smaller.

All of the requisite information is there.

Titles, cast, release date, MPA ratings in the largest type imaginable - (Actually MPA rating are no longer necessary on home video releases) -all of the boiler plate for the crew, information about sound track albums...

and below all that, in an area about 1/4 of an inch by 4 3/4 is all of the information about special features, which is totally
unreadable.

I'm not suggesting that the typography is small.

Negative. It's SO small that the individual letters are broken up into half-tone dots. I attempted to figure out what the special features were with the use of a ten power loupe, and failed. I can't imagine why the studio didn't simply include a folded printed sheet along with the set delineating that information.

That idiocy aside, the films should be a pleasure to view, especially for fans.

As far as I can tell, they seem to be derived from OCNs, which obviously also contain all of the effects dupes. Main title sequences, sub-titles, etc are razor sharp and rock steady.

I cannot believe that anyone, with the possible exception of those who pray at the sacred Star Trek whatever, and may take exception to possible errors, will not be thrilled.

Again, as to specifics, color, densities, black levels, basic grain structure all looks pleasant. I'll make the point again. I don't know these films well enough to be able to gauge precisely what I'm seeing, but can relate that (as an outsider) they look and sound just fine.

Image – 5 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5 (all Dolby TrueHD 7.1, with the exception of the Director's Edition, which is Dolby Atmos)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Makes use of and works well in 4k - 3.75

Upgrade from Blu-rays - Yes, if you're a fan

Upgrade from earlier 4k -

Here's the rub.

In February of this year, Paramount released Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection in 4k format.

That set was inclusive of the first four films, mit out the Director's Edition of the first, but with both cuts of the
second.

That's a seven month spread between an incomplete set, and a complete set of the original films. The only phrase that comes to mind is "disingenuous to fans and collectors."

So, for those who popped for the earlier set, and desire to have the complete series, you can purchase parts V and VI for $20 each, plus you can attain the new 3-disc set of the first film in both its Theatrical as well as Director's Edition versions, along with a third disc of incomparable extras, for only $95. This comes with extra stuff that will bring to mind the old Warner Bros. boxes of junk.

What this "seems" to tell me, is that those who purchased the 4-film set back in February, can now either purchase the new collection for $120, and gift their old set, or purchase the two missing films for $40, plus the Director's Edition for $95, for a total of $135, and still possibly not get what are described as the third disc of "Legacy extras."

Is there something here that I'm not understanding?

Recommended (for mere humans)

Very Highly Recommended (for fans)

RAH
 
Last edited:

compson

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They are offering a stand-alone 4K of the director’s edition of the first movie with a list price of $31. It does not include the Special Longer Version created for television in 1983, which is included in the $95 set, or, presumably, the bumper stickers.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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Dennis Nicholls

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Effects, especially, seemed to lag behind the highest end norm. Not terribly so, but in some rather obvious ways. Compare the first film, created in 1979 to another medium budget sci-fi epic released two years earlier that spawned its own series of spin-offs, and the effects appear more "homespun."

...

The original film in its Director's Edition receives its own disc, as does the original theatrical cut. For those who may not be aware, this was a problem production with a locked release date. I had a long discussion with Mr. Wise about what was occurring at Telluride in 1979, and he was not amused, but still his good-natured self. Hence the need for a reconstruction of the original filmmaker's intent in 2001.
Did Wise talk about his attitude towards special effects? His earlier film The Day The Earth Stood Still is a classic even with homespun special effects. Perhaps he thought the story telling was more important.
 

Robert Harris

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Did Wise talk about his attitude towards special effects? His earlier film The Day The Earth Stood Still is a classic even with homespun special effects. Perhaps he thought the story telling was more important.
As I recall, all he noted was that they were late. We spent more time on The Haunting.
 

B-ROLL

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Allow me to be absolutely clear about something.

I am not any sort of expert on the Star Trek films.

I am not a fan, cannot come up with a requisite line of dialogue (or Boltie) as a need arises.

I am not able to tell you if lines of dialogue, effects, or other attributes might be missing.

I can only relate what I'm seeing in a general sense.

As far as back history, I may be better than most.

The series of films began life as a video game, which became a TV series running at least two seasons, followed by various animated TV series through the decades.

I've always been of the opinion that the films had a certain "low-rent" look to them.

Effects, especially, seemed to lag behind the highest end norm. Not terribly so, but in some rather obvious ways. Compare the first film, created in 1979 to another medium budget sci-fi epic released two years earlier that spawned its own series of spin-offs, and the effects appear more "homespun."
Regarding the bolded part ... I believe this would mostly be true of the"Kelvin" timeline
1661625579086.png
(AKA the JJ[Abrams]verse which has been out on 4k since Forever- or about 7 years whichever comes first They were created using completely digital technology.

1661627366705.png


The movies under discussion here were all shot on an ancient form of media photochemically on film. Some of the films have used digital technology. But the early films were mostly in-camera effects shot during principal or post production.

This brings me to the italicized portion. The company created by the Young Mr. Lucas: Industrial Light and Magic put in a bid to do the special effects for the Wise directed film but Paramount took the lowest bidder. (I would name them if I were Abel to - but for legal reasons -can't.) They had done commercials. But this was more than 60 seconds and they could not complete the effects in time for an ill-chosen release date of December 7 (A date that will live in Infamy). Eventually ILM completed many of the effects and did many of the effects for the remaining films. To some degree the "homespun" aspect of the effects was some of the films' charm.

There is an interesting special feature on a home video release for Episode 2 (actually the fifth FILM of the series released - In Space ... no one can do Math(s)) of the film series you mentioned as a Comparative --where an older Mr, Lucas tries to make CGI version of a well-known character look more like a puppet.

Anyhoo your efforts in reviewing these releases and all others are greatly greatly appreciated !
1661627551360.png


🖖
 
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jayembee

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Here's the rub.

In February of this year, Paramount released Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection in 4k format.

That set was inclusive of the first four films, mit out the Director's Edition of the first, but with both cuts of the
second.

That's a seven month spread between an incomplete set, and a complete set of the original films. The only phrase that comes to mind is "disingenuous to fans and collectors."

So, for those who popped for the earlier set, and desire to have the complete series, you can purchase parts V and VI for $20 each, plus you can attain the new 3-disc set of the first film in both its Theatrical as well as Director's Edition versions, along with a third disc of incomparable extras, for only $95. This comes with extra stuff that will bring to mind the old Warner Bros. boxes of junk.

What this "seems" to tell me, is that those who purchased the 4-film set back in February, can now either purchase the new collection for $120, and gift their old set, or purchase the two missing films for $40, plus the Director's Edition for $95, for a total of $135, and still possibly not get what are described as the third disc of "Legacy extras."

Is there something here that I'm not understanding?

This is pretty much why I decided to pass on the earlier set. I suspicioned that Paramount was going to pull this kind of thing. The question now is whether to get this thing now, or wait for the inevitable Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook set.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I might end up only adding VI to my set of first 4, if they'll actually upgrade the director's edition extra of the iTunes digital to 4K, which is not that likely of course -- if not, then I guess I'll probably also eventually add the standalone TMP 4K w/ director's edition.

Not sure I'll bother w/ V at all -- I already have the iTunes digital, which will presumably be upgraded to 4K (like the rest), and that's probably plenty good enough for me...

_Man_
 

B-ROLL

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I might end up only adding VI to my set of first 4, if they'll actually upgrade the director's edition extra of the iTunes digital to 4K, which is not that likely of course -- if not, then I guess I'll probably also eventually add the standalone TMP 4K w/ director's edition.

Not sure I'll bother w/ V at all -- I already have the iTunes digital, which will presumably be upgraded to 4K (like the rest), and that's probably plenty good enough for me...

_Man_
It's really too bad the Director of V is not around to have his Directors Cut of V put out ;) ...
 

Josh Steinberg

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I don’t think these films have been over processed to the degree that some other recent Paramount titles have, but if you’re extraordinarily familiar with them, you can see some of the signs of their work there.

Star Trek III was the one that really stood out to me - in 35mm projection and on previous home releases, the characteristics of the 35mm film helped hide the seams in the effects work. That was obviously be design, and a tried and true trick used with special effects since the beginning of effects on film. On this new version, it’s so clean and clear that it’s blatantly obvious how setbound the Genesis planet is. You can see exactly what’s a matte, what’s foam on a set, and that the aliens are more clearly humans wearing makeup. In removing the characteristics of film from the image, they removed how the medium of film itself was part of the design of the illusions.

On the other hand, the previous Blu-ray was so heavily DNRd that it’s a massive improvement by default. But I think Star Trek II (which was remastered a few years earlier under different management) fares the best of the bunch - it strikes a better balance of cleaning up the imagery to modern standards while still maintaining the illusions the filmmakers set out to create.
 

Lord Dalek

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Nope. Douglas Trumbull was brought in to produce the effects who then enlisted John Dykstra, who was no longer with ILM and had formed Apogee at that point.
Was that before or after George repossessed all the equipment Dykstra "borrowed" to form Apogee?
 

Nelson Au

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Interesting Robert to read a review from someone whose not a fan or too familiar with the franchise. My only quibble is I think Star Trek The Motion Picture is the “A” list film of the group where they really made an effort and spent the money and Star Trek II and III have that low rent feel to them, but they made the effort well. But it is what it is. :)
 

Robert Harris

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I don’t think these films have been over processed to the degree that some other recent Paramount titles have, but if you’re extraordinarily familiar with them, you can see some of the signs of their work there.

Star Trek III was the one that really stood out to me - in 35mm projection and on previous home releases, the characteristics of the 35mm film helped hide the seams in the effects work. That was obviously be design, and a tried and true trick used with special effects since the beginning of effects on film. On this new version, it’s so clean and clear that it’s blatantly obvious how setbound the Genesis planet is. You can see exactly what’s a matte, what’s foam on a set, and that the aliens are more clearly humans wearing makeup. In removing the characteristics of film from the image, they removed how the medium of film itself was part of the design of the illusions.

On the other hand, the previous Blu-ray was so heavily DNRd that it’s a massive improvement by default. But I think Star Trek II (which was remastered a few years earlier under different management) fares the best of the bunch - it strikes a better balance of cleaning up the imagery to modern standards while still maintaining the illusions the filmmakers set out to create.
It’s easier just to make it look like film, and use those abiities as well as some digital tools, where necessary, to create a proper cohesive project.
 

Walter P. Thatcher

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I'm not sure where I'd wind up on the Trekker/Trekkie continuum. The Original Series is always going to be the standard bearer for me. The Next Generation looks a bit fancy schmancy in comparison, but it still is limited in effects, etc. However, these are charms baked into these series. If these series were redone with unlimited budgets for effects, and only top notch Royal Shakespearean actors playing the parts (Patrick Stewart not included), it would lose all of the intangibles that made these series comfort food for me.

I have always found The Motion Picture cold and lacking those intangibles. Despite the best intentions that have been attributed to Director Wise in helping bring this movie to completion, I never felt that he was tuned in to the chemistry of what made the original series. Did he even see it? I get that his movie, his version of Star Trek, was trying to be intelligent and serious-- the anti-Star Wars-- but that's where I think it was the wrong approach. Much of the series at the top of its game was a buddy-buddy-buddy-buddy (including Scotty) adventure comedy, a social satire, and at the very least, a live-action cartoon dramedy. The effects didn't really matter to me, other than they looked okay. It was following the main characters, getting to know them, and rooting for them to succeed in their adventures. This is why the first movie, which was gestating for a very long time with many writers, and with Roddenberry's tendencies for pretension, has always been a slog for me. Truckloads of noble intentions still won't make me care for either of the movie's main characters, Decker and Ilya, even if the best effects surrounded them. Most of the movie seems more like a cast reunion special with too many ideas, and not enough on the chemistry that made the original series what it is in spite of cheap sets. Because The Motion Picture wants to be at least as technically proficient as Star Wars but not be Star Wars, it didn't put enough into wanting to be Star Trek.

From Star Trek II through Star Trek IV, the intangibles from the original series were rediscovered, and thus made these movies entertaining. Nicholas Meyer actually watched the TV series! However, I have always felt that V and VI were like postscripts to I-IV. Because Spock got to direct IV, and make it a solid entry in the series, V was fated to be a self-indulgent concilliation to Kirk, who was given the drek-tor's chair, almost like you have to give twin children the same gift, without preferring one over the other. As a result of Paramount having to do this, whatever V was originally supposed to be (the proposed Sean Connery version), the movie came out like a ready-made MST3K episode. I can almost imagine that the campfire scene complete with a round of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" (itself a mockery or private joke that made no sense) was to be just like the beans afflicted one in "Blazing Saddles" until someone put their foot down. Star Trek V looks every bit like a made-for-cable show of the 1980s, and the intangibles of the original series largely forgotten, except for the choice bits from other parts squeezed into the Captain's. By the time Star Trek VI came out, I gave up expecting super-duper effects, as this entry looked as up-to-date as a Universal mystery-of-the-week TV movie, but had a decent story with the original series intangibles.

As to the newest 4K release, I took the bait back when the 4-movie set was first offered. I anticipated that the studio would re-issuing the same stuff over with extra junk just to get the one disc I want. I would like to see the director's cut of ST:TMP if only just to see it because I doubt that my opinion of it will change; the movie will still insist that I care about the leaden leads and not to the original characters that made me want to follow them to the big screen. I can live without Star Trek V, even though it is very unintentionally funny at the very same time it is very embarrassingly painful to watch. It gets sad after repeat viewings to never unsee the hair pieces, the Grecian formula, and the girdles. Star Trek VI to me is a good TV movie with the original series folks, certainly miles better than V, but I just don't see how it would look better in 4K than the Blu-ray I already own given the TV movie quality sets, effects, etc.

Please forgive my ranting as I have a love/hate relationship with the whole franchise. Don't get me started with the reboot movies!
 

Robert Harris

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I'm not sure where I'd wind up on the Trekker/Trekkie continuum. The Original Series is always going to be the standard bearer for me. The Next Generation looks a bit fancy schmancy in comparison, but it still is limited in effects, etc. However, these are charms baked into these series. If these series were redone with unlimited budgets for effects, and only top notch Royal Shakespearean actors playing the parts (Patrick Stewart not included), it would lose all of the intangibles that made these series comfort food for me.

I have always found The Motion Picture cold and lacking those intangibles. Despite the best intentions that have been attributed to Director Wise in helping bring this movie to completion, I never felt that he was tuned in to the chemistry of what made the original series. Did he even see it? I get that his movie, his version of Star Trek, was trying to be intelligent and serious-- the anti-Star Wars-- but that's where I think it was the wrong approach. Much of the series at the top of its game was a buddy-buddy-buddy-buddy (including Scotty) adventure comedy, a social satire, and at the very least, a live-action cartoon dramedy. The effects didn't really matter to me, other than they looked okay. It was following the main characters, getting to know them, and rooting for them to succeed in their adventures. This is why the first movie, which was gestating for a very long time with many writers, and with Roddenberry's tendencies for pretension, has always been a slog for me. Truckloads of noble intentions still won't make me care for either of the movie's main characters, Decker and Ilya, even if the best effects surrounded them. Most of the movie seems more like a cast reunion special with too many ideas, and not enough on the chemistry that made the original series what it is in spite of cheap sets. Because The Motion Picture wants to be at least as technically proficient as Star Wars but not be Star Wars, it didn't put enough into wanting to be Star Trek.

From Star Trek II through Star Trek IV, the intangibles from the original series were rediscovered, and thus made these movies entertaining. Nicholas Meyer actually watched the TV series! However, I have always felt that V and VI were like postscripts to I-IV. Because Spock got to direct IV, and make it a solid entry in the series, V was fated to be a self-indulgent concilliation to Kirk, who was given the drek-tor's chair, almost like you have to give twin children the same gift, without preferring one over the other. As a result of Paramount having to do this, whatever V was originally supposed to be (the proposed Sean Connery version), the movie came out like a ready-made MST3K episode. I can almost imagine that the campfire scene complete with a round of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" (itself a mockery or private joke that made no sense) was to be just like the beans afflicted one in "Blazing Saddles" until someone put their foot down. Star Trek V looks every bit like a made-for-cable show of the 1980s, and the intangibles of the original series largely forgotten, except for the choice bits from other parts squeezed into the Captain's. By the time Star Trek VI came out, I gave up expecting super-duper effects, as this entry looked as up-to-date as a Universal mystery-of-the-week TV movie, but had a decent story with the original series intangibles.

As to the newest 4K release, I took the bait back when the 4-movie set was first offered. I anticipated that the studio would re-issuing the same stuff over with extra junk just to get the one disc I want. I would like to see the director's cut of ST:TMP if only just to see it because I doubt that my opinion of it will change; the movie will still insist that I care about the leaden leads and not to the original characters that made me want to follow them to the big screen. I can live without Star Trek V, even though it is very unintentionally funny at the very same time it is very embarrassingly painful to watch. It gets sad after repeat viewings to never unsee the hair pieces, the Grecian formula, and the girdles. Star Trek VI to me is a good TV movie with the original series folks, certainly miles better than V, but I just don't see how it would look better in 4K than the Blu-ray I already own given the TV movie quality sets, effects, etc.

Please forgive my ranting as I have a love/hate relationship with the whole franchise. Don't get me started with the reboot movies!
Beautifully considered. Welcome to HTF!
 

Osato

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Thanks Robert!

I have 5, 6 and the TMP limited box set on order. Can’t wait. I previously purchased the 1-4 set as well.

I also Would’ve liked Paramount to make another set with the 3 new releases.
 

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