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Star Trek The Motion Picture - The Director's Edition (4K UHD Blu-ray) review



Studio: Paramount
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Rating: PG
Film: 3/5
 
Plot
Originally released in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture became the fourth highest grossing movie of the year and earned three Academy Award® nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Music, Original Score.  The film successfully launched the Star Trek franchise beyond the original television series, despite having been rushed to theaters with incomplete special effects and forced editing choices. 
 
In 2001, director Robert Wise revisited the film to refine the edit and enhance the visual effects.  His updated vision was released on DVD in standard definition and embraced by fans but has never been available in higher definition until now.  Meticulously assembled and restored by producer David C. Fein with post-production supervisor Mike Matessino, both of whom originally collaborated with Wise, the film has been prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision™ high dynamic range (HDR) and a new powerful and immersive Dolby Atmos® soundtrack.*  Fein and Matessino assembled a team of visual effects experts, led by returning visual effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman, and utilized the extensive resources in the Paramount Archives to recreate the effects not just in HD, but in Ultra HD. 
 
My Thoughts
My friend and colleague over at Sound & Vision Magazine renamed this film Star Trek: The Lack of Motion Picture, which still rings true today. The story leaves a lot to be desired and the chemistry between the characters is severely lacking. Director, Robert Wise, was one of the best of his generation, but I just don’t think he understood the characters or how much the funny banter between the three main characters made the TV show worth watching. Granted, as the film goes along, the characters lighten up a bit, but for the first nearly hour of the film it seems like Kirk, Spock, and Bones are played by cardboard cutouts.
 
Another issue with the film is the horrendous pacing. There’s a shot of Kirk headed to the revamped Enterprise for the first time and it’s a seven-minute shot—seriously? Many of these issues point back to the studio. The film was supposed to be a TV special and after the success of Star Wars, the bean counters decided it was time to cash in and rushed the project to make it a feature film. I think this is mainly why we see these long sequences of nothingness—they were trying to take what is essentially a short story and make it into a novel without putting in the work required. One thing that did benefit from the larger budget was the sets and special effects. They are lavish, so at least the film looks pretty.
 
This was my first viewing of Wise’s updated version of the film and I do have to say it’s an improvement. It takes a marginally bad film and makes it passable and at times, entertaining. The theatrical version gets a rating of 2.5 while this moves up to 3—regardless, it’s the fifth best “Original Series” Trek movies in my book (my rankings are 2, 4, 6, 3, 1, 5—and 5 is WAY down the list!).
 
The 4K presentation is excellent and while doing direct comparisons to the previously released theatrical cut (from the 4K box set) significant changes were easy to spot. First, the beautiful Jerry Goldsmith overture now plays with a starfield backdrop and the opening title sequence has been updated. Next, the color timing is vastly improved and looks more lifelike and less artificial. The VFX shots are a mixed bag—some look great while others are laughable, but the film is from the 70s, so that has a lot to do with it. Finally, the 4K resolution really makes the matte paintings stand out—the shot of Starfleet in the first act made me LOL.
 
The Dolby Atmos track is the best this film has ever sounded. The Goldsmith score is the highlight of the presentation and features plenty of depth and heft—especially on the low end. The use of the surrounds places you into the proceedings and it comes across as natural and not gimmicky. Granted, there are a few scenes where the track can sound a tad harsh, but these are the exception rather than the rule.
 
Video 8.5/10
 
Audio 9/10 (Dolby Atmos)
 
Special Features:
Ultra HD Bonus Features
  • Audio Commentary with David C. Fein, Mike Matessino, and Daren R. Dochterman (New)
  • Audio Commentary by Robert Wise, Douglass Trumbull, John Dykstra, Jerry Goldsmith, and Stephen Collins
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda
 
Blu-ray Disc Bonus Features
  • The Human Adventure – 8-part documentary how the Director’s Edition came to life (New)
  • Deleted Scenes (New)
  • Effects Tests (New)
  • Costume Tests (New)
  • Computer Display Graphics (New)
  • Legacy Bonus Features
 

 
Conclusion
While the changes are minor in the overall scheme, they do improve the picture in a way that makes it more watchable. Are there still too many scenes that drag on forever? Yep, but that’s what the fast forward button is for. This film could have been edited down a good 20 minutes and vastly improved the film, but who am I to argue with Wise? If you’re a fan of the franchise, then this is a nice edition to the film series and will be the only version of the film that I watch in the future. Recommended for fans.
 
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High-Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 88” 16x9 Fixed Screen
Trinnov Altitude 16 Audio/Video Processor
ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels
ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: URC MX-990
M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)
M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
M&K Sound X15+ Subwoofer
Dual JL Audio F-110 (stacked and treated as one sub)
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Barry

  • *****
  • 670
I reviewed this also at:

https://discuss.avscience.com/index.php?topic=3272.msg23335#msg23335.

Here is the review, very close to Davids,

Star Trek the Motion Picture: Brand New Edition

If you did not like Star Trek The Motion Picture, read no further.  You have not yet attained Kolinahr, your answer lies elsewhere.

I knew that an updated edition of movie was coming to the theaters in May and on 4k discs in September, but, to my surprise, it can be found on Paramount+.

I saw the movie when it first came out. I enjoyed it because it was good sci-fi, it just wasn’t Star Trek. Star Trek was an action/adventure series that relied on characterization as many TV shows do. This movie did not and they hired a great director, but one who never saw a Star Trek episode.

This edition is a great improvement in every way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the changes, but it is still not quite the Star Trek we know.  And it is not really a director’s cut, it is a producers cut.

The original opened with an overture and a blank screen, here they fill in the screen and update the titles.

We go immediately to the Klingon attack with V’ ger, but the photography has been so much improved I was greatly surprised. Great detail, great color great everything. Yes, it’s not quite 2020 special effects, but excellent, nevertheless. They also added special effects to scenes that did not have them.  Many effects were left out of the original, not forf financial reasons, but for deadline reasons.  The Shuttle landing of Kirk at the beginning and the bridge to V’ger at the end are two of the additions.

The biggest improvement maybe the Atmos soundtrack, which, especially for streaming is startling good.  Many “effects” have been added and enhanced. I was taken back, it was so good especially the bass.

About five minutes have been added to the movie, many of them add to the characters speaking.  Sadly not enough.  I now elevate this movie from “sit-throughable” to “Good.” I did enjoy this.

PS:
This was the first Paramount movie to break the $100,000,000 barrier.  It is listed as costing $40 million but it really only cost $20. Paramount, to write off charges, included the expenses it had for failed Star Trek TV Shows and other projects.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2022, 07:37:42 PM by Barry »
McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

Barry, we are in complete agreement. It's amazing how such little changes can much such a difference in the overall tone of a film. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

FYI, the 6 disc box is on sale now at Amazon for about $96. I had ordered this thru Best Buy b/c it was out of stock at Amazon a couple of weeks ago, and they gave me a price match. 

Barry

  • *****
  • 670
A few years ago they put out a box with the first four movies in 4K. I bought it. They now release the six movie box and separately 5 and 6 in 4k. I bought the undiscovered country in 4K and didn’t bother to buy volume five
McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

So I watched this last week. I really don't remember the original version that well so I can't make a comparison. But I enjoyed it quite a bit, aside from too many redundant scenes of actor reaction shots to fairly static events (plus the infamous 15 minute Enterprise flyby). It really is a good story.

I also have watched II, III and IV over the past week. I'd forgotten how those 3 flow almost like a trilogy, continuing events from the previous movie. ("Almost" because the main story for IV isn't really directly connected to II & III, which are.) 

While it's good, I don't hold II in quite as high regard as some do, however. To me, Khan is a glaring example of one of the more difficult things a writer can attempt - portraying a character who is supposed to be far smarter than themselves. What did he get done in 15 years? He couldn't have known Kirk was going to cross his path, and when he does it's mostly a quest for vengeance where at a few junctures his decisions aren't always very sound. Khan never really felt very smart to me, and Spock correctly assesses him as too ego driven. I should just ignore that claim about Khan being a genetically engineered superior intellect - remove that and it's a great movie.

I like III, and IV while not perfect is probably my favorite as it's fun, has some great lines and I like the fact that they didn't jam in a romance between Kirk and Catherine Hicks's character.

I'm determined to watch each of the 6 movies, but now I'm dreading V... that Uhura fan dance is etched in my memory as one of the very lowest points of ST history. I think I need to open a good bottle of something Friday night, lol.

So I watched this last week. I really don't remember the original version that well so I can't make a comparison. But I enjoyed it quite a bit, aside from too many redundant scenes of actor reaction shots to fairly static events (plus the infamous 15 minute Enterprise flyby). It really is a good story.

I also have watched II, III and IV over the past week. I'd forgotten how those 3 flow almost like a trilogy, continuing events from the previous movie. ("Almost" because the main story for IV isn't really directly connected to II & III, which are.)

While it's good, I don't hold II in quite as high regard as some do, however. To me, Khan is a glaring example of one of the more difficult things a writer can attempt - portraying a character who is supposed to be far smarter than themselves. What did he get done in 15 years? He couldn't have known Kirk was going to cross his path, and when he does it's mostly a quest for vengeance where at a few junctures his decisions aren't always very sound. Khan never really felt very smart to me, and Spock correctly assesses him as too ego driven. I should just ignore that claim about Khan being a genetically engineered superior intellect - remove that and it's a great movie.

I like III, and IV while not perfect is probably my favorite as it's fun, has some great lines and I like the fact that they didn't jam in a romance between Kirk and Catherine Hicks's character.

I'm determined to watch each of the 6 movies, but now I'm dreading V... that Uhura fan dance is etched in my memory as one of the very lowest points of ST history. I think I need to open a good bottle of something Friday night, lol.
I hate V as well....it's tough to get through, that's for sure. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

AVSCraig

  • *****
  • 4299
  • Home Theater Lover / Sales / Advice
    • AV Science, Inc
So I watched this last week. I really don't remember the original version that well so I can't make a comparison. But I enjoyed it quite a bit, aside from too many redundant scenes of actor reaction shots to fairly static events (plus the infamous 15 minute Enterprise flyby). It really is a good story.

I also have watched II, III and IV over the past week. I'd forgotten how those 3 flow almost like a trilogy, continuing events from the previous movie. ("Almost" because the main story for IV isn't really directly connected to II & III, which are.)

While it's good, I don't hold II in quite as high regard as some do, however. To me, Khan is a glaring example of one of the more difficult things a writer can attempt - portraying a character who is supposed to be far smarter than themselves. What did he get done in 15 years? He couldn't have known Kirk was going to cross his path, and when he does it's mostly a quest for vengeance where at a few junctures his decisions aren't always very sound. Khan never really felt very smart to me, and Spock correctly assesses him as too ego driven. I should just ignore that claim about Khan being a genetically engineered superior intellect - remove that and it's a great movie.

I like III, and IV while not perfect is probably my favorite as it's fun, has some great lines and I like the fact that they didn't jam in a romance between Kirk and Catherine Hicks's character.

I'm determined to watch each of the 6 movies, but now I'm dreading V... that Uhura fan dance is etched in my memory as one of the very lowest points of ST history. I think I need to open a good bottle of something Friday night, lol.
I need to find the time to schedule all of these movies - been looking forward to rewatching these on 4K! 
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