Star Trek films on Blu-Ray... what we know so far

Osato

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I went ahead and ordered the animated series DVD set. $10 was hard to pass up. Of course now within 6 months or so they will bring out the blu Ray set of the series. Oh well.

I know hd mastering was done and that is the reason I held off buying the series all of this time.
It'll be fun to watch them and the extras will be good too.
 

Scott D S

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Tom St Jones said:
As you know, over the past couple of years it's been predicted by several "authorities" here that Paramount is unlikely to spend much money restoring/ remastering the legacy Star Trek films...not even for the franchise's 50th anniversary next year.. This for a number of possible reasonable and/or ignorant reasons that have been intensely debated previously. Frankly, I wish Trek was an MGM property. Why? Say what some of us will about MGM's treatment of some of their other historic assets - "The Alamo" in particular - at least they treat their biggest cash cow right, as seen in their meticulous restoration of all or most of the James Bond catalog (including, of course, the classics "Goldfinger", "Dr. No", "Thunderball", "The Spy who Loved Me" etc.)
Hell, I wish MGM owned the Trek films so maybe they'd license them to another company altogether that would treat them right! :) (Paramount only seems to license titles to Criterion but MGM licenses to everyone.)
 

trevanian

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Tom St Jones said:
As I've said in the past, if Paramount has any respect at all for the wishes of the late Robert Wise, they must make the Director's Cut available in HD and/or Ultra HD at some point - even if it's only an upconvert of the DE DVD (of course, I certainly hope NOT) - as we all know it is meant to be the finalized version of the film.
And I reiterate that the DE represents more what SharpLineArts wanted to see, and only partially reflects Wise's original intentions, as per interviews he gave at the time of the film's release. The book RETURN TO TOMORROW further supports this position indirectly, with interviews from 79 and 80 that make it seem like areas with major changes, like the sound effects, were among those that Wise liked best to begin with.


If they'd actually had signficant resources to throw at the 2001 dvd, perhaps we'd've seen something substantially different AND better, but what we got is basically the SLV minus the hokey stuff. You've got low-rez mediocre VFX to replace a mix of bad and indifferent shots, which ain't a net gain either.
 
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Nelson Au

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I had to look up what Sharp Line Arts is. I had not known that Mr. Fein and Mr. Matessino called their company that. Or that they had such a business. Or more accurately, I had not realized that they actually had a company set up. I thought the Star Trek The Motion Picture project of 2001 was a venture from a group of people that worked within Robert Wise Productions who wanted to complete their fantasy project.

I do have the Return to Tomorrow book on the nightstand along with several other books that I'm trying to get to. So I'm curious to learn more about what the original intent was for TMP.

Regardless of what the 2001 effort produced, the film had already been out for 20 years, so way past time to be able to alter the film too radically. However I understand the sentiment that a totally new cut could have been done. Given what they had in terms of filmed elements, and a script that was already done and filmed as per that script, seems like it would be tough to create something too different. So the story wasn't going to change.

On a recent viewing of The Motion Picture, I had a real revelation about some of the character arcs and the resolution of the film and it left me feeling much more satisfied with the Wise cut. But nothing I saw or realized wasn't already there in the 79 cut.

While it will never totally satisfy everyone, I still think the Wise cut from 2001 deserves a proper Blu Ray treatment with all the various cuts available as well.

I know I'm repeating myself over and over. To me, this first film is the purist Star Trek film and the most grand with a big idea. Star Trek The Vengeance of Khan as it was originally titled to me is good fun Star Trek that better captures the characters. But it's a revenge movie that unfortunately set the standard for the rest to follow. I enjoy it, but there's something better about The Motion Picture. I'm very sorry that not everyone gets it and paints it as a long boring film that everyone hates. What kills me is that Paramount can only see that side of the film and won't invest more into it.

I remember an interview with Deforest Kelley right before the filming began for TMP and he thought the film was going for a level of science fiction on par with 2001: A Space Odyssey. That might have been a bit of hyperbole, but I think they actually got close.

I certainly, truly, sincerely wish Paramount understood the fans desires and would make the effort for a proper hi def release of Star Trek The Motion Picture.
 

RJ992

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Nelson Au said:
I remember an interview with Deforest Kelley right before the filming began for TMP and he thought the film was going for a level of science fiction on par with 2001: A Space Odyssey. That might have been a bit of hyperbole, but I think they actually got close.
I've been saying that for decades! Ir was the only (and last) attempt at a big-scale 2001-styled SF film. Of course, it fell prey to some of the same criticisms as 2001 ("Boring," "I fell asleep", etc). I do find that the Wise cut is the best dramatically, with more character bits and background. If it ever appears on BD, I'm there first day.
 
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Kevin EK

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The 2001 DVD release of TMP was done under Robert Wise' supervision, and we shouldn't discount that. Wise himself was happy with the revised cut, and was very public about it. In his interviews, and in the commentary, he discusses various changes that were made, including the fact that he was happy that the movie finally had a proper sound mix. (As one example, they note the problem where we can't hear the transmission between Enterprise and Vejur - something where an effect had been created but hadn't been mixed in before they had to lock the movie.)


We could discuss at length whether the 2001 Director's Edition was the same movie Wise would have made in 1979, had he been given another few months to finish his work. Probably not. And we could discuss how much input Fein and Mattesino had (not to mention Dochterman) over what was delivered. But this version was embraced by Robert Wise as correctly presenting his vision for TMP.


Discounting the work these guys did for the 2001 DVD would mean disregarding that they did a lot more than just give everyone the TV version minus a few unneeded bits. There are changes throughout the movie and not just mediocre VFX. I would agree that it would have been nicer if they'd generated the VFX in HD and then been future-proofed to what would be needed within five years, but sadly, this was not done. I would also agree that it would have been nicer if they'd been given a larger budget. But I doubt that Paramount, then or now, would be willing to put more toward a recut of TMP. We should also remember that the CGI additions to TMP were designed to look like 1979 VFX, not like a completely new iteration.


For myself, the Director's Edition is the best cut we have of TMP. It's a little longer than the theatrical cut, but it actually feels shorter. It flows better throughout, even if the movie still runs very slowly at times. The formerly deleted scenes, particularly near the end, add a bit more dimension and help tell the story. Of course, there's one deleted line I strongly wish they'd retained - the bit where Decker notes "We all create God in our own image." Which explains why Kirk then faces off with the Ilia probe.
 
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trevanian

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I'm always going to be irate about the DE because of the new sound mix and the wholly inadequate vfx (doubt I'd've liked many of them at higher rez, putting stuff like fireballs in vacuum of space in THIS particular trek movie is as wrongheaded as can be), so I actually gave it away when I got the blu-ray.


Some wrongheaded claims get made about the DE, like saying the new animation was intentionally done on twos to simulate how it was done back then, which is so screamingly wrong to anyone with eyeballs ... well, all you have to do nowadays is get a copy of RETURN TO TOMORROW and see for yourself, the book has interviews from 1979 and 1980 in which the animators bring up how great it was that they didn't have to do that Saturday morning animate on 2s or 4s when they worked TMP.


With that in mind, I think it is safe to say I won't be happy till I have an edit-your-own version, so I can take that terrible shot -- which is in all versions -- of the little spaceman fleeing epsilon 9 from the movie for al time.
 

Allansfirebird

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trevanian said:
I'm always going to be irate about the DE because of the new sound mix and the wholly inadequate vfx (doubt I'd've liked many of them at higher rez, putting stuff like fireballs in vacuum of space in THIS particular trek movie is as wrongheaded as can be), so I actually gave it away when I got the blu-ray.
What fireballs are you talking about? If you're referring to the plasma-energy weapons V'ger fires in synchronous orbit around Earth, the effects done by Daren Dochterman, et al, are exactly the same as the original theatrical version. The only other fireballs in the movie were the originally-scripted version of the Klingon destruction at the beginning, but that was never used.
 
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trevanian

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Allansfirebird said:
What fireballs are you talking about? If you're referring to the plasma-energy weapons V'ger fires in synchronous orbit around Earth, the effects done by Daren Dochterman, et al, are exactly the same as the original theatrical version. The only other fireballs in the movie were the originally-scripted version of the Klingon destruction at the beginning, but that was never used.
The piece of stock fireball (that probably came from the commercial CD-ROM that VCE offfered way back when) that they stuck into the end of the wormhole sequence. But you got me, I should have said 'a fireball' instead of 'fireballs.'


The wormhole climax was always a hot mess (if you step frame through the theatrical version, you can actually see at the start they are using a test blast, the mount for what looks to be a rig on a ceiling is visible), as in both versions the torpedo disappears a few frames before it even reaches the asteroid, looking like it passes out the side of the wormhole.


They went from 'that looks like an awkward cut' to 'that looks stupid, did they just blow up an X-wing?' really quick with the DE version.


If you look at the longer trailer for TMP, you can see a chunk of the discarded Dykstra explosion for the asteroid in it, and it looks tons better than either of these approaches.
 

Nelson Au

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Hey Kevin, I agree with all your points obviously.

One thing you mentioned I totally forgot since I haven't seen the Special Longer version in ages. The scene when Decker mentions 'We all create God in our own image'. I have very little recollection of that line.

Funny after you posted, I found a script for TMP on-line dated 1978 and the dialogue in that scene is pretty similar and it includes that line from Decker. I also took a quick look at that scene from the Theatrical cut, and it wasn't there. So it must be in the deleted scenes. Perhaps Wise felt it was repetitive to leave it in. McCoy mentions V'ger trying to capture God and that V'ger was in for one hell of a disappointment. I'll check the DVD deleted scenes because now I'm really curious to see how that scene plays out for it to cause Kirk to confront the Illia probe.

Funny, the Blu Ray looks so good. Every line in Nimoy's face is sharp and clear. In some scenes the make-up just barely covers his skin tone.
 
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Camper

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So do we want the DE on Blu-ray?
If you prefer the theatrical on Blu-ray--it's been for sale for 6 years
 

Josh Steinberg

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I really want the Special Longer Version on Blu-ray. I know it's considered "unfinished" by some and isn't a true director's cut, but it was the only version in print for many years and was the version I grew up on.

I would also be glad to have the DE on Blu.
 

AndyMcKinney

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Josh Steinberg said:
I really want the Special Longer Version on Blu-ray. I know it's considered "unfinished" by some and isn't a true director's cut, but it was the only version in print for many years and was the version I grew up on.

I would also be glad to have the DE on Blu.
Since the "Special Longer Version" was originally done for ABC-TV, does it even exist in theatrical OAR, or just 4:3? I suspect it would have to be re-assembled.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I guess it depends on whether they edited it on film and then did a telecine, or if they edited on tape. I'd almost think given that it was done very early 80s that it could have been cut on film.

They have all of the footage digitized in anamorphic SD at least, since it's all on the DE DVD. At this point I'd settle for an anamorphic widescreen SD version of the SLV.
 
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trevanian

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Nelson Au said:
Hey Kevin, I agree with all your points obviously.

One thing you mentioned I totally forgot since I haven't seen the Special Longer version in ages. The scene when Decker mentions 'We all create God in our own image'. I have very little recollection of that line.

Funny after you posted, I found a script for TMP on-line dated 1978 and the dialogue in that scene is pretty similar and it includes that line from Decker. I also took a quick look at that scene from the Theatrical cut, and it wasn't there. So it must be in the deleted scenes. Perhaps Wise felt it was repetitive to leave it in. McCoy mentions V'ger trying to capture God and that V'ger was in for one hell of a disappointment. I'll check the DVD deleted scenes because now I'm really curious to see how that scene plays out for it to cause Kirk to confront the Illia probe.
There's another bit that was dropped in editing and isn't in any version that might have been a classic McCoy line. In sickbay after Spock has his little moment, Kirk is standing by McCoy shaking his head over the idea of a machine looking for its creator. The next line was McCoy saying something like, isn't that what all of us spend our lives doing? All us machines? Between this loss and Wise making the actor redub his chewing out of Kirk to sound a lot less angry, Kelley really wasn't too happy with what happened with McCoy on this, and I think this fueled his reluctance to do the second one, which he initially turned down based on the first script by Sowards (months pre-Meyer.)


Sounds to me like a folksier way of doing content similar to the lost Decker line, one that was at least in character for Bones. But the RETURN TO TOMORROW book really gives me the impression that the film's editor was desperately trying to drop everything that wasn't the main throughline and was worse than merciless in that regard, throwing out the baby and the creator with the bathwater. Based on this and the editor's next credit, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, I had a very low opinion of him, but I think his work on THE THING and EXORCIST III was good, so I guess it is a push.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I think the time crunch with the deadline also led to a lot of choices being made (or not made) as they were. They didn't know until the last minute what they'd have for effects, so almost every effect has a corresponding bit of dialogue to explain what you're seeing.

I think a lot of the extra/discarded/reinstated dialogue was written and shot as part of the same mindset of "we don't know what we have or what we'll get, so let's make sure that we've got enough to cover everything". Or "we don't know if these big ideas will be clear to an audience so let's have the option of spelling them out". And I think as part of that process they discovered what their film was about ultimately. But I think the editor and everyone else really needed the opportunity to assemble the movie, watch it, sleep on it, and then add or trim as necessary, and there just wasn't that time. I really got that sense of desperation and time crunch reading Return To Tomorrow.

Considering everything they went through, it's amazing that the movie works as well as it does, and that none of the versions are that much different from what was originally released. I really got the sense reading the book that just a couple more weeks would have made a huge difference in getting it to kinda where the DE brings it.
 

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