So much Trek to get through! Paramount Pictures delivers the goods with their 4K releases this week.
I remember where I was the first time I saw each film, and I was a recently turned eight-year-old who sat in the theatre in CFB Borden as Christmas drew closer, and I sat and loved every minute of 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It was such a wonder seeing the Enterprise on the big screen, so much larger than life, after only seeing her on my television screen Saturday mornings with The Original Series reruns.
I was swept up in the music (it took me an additional six years before I got my hand on a copy of the soundtrack, which I played out), the spectacle, and my heroes exploring, discovering and boldly going.
When the home video market came along, this one would pop up occasionally for me, often in competition with Star Wars, but every time it came along, I settled in for it. It resonated with me. It still does today. It was one of those films that came along at just the right moment in my life, and it now serves not only as entertainment but as nostalgia.
I remember in 2001 when I was hearing the first rumours of a Director’s Cut for the film, and read all I could find about what that meant for the film, what extras would be found on the discs, and I made sure I had it on the day of release.
It’s been over two decades since Paramount gave us a glimpse of what director Robert Wise’s final vision of 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture was supposed to look like. Released in 2001, the Director’s Edition was only available on DVD and was a must-have for all Trek fans.
Now, Paramount truly steps up and gives a number of versions of the gorgeous film, all viewable in 4K. The true jewel of the crown is Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Complete Adventure which is a gorgeous three-disc set.
Not only does The Complete Adventure contain a truly spectacular 4K version of the Director’s Cut with the most stunning picture this film has ever had, but it also includes the Theatrical Version and the Special Longer Version which was created from the 1983 television broadcast of the film, and famously included an incomplete special effects sequence (fixed here in the film, but kept as an extra on the disc).
The third disc in the set is a blu-ray loaded with all of the legacy extras from previous releases, as well as over an hour of new behind-the-scenes and interview footage.
The discs themselves come in a slip sleeve case that is a cutaway image of the U.S.S. Enterprise, there are lobby card reproductions, classic decal reproductions, a small version of the Director’s Edition poster, and an archive book filled with tons of photos.
There are commentaries, including a new one featuring the creative team behind the film upgrade and its new visuals, a legacy commentary featuring director Robert Wise, special effects wizards Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, composer Jerry Goldsmith and actor Stephen Collins, as well as the always enjoyable text commentary from Michael and Denise Okuda, and an isolated score track (which truly highlights Jerry Goldsmiths’ amazing work on this film and its lasting impact on Trek).
This is almost everything I wanted from this collection. The only thing I would have added was the collectibles from the McDonald’s Happy Meal (the first one ever) that were a tie-in with the film (but that’s just the nostalgic collector in me).
Honestly, if you love Trek, this is the one to grab. The Motion Picture has been called the slowest and most boring of the entire series, but it has always been a favourite of mine – perhaps because I was so young at the time, loved the sense of exploration, and seeing the Enterprise on the big screen. I love this one, and of all the films, probably the one I rewatch the most.
If you aren’t inclined to go for The Complete Adventure, you can still get The Motion Picture: Director’s Cut a couple of other ways.
You can pick it up on its own, which comes with the extra-filled blu-ray disc, but does not include the Theatrical Cut, or the Special Longer Version (only available in The Complete Adventure). Or you can grab the newly released six-movie collection. The previous 4K box set only had the first four films. This time around we get all six films, Theatrical and Director’s Cut of The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, and The Undiscovered Country.
But hey, you can also pick and choose, picking up all six films individually. This is the first-time release for both The Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country, and all six titles come in some beautiful packaging.
Whichever way you pick up The Motion Picture, it ends up being a beautiful watch. The picture has never looked better, the upgraded visual effects fit in perfectly, some of them are so subtle that it will take a real love of the film to see the differences and changes.
The sound is also incredibly impressive and will put your home theatre through its paces as you find yourself sitting in the midst of the activity of the bridge of the Enterprise, or hear Goldsmith’s stirring score swirling around you.
While not the critical success that the studio wanted at the time, The Motion Picture has endured, and while the film has its detractors, it remains an impressive achievement in terms of visual effects, music, and resurrecting a live-action television show to the big screen ten years after its cancellation.
This 4K disc is one to show off the versatility of the format, and all of the films look amazing as it takes us where no one has gone before because the human adventure is just beginning…
Look for Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Directors Cut in The Complete Adventure, the six movie box set, or singly alongside the other five films in the series, The Wrath of Khan, The Search For Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, and The Undiscovered Country.