Star Trek: Original 4-Movie Collection 4K review
Sep 05, 2021- Permalink
Paramount is releasing the Star Trek: Original 4-Movie Collection 4K tomorrow to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the original TV series and I had a chance to look at it early. The collection brings together Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979 — ten years after the three season run of the series — some casual audiences found it a bit slow and plodding. Perhaps they were primed by the swashbuckling space fantasy action of 1977’s Star Wars, but the initial Star Trek film was more like a traditional science fiction story, exploring themes about the worlds of science, society, and technology and humans’ place within it. Hardcore fans were just pleased to see the old gang back together: Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Sulu (George Takei), and Chekov (Walter Koenig).
The 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded native 4K transfer has both Dolby Vision and HDR10 and is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image has a great amount of detail, whether it’s the faces of the Enterprise crew, the textiles, or even the models used for the spaceships in the days before CGI. In a story set in the final frontier of space, deep, inky black levels are important and this transfer doesn’t disappoint. Darker scenes still have plenty of detail and there’s no sign of crushing. The colour palette from muted tones to popping hues looks great and the HDR really shines with elements like the lighting on instrument panels.
On the audio side of things, Star Trek: The Motion Picture has an English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, a German 2.0 Dolby TrueHD track, Spanish and Japanese 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital tracks and a French 2.0 Dolby Digital track. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish (Castilian), and Swedish. The mix is the same mix as was on previous Blu-ray releases and there wasn’t a remix done for Atmos. The soundscape is quite front-heavy and your surrounds are mostly used to add elements from the score. Both the movie and its musical score get added floor from the subwoofer. Dialogue is clear and well-prioritized in the mix.
A digital code and a Blu-ray copy is in the set. The 4K disc contains an isolated track of the film’s musical score as well as an audio commentary from Michael and Denise Okuda, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman. The rest of the bonus features are on the Blu-ray copy and include Library Computer Viewing Mode, a look at the writing of the movie and the Star Trek Universe, a reunion featurette, “Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 001: The Mystery Behind V’Ger”, deleted scenes, storyboards, and multiple trailers and TV spots.
1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, reunited the crew with a character from the original series, Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban). In the series, Khan was a genetically engineered superhuman who ruled a quarter of the Earth in the mid-1990s until he was removed in the Eugenic Wars. He escaped on a spaceship with a group of his followers and was found and revived from suspended animation by Kirk and the gang in 2267. After trying to takeover the Enterprise, he was exiled to a planet and many years go by before he and Kirk cross paths again in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The film actually is a little lighter on action but that is more than made up for by the character work of Montalban and Shatner as the two foes face off and confront their intertwined lives. It also features the emotional demise of one of the series’ most beloved characters. I’m being a little cute with my spoiler-free line there, as the name of the next film in the franchise gives it away. For me, this the most enjoyable film of the franchise.
The 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded native 4K remastered presentation has both Dolby Vision and HDR10. The 2.39:1 aspect ratio presentation has fine detail across all the elements and black levels are deep with no loss of detail in the shadows or darker scenes. The colour palette is bold and certain hues really pop off the screen and there is no noise or compression artifacts to warn Starfleet about.
On the audio side, you have the choice of an English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack as well as Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 2.0 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, and French 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks. Subtitles are available for English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Spanish (Castilian), and Swedish. The main mix is 7.1, so no height channels, but the surrounds are put to good use with ambient effects and the panning of action. Your subwoofer adds oomph where oomph is needed and dialogue is clear and well-prioritized in the soundscape.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan comes with both a 4K and Blu-ray and two cuts of the film, theatrical and director’s. As with the first film, extras are split between the 4k and Blu-ray discs. The 4K has an audio commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and a theatrical cut only commentary by Meyer and producer Manny Coto. The Blu-ray has the aforementioned commentaries plus a director’s cut only text commentary by graphic artists Michael and Denise Okuda. There’s a library computer viewing mode, a featurette on the Genesis Effect, various interview and production pieces, a look at the Star Trek universe, a tribute to Ricardo Montalban, storyboards, and a trailer.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan blends two cuts of a great adventure with excellent visuals, a solid audio experience and a good collection of legacy bonus materials. Alone or in this set, it’s recommended.
The third film in the set is Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Written and produced by Harve Bennett and directed by Leonard Nimoy, this installment of the film franchise sees the Enterprise crew dealing with themes of aging, loss and resurrection while also go up against a new enemy, a Klingon named Kruge portrayed by Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd.
The 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded remastered native 4K transfer is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio with both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The presentation looks great with amazing clarity and details in all elements, with only a few softer shots here and there. Deep black levels and contrast, with good detail in darker scenes and no evidence of crushing. The colour is bold across all hues and the HDR really helps elevate shots of lights, instrument panels, and fires. It’s a clean presentation with no real signs of digital noise or compression artifacts.
Again no Dolby Atmos, but we do get an English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack as well as German 2.0 Dolby TrueHD, Japanese and Spanish 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, and French 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks. Subtitles come in English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish (Castilian), and Swedish. It’s well-balanced mix and the action moves around your surrounds and ambient noise place you in the environments. Again, the subwoofer adds a little extra to not only fights and explosions, but also to the score which is bright and dynamic. Dialogue is clear and well-prioritized.
Once again, special features are mostly on the included Blu-ray version of the movie. The 4K has an audio commentary by director Leonard Nimoy, writer/producer Harve Bennett, cinematographer Charles Correll, and actress Robin Curtis, who plays Lieutenant Saavik. There’s also an additional commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor, who wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation and other franchise spin-offs. The Blu-ray has the aforementioned commentaries as well as a library computer viewing mode, production and Star Trek universe featurettes, photos, storyboards, and a trailer.
Just like the previous two, I’d recommend this movie as part of the set or as a standalone release.
Finally, the set concludes with 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which was once again directed by Leonard Nimoy. This film is actually home to quite a bit of comedy, playing off tropes and other elements the franchise’s fans are so familiar with. The crew has been living in exile on Vulcan, but later head back to Earth to face trial for their actions in the previous film. When they arrive, the Earth’s power grid has been disabled by a mysterious probe orbiting the planet. Spock deduces the probe’s signals are similar to the humpback whale’s and figures there’s a way to use the whales to translate what the probe is saying. Just one problem, the whales are extinct and the crew need to work out a way to time travel to 1986. This sets up the comedy of seeing Kirk and the gang try and navigate through what was 300 years in the past for them and contemporary for us at the film’s release.
The 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded native 4K remastered transfer has both HDR10 and Dolby Vision and comes in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. It’s another great looking transfer with excellent detail in facial textures, textiles, and environmental elements. The black levels are amazing and dark interiors show no sign of detail loss or crushing. The colour palette, which ranges from earthy tones to popping colours, looks great and once again the HDR brings an extra pop to ships instruments and other highlights. The image is clean, with no sign of digital noise or compression artifacts.
On the audio side, the movie gives us an English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack as well as German 2.0 Dolby TrueHD, Japanese and Spanish 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, and French 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks with subtitles available for English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish (Castilian), and Swedish. No Atmos, so no height effects, but the surrounds once again put you in the action and the environment. The subwoofer adds a nice foundation to the score and action and dialogue is clear and centred.
There is an included Blu-ray copy, and that’s where you’ll find most of the legacy special features. The 4K has two audio commentaries, one with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and a new commentary by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who wrote the 2009 Star Trek reboot. The Blu-ray has these commentaries as well as the Library Computer Viewing Mode, various production featurettes, more looks at the Star Trek Universe, in-depth looks at the visual effects, cast interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley, tributes to series creator Gene Roddenberry and artist Mark Lenard, photo and storyboard galleries and a trailer.
Taken in the set or individually, all the movies contained in the Star Trek: Original 4-Movie Collection 4K have great video, audio, and bonus features. As a fan (but not a fanatic). I’d have to say I’d highly recommend adding this to your collection.