HTF REVIEW: "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" Collector's Edition (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein

    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    Special Collector's Edition

    Studio: Paramount
    Year: 1986
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 118 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English

    How on Earth can they save the future?

    Ask anyone that has ever had the slightest interest
    in Star Trek as to what their favorite of all the
    films are and most likely they'll answer, "The
    one with the whales
    ." Star Trek IV: The
    Voyage Home
    is considered to be one of the best
    (and the last) of the "golden age" of Star Trek films.
    This lighthearted venture brought the 23rd century
    to the 20th century and in the process managed to
    make Star Trek fans out of those that never previously
    saw a single show or film. The film was so successful
    that it shattered all previous Star Trek box-office
    records, raking in a whopping $109 million domestically.

    It's no wonder that the film had such broad appeal
    to both fans and newbies alike. Star Trek IV
    revisits one of the favorite themes of the original
    TV series --time travel-- bringing the 23rd century
    crew of the Enterprise to the familiarities of 20th
    century San Francisco where they just let themselves
    loose on our "primitive and paranoid" culture. Filled
    with terrific humor and sharp one-liners, you can't
    help but enjoy how the characters play off of each
    other in such a comfortable manner that would be
    expected from many long years of working together.


    Beginning where Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
    left off, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and his
    crew are called back to Earth to face court marshal
    after disobeying orders that led them to stealing
    and destroying the Enterprise. Spock (Leonard Nimoy),
    still coming to terms with his resurrection decides
    to accompany the crew back to Earth, offering his
    services as a witness that may help save the crew
    from disgrace.


    Now traveling to Earth aboard the hijacked Klingon
    Bird-of-Prey, the crew receives a Mayday message
    from Starfleet that Earth is under attack from a
    mysterious probe that wreaking havoc on the
    planet's climate. The probe is also scanning the
    seas while sending out strange communication.
    When Kirk and crew intercept the probe's strange
    signals, they match it to the songs of humpback
    whales, a now extinct species of ocean-dwelling life.
    The crew decide that in order to save the 23rd
    century, they must travel back to 20th century Earth,
    capture a humpback whale and then return home.


    Landing in 1986 San Francisco, the laughs begin as
    the crew suddenly find themselves as fish-out-of-water,
    as they attempt to deal with such matters as "exact
    change," "colorful metaphors" and "nuclear wessles."
    It's a comic romp funny enough for trekkies and
    non-trekkies alike.

    How is the transfer?

    Overall, I would rate this transfer as being very
    good, but it does comes across as being a mixed bag
    of sorts. The opening shots on Vulcan suffer from
    flesh tones looking a bit too orange. All the
    scenes aboard the Klingon Bird-of-Prey seem to
    look a little soft and hazy, losing a bit of sharpness
    and detail. It's not until we get to 1986 San
    Francisco that the transfer shows improved sharpness
    and overall color saturation. There are a few bits
    of film dirt and blemish scattered throughout, but
    for the most part the print is in excellent condition.
    I suppose the worst that can be said about this
    transfer is that it looks a little dated, but
    Paramount seems to have done a decent job here.


    The DVD sports a pleasing 5.1 Dolby digital mix.
    Dialogue is well pronounced and firmly placed in
    the center channel with excellent stereo separation
    across the fronts. The soundtrack is fairly robust
    with excellent dynamic range. The rears are not as
    active as I would have hoped, mostly supporting
    Leonard Rosenman's score as well as many of the
    film's effect noises such as the hums of the ship's
    engines in the rear channels. LFE response is also
    not as strong as I would have preffered, though there
    is some nice deep bass support given to any scene
    involving the menacing probe. All in all, I would
    rate this sonic experience as being just above average.

    Special Features


    Spread across 2-discs, this brand-new Special
    Collector's Edition
    seems to be a cut above all
    the previous Star Trek Special Editions that have
    come before it. I hate to make this sort of
    comparing, but the first thing that will grab your
    attention is the stylish menu design that can only
    remind you of some of the stuff that Van Ling has
    done on previous Fox releases. It all begins with
    a flyover across the Golden Gate Bridge to Starfleet
    Headquarters where we are taken into the main control
    room where the sounds of various "red alert" messages
    are heard across the entire soundstage. The three
    overhead screens give us various menu choices. As
    you make each menu selection, the angle of the room
    suddenly changes.

    Disc One contains the feature film with your
    choice of a 5.1 surround or standard English Dolby
    surround soundtrack.


    One of the first things you might want to do here
    during your initial viewing is to go into the
    commentaries area and turn on the Text
    provided by Michael and Denise Okuda,
    co-authors of "The Encyclopedia of Star Trek." Those
    of you who have purchased prior Star Trek CE DVDs
    are certainly familiar with their text-based factoids.
    It's actually scary to see the amount of little-known
    material that is presented here, from how many of
    the ILM Special Effects were done to how some of
    the storylines and filming locales are similar to
    those from original Star Trek series. I was most
    interested in learning about the radio controlled
    whale models that were powered by motor jets, and
    despite the fact that the humpback whale population
    seems to be recovering, some countries are looking
    to repeal the ban on hunting them.

    Also a joyous first here is the audio commentary
    by William Shatner and director Leonard Nimoy.
    Nimoy begins by stating that after all the deaths and
    heart-aches associated with the prior film storylines,
    he wanted to do something more light-hearted and fun.
    Shatner was all for a change of pace, but not too
    initially thrilled with the idea of doing a time
    travel film. Both admit that Paramount never set
    out to make Star Trek IV part of a trilogy
    (the sets of Star Trek III were sold or burned after
    their initial use), but things just happened to fall
    in place as they did. Interestingly, Shatner and
    Nimoy talk about the importance of the actors carrying
    the responsibility of keeping the integrity of the
    series alive -- especially with the ever-revolving
    door of writers and directors who come in and out
    of the series. As a matter of fact, we learn how
    several writers (Meerson, Krikes, Bennett and Meyer)
    contributed to different stages of this film and how
    all those stages fitted together so perfectly. Nimoy
    also talks about some of the budget restrictions
    he had to deal with -- especially when it came to
    film effects. Both Nimoy and Shatner are a pleasure
    to listen to for the fact that these are two friends
    are enjoying each other's company and the work that
    they have done together for so many years.


    Let's take a look at Disc Two that contains
    the wealth of supplemental material....

    Once again we are treated to a nicely animated
    menu sequence that brings us across the Golden Gate
    Bridge and down into the waters below where the
    Klingon Bird-of-Prey resides. As you make each
    menu choice, you are submerged or risen to menus
    that reside below the water's surface or way above
    upon the red arches of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Let's begin with The Star Trek Universe....


    Time Travel: The Art of the Possible poses
    a question to three prominent Quantum Physicists:
    Is Time Travel Possible?. Nick Herbert, Jack
    Sarafatti and Fred Alan Wolf give their own individual
    theories filled with diagrams and explanations of
    black holes, stargates and wormholes. Speed looks to
    be the essential tool in time passage, as it is
    suggested that the faster you travel, the faster your
    clocks slow down. To be honest, I was a little dizzy
    by the end of all this, but learned that time travel
    is indeed "possible."
    (length: approx. 11 minutes)

    The Languages of the Whales introduces us to
    Marine Biologist Ree Brennin who admits that Star
    Trek IV
    is responsible for renewed interest in
    the humpback whale. This is quite an informative
    look at the different species of whale including
    blue, pilot, killer, sperm and humpback. Surprisingly,
    science has no idea if the whale calls are indeed a
    language or perhaps just something simpler.
    (length: approx. 5 minutes)


    Geek Alert! A Vulcan Primer dwells a little
    too deeply into the Star Trek culture as author
    Margaret Bonanno gets well over-her-head into the
    Vulcan culture's and logic. A bit nerdish, but some
    will find it interesting.
    (length: approx. 7 minutes)

    Kirk's Women takes a look at the biggest "HO"
    in the universe -- James T. Kirk. Here are interviews
    with actresses Katherine Brown, Catherine Hicks,
    Celeste Yarmell and Louise Sorel who give all the
    Enquirer gossip on the actor and his character. One
    of the women compares working with Shatner to be
    as memorable as working with Elvis. Eghad!
    (length: approx. 8 minutes)

    Let's move on to Production....


    Future's Past: A Look Back is a brand-new
    featurette that reunites just about everyone involved
    with the film. There's Harve Bennett, Leonard Nimoy,
    Nicholas Meyer, Catherine Hicks and William Shatner.
    Notably absent are the film's regular co-star cast.
    This featurette takes us through the initial idea of
    doing a time travel movie and how multiple writers
    came up with creative ways to support that idea.
    Some rare treats embedded in here is an interview
    with Associate Producer Kirk Thatcher who played the
    punk rocker on the bus and a screen test with actress
    Catherine Hicks. There are also a few behind-the-scenes
    footage here, mostly involving Catherine Hicks who
    admits she knew very little about Star Trek when she
    came aboard. Look out for some cute bloopers as well.
    My favorite part here is the footage of the "B" tank
    (aka Paramount parking lot) and skyline background
    that I have often seen during my visits to
    Paramount studios.
    (length: approx. 30 minutes)

    On Location features Executive Producer Ralph
    Winter and Associate Producer Kirk Thatcher talking
    about filming on location in San Francisco. This is
    a real treat to see city traffic come to a halt as
    costumed Star Trek celebrities parade across the
    street during rush hour. On to San Diego where most
    of the naval base shooting was done with the full
    cooperation of the U.S. Navy. We also briefly look
    at some of the effects magic that ILM did for the
    aquarium scenes. Very nice!
    (length: approx. 7 minutes)

    Dailies Deconstruction gives us a two-angled
    split-screen comparison of "A" and "B" camera
    footage shot on the San Francisco streets. Easily
    (length: approx. 4 minutes)

    Below-the-Line: Sound Design is an interview
    with sound designer Nick Mangini who takes us through
    the process of creating sounds for the alien probe.
    A little too long-in-the-tooth to be overly interesting.
    (length: approx. 11 minutes)

    Time to move on to Visual Effects....


    From Outer Space to the Ocean is an
    original 1986 featurette that looks at the challenges
    of not only effectively creating time travel, but
    making robotic humpback whales look and move as
    realistically as possible. Despite its age, this
    is a really cool look at the making of this film.
    You'll see original test footage that was done for
    the whale models as well as the time travel sequence
    where "busts" had to be made of each of the actors.
    We also get a look at the various "probe" models that
    were used in filming as well as how filmmakers
    were able to fly a Bird-Of-Prey under a model of
    The Golden Gate Bridge. Excellent stuff!
    (length: approx. 14 minutes)

    The Bird of Prey features an interview with
    Leonard Nimoy who talks about his original ideas for
    the Klingon ship including how its wing position
    should be placed and the way it should sweep itself
    into an attack position. Included are some
    original blueprint designs and conceptual drawings.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)

    Let's move on to Original Interviews which were
    all taken in 1986 just prior to the film's release...


    We catch Leonard Nimoy in the editing room as
    he gives an inquiring reporter a jovial description
    of the film's entire plot (minus the essentials).
    Leonard talks fondly about working with William
    Shatner and DeForest Kelley and talks about what it
    is like to direct a film rather than just acting in
    it. (length: 15 minutes). We find William
    with a huge bug up his ass as he gives
    one of the biggest "I couldn't give a shit" interviews
    of his lifetime. Shatner talks about the film and
    how he views the character of Captain Kirk . (length:
    14 minutes). Finally, DeForest Kelley gives
    a warm interview about the "family" that he has become
    part of during all the years with Star Trek. (length:
    12 minutes).

    Let's move on to Tributes....

    Roddenberry Scrapbook introduces us to
    EugeneRoddenberry, son of the late Gene Roddenberry.
    Eugene was only 17 when his Dad passed away, but
    talks fondly of him as both a father and the "great
    bird of the galaxy." This is a really touching
    tribute that gives great insight into the man that
    created the Star Trek universe.
    (length: approx. 8 minutes)

    Featured Artist: Mark Lenard is yet another
    touching tribute that comes from the actor's wife Ann
    and their two daughters Roberta and Catherine. Not
    only is he regarded as a fine father, but it is noted
    that fans often regarded him as a fatherly figure who
    often showed up to the many Star Trek conventions.
    Really worth a watch!
    (length: approx. 12 minutes)

    Let's move on to Archives.....


    I was pleasantly surprised that the Production
    wasn't a set of sometimes ho-hum still
    photos. Instead, we get a really terrific 3-minute
    collage of pictures and live footage set to music.


    A rather extensive Storyboard section
    provides more than 140 original storyboards for
    eight key sequences in the film.

    Finally, the film's original theatrical trailer
    is included.


    Let me give great praise for Paramount not only for
    including subtitles in all their supplements, but for
    also presenting the material as an anamorphic

    Final Thoughts


    You know, it took me hours this morning to go
    through all this supplemental material and get a
    real feel for this latest Star Trek Collector's
    Edition. Suffice to say, I am very impressed with
    not only the amount of material presented here,
    but the overall production quality of this DVD.

    Those that own the original bare-boned DVD release
    may want to think twice about a repurchase based
    on the fact that this seems to be the exact same
    transfer. However, the fact that some etailers
    are selling this 2-disc DVD for about $17 does
    make the prospect of upgrading very tempting.

    Finally, I didn't want to leave all of you without
    talking about something that really touched me in
    an odd way while watching this film. It's kind of
    a strange coincidence that nearly a month since
    the Columbia space shuttle disaster, I have just
    watched a film dedicated to the astronauts of
    the doomed 1986 space shuttle Challenger. It is
    my hope that one day a film like this one will come
    along with a just as fitting dedication to the
    fallen Columbia astronauts.

    Release Date: March 4, 2003

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

    Jun 15, 2001
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    Nice review. I own the 1st release, & I'm buying this one strictly for the extras that were not available on the 1st DVD.
  3. Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher Screenwriter

    May 11, 2001
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    Joseph E Fisher

    The one thing I really like about your reviews is not only do you describe the movie in good detail. But you also give a good in depth look at the extras included on the DVD. And that deserves a [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Once again a great review, looking forward to picking this up on Tuesday

  4. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

    Jan 3, 2002
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    Thanks Ron. Your review was as deep as the extras on this set. I am so glad that I held off on getting the original releases, knowing there would be SE some time in the future. Well, finally the future is now![​IMG]
  5. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

    Apr 25, 2002
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    What a bummer that Leonard Nimoy's guided explanation of letterboxing is not carried over from the previous DVD.
  6. CoreyII

    CoreyII Second Unit

    May 15, 1999
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    Great review Ron. By the way the Kirk's crew is from the 23rd Century, not the 21st. Just thought I'd pass on some trivial information.
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    The crew is much older than I thought! [​IMG]

    I corrected the oversight. Thanks
  8. Mark Lemmond

    Mark Lemmond Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 9, 2003
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    I to like "the one with the whales" great review also. Heres another one to pick up!
  9. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

    Jan 12, 1999
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    Monroe, LA
    Real Name:
    Tim Glover
    Great review Ron. I sold my original copy months ago anticipating this release. A little downer that the audio/video is the same. The other Collector's editions to me have improved on the original dvd's to some degree. Still a no-brainer purchase. And you nailed it, this is my favorite of the series. [​IMG]
  10. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

    Jul 18, 2002
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    I'll definitely pick this up. I think I'll also get the barebones R2 as it's now going cheap, because it contains not only the Director's Series featurette (some but not all of this footage appears on the new disc) but also the extended opening to the movie that has been ever-present on the UK version.
  11. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

    Aug 13, 2000
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    I'm definitely picking this one up!
  12. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Insider

    Dec 5, 1998
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    Totally agree with you Ron. I posted my review last night, and my conclusion is that Paramount's FINALLY gotten this SE format right. A very nice 2-disc set.
  13. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

    Jun 15, 2001
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    Maybe 99.44% right since we are being asked to wait a long time for the "Nemesis" 2-disc SE. This should have been released in the 2-disc SE initially.
  14. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

    Oct 12, 2001
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    While it sounds like everyone who has watched/reviewed the discs agrees that Paramount finally got the extras right, hopefully more of the cast will be included in them on the Trek 6 DVD.
  15. Philip Verdieck

    Philip Verdieck Second Unit

    Jan 23, 1999
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    That might not be possible, depending upon the bad feelings of some of them.
  16. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

    Oct 12, 2001
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    Philip Verdieck,

    That's what I'm guessing, but at the same time you'd think they'd realize that this would be their last 15 minutes of fame. Seeing all the very positive reviews about the Shatner/Nimoy commentary track, hopefully Paramount will at least repeat this on the Trek 6 DVD.
  17. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Jan 16, 1998
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    Neil Joseph
    Once again Ron, I find myself seriously contemplating buying a title you have reviewed where I would not normally have done so.

  18. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Jan 16, 1998
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    Neil Joseph
    Actually, your review has caused me to search for your Wrath Of Khan review as well. I will be picking both up tomorrow.
  19. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

    Mar 16, 1999
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    With or without your review Ron, I'd be picking this up, but thanks for a great preview!!

    BTW the nitpicker in me found this:

    Actually, they had to bring back two (George and Gracie, to be exact). Humpback whales don't exactly self-reproduce :b
  20. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

    Sep 4, 1999
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    That's right. They're not called "Hump-self" whales.

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