1,472 of 1,513 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2009
I'm floored by the number of reviews here that give this a 1 star review, and then state that they haven't seen the movies. If you actually compare the picture quality with these new BDs to previous DVDs, you do see a vast improvement. Star Trek II, III, and IV have more consistant color and detail then what I saw in the DVDs. In previous editions of ST III, I always noticed an upped contrast in comparison to II and IV: but in this set, it's in line with all the other movies. There seems to be a lot of rumors here about what "Digitally Restored" is over "Digitally Remastered" (as TWOK was the only to get "Digitally Restored"). A digital restoration is when it's accessed that there has to be a new edit of the film due to the state of the print (it could be going in and adjusting color levels for consistancy or even digitally painting out blemishes). It seems Paramount found TWOK to be the only movie in need of a restoration: when you see the other movies on a HDTV, you can easily tell that they are coming from an HD master and not an SD upconversion like some are claiming. They compare favorably to other blu-ray movies from all the big studios. I notice some of the HD interviews are the same interviews taken from the special edition DVDs: it's nice to see them in their original HD resolution (where the studio has obviously been gearing up for HD for several years). Note that there's also some interviews from the special edition DVDs that were shot in SD and have been transfered to this issue (the main one seemed to be ST V). The only gimmick I find with the movies is the "new" 7.1 sound mixes. I don't see the need in mixing 5.1 to 7.1....but the lossless audio does sound great. This blu-ray set is a definite improvement over any other issues of the movies. Issues like DNR or restorations are always subjective; but these transfers are good enough that whenever the movies get a re-issue, I suspect it will be more along the lines of adding more featurettes (or rendering out HD resolutions of the CG shots in the case of TMP).
Since there are still more 1 star reviews, I thought I should address the misinformation about what remastering means in relation to Blu-Ray. It's impossible for any of these movies to have come from a DV (digital video: SD DVD resolution) because studios have been working in 2k resolutions for awhile. A 2k file is 2048 pixels wide by X number high (it's a standard that has varying aspects....with some of my 3D files, I work in 2048x2048). Studios are currently converting to 4k work for new movies and for film restorations of older titles. So the restoration for TWOK might have been scanned at 4k for the 35mm scenes and 8k for the 70mm VFX. The other movies could have been scanned a number of years ago, but the studio would still have masters that are at least 2k resolutions.
Now studios do not author BDs themselves: they go hire companies to do that. So for a genuine HDTV movie, Blu-Ray title, or DVD title the company is getting a copy of the 2k studio master and then remastering for that particular medium: for Blu-Ray, they rescale and process the image to be 1920x1080 at 24 fps....for HDTV, they rescale to 1920x1080 60I, and for DVD, they rescale to 720x480. At this stage, the authoring company then adds particular DNR and compression appropriate for for the medium. When it comes to DNR, some people are more against it then others. I personally don't feel the DNR is that bad here: there are some scenes in these movies that weren't processed the way I'd like them to....but if they ever do get a remaster, it's going to be at the HD level: the studio master is unadulterated.
To conclude my thoughts....it's a pity that the reviews here are getting dragged down by mis-information. I gave this set a 4 star review simply because I save 5 stars for the extremely good titles on BD. If you have a 100" TV, then maybe you want to wait for another HD remaster with less DNR. I'm not as anti-DNR as others....but I'd say that it's not as bad as some make it out to be: I still see plenty of grain for appropriate scenes, and there's not huge edge enhancement going on during scenes with too much softfocus. And for me, the softfocus issues (only in certain scenes) and certain cinematography effects are a lot more glaring then DNR: things that were harder to pick up back when these movies were made, and something that's niether correctable in a transfer and is more clearly evident in HD. For a 110" TV DNR issues might be more overwhelming, but for my more modest TV set with great 7.1 sound system, I'd say this is a no brainer purchase for any passing fan of the series. The movies are marred by some production values that prevent this set from being a "demo" set, but I think the transfers do more closely reflect the studio masters. All of the movies have never looked or sounded as good: they should be stunning for any passing fan of Star Trek.
401 of 429 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2009
"Mr. Sulu, Impulse power."
I thought this might help, as there is very little info from Amazon on this product. This review is mostly for the content of this STANDARD DEFINITION 7 Disc ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE COLLECTION Box Set released Sept. 22, 2009.
Obviously, these are the 6 Original Paramount films with the Original Series cast.
STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
THE WRATH OF KHAN
THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK
THE VOYAGE HOME
THE FINAL FRONTIER
and THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
Every film in this set is the Original Widescreen Theatrical Version. The 7th Bonus Disc is THE CAPTAINS' SUMMIT. A 70 minute round table discussion with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and host Whoopi Goldberg.
Each Movie Disc includes commentaries, a few short Special Features, and NO theatrical trailers. The Insert Card states: 2 1/2 hours of Special Features. My guess is that they're leftovers from the previous 2 Disc Editions for each film, none of which I've ever owned. So, don't take my word for it. (Anyone that thinks 5 Stars may be too generous for this Edition, I only really care about the films. And, the way they look and sound. SFs are of secondary concern to me.)
Sound for all the films is 5.1 Dolby Digital EX and maintains a good presence. There is NO 2.1 or DTS setting. As usual with big studio blockbusters, music is too far forward in the mix for my taste, and dialogue is at a lower volume. (For optimal home theater playback, your center channel should always be set at a hotter level than your front speakers. Here's a good starting point for louder films: The individual speaker volume levels for my surround receiver go to 12. Please, no Spinal Tap jokes. I usually leave my L/R front speakers at level 4, and make my center channel all-the-way hot at 12. I always leave my rear effects speakers at 8 or 10. My Velodyne subwoofer is usually set at -7 because I have neighbors, and the darn thing really pumps those ultra low earthquake frequencies.)
The transfers look EXCELLENT. I've perused them all, but I have only viewed the FIRST film in its entirety. Very nice. Good color timing. (NOSTALGIA ALERT: I really appreciate the primitive Special Effects, models, matte painting, and miniature photography of this era. With the advent of CG, these kinds of photographic effects are a rarity these days. The wormhole sequence is still awesome, and the VGER probe scene still looks really cool. I can't wait to view the rest of the films. Especially THE WRATH OF KHAN!)
This Box Set is a very handsome Edition. Each Disc comes in an ultra thin slipcase with a different cast member in silver on the cover of each case, with Shatner's photo on the Bonus Disc. (I would have preferred the Original movie poster art for each film, but the design is unique for this Edition.)
The Box has a 3D Trek logo on the front, is only 2" deep, and doesn't take up much shelf space. The entire Box is covered with a transparent slipcover that is open on the top and bottom. (CAREFUL: The insert card is glued to the outside and the bottom of the Box. If it comes off, the entire Box can fall thru the bottom of the outer slipcover and crash onto the floor. Remove it, put it under the slipcover, or throw it away.)
A very affordable way to own the 6 Original films.
181 of 203 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2009
Having just gone through my set of the Blu-Rays, I'm very happily surprised at the content. The only aspect keeping this from being a 4 or 5 star review is the fact that only the theatrical versions are available. Blu-Ray is specifically made to hold a great deal more data than any prior video or DVD format. Aside from the issues regarding the new effects of the director's cut of TMP, there's little reason (other than monetary) for Paramount to hold back the extended cuts. Seamless branching, used so successfully on the TOS first season set, would work equally well here.
The Motion Picture is another story, since the new effects were rendered for lower resolution and it will take time and, of course, money to rerender them. We can expect to see a Director's Edition release on BD in the near future, I'm sure. However, this does not excuse the lack of the inclusion of the extended TV cut put out on video.
Having said that, it is an amazing thrill having the theatrical cuts of The Motion Picture, and The Undiscovered Country on disc for the first time ever. TUC was NEVER seen in this version since its original release and until today, I had totally forgotten how good a film it was. Many fans enjoy the additional scenes, but I always felt they brought the film down some. The scenes were obvious and amped up the silliness fact in a film that very much needed to be played straight. The two video versions really brought the maturity level of the story down some notches.
Now, however, we once again see the film as originally released 18 years ago (oh God, it's been that long). Over the years, the film had become less enjoyable and fallen down the ranks in my personal list of favorites. None of the other had, but this one - a film I really loved in the theater - had dropped in favor. Now, having watched it again from beginning to end, I found I loved the film once more. The story is tighter and less obvious. These changes were not major, but they made an impact. This is the best movie for the cast to exit on and is once more a 4 star film to me.
The Motion Picture: it's great to see this movie in this format again, as released without alteration. However, this film is more problematic. The extended version was just a "longer cut" with some great scenes added, but none of the fat trimmed (these scenes are included in the extras). The Directors Cut was better paced and more tightly edited and also added some amazing effects to cover some of the less successful work in the picture, but they also lost bits that made the film unique which weren't "bad." Since there never actually was a "perfect" version of this film, it's vital all three versions should be made available (or maybe someone should redo the DE).
The Wrath of Kahn: again the theatrical cut and, as we all know, this film had the full restoration, presumably because the master elements needed it badly while the other films were fine. I'll comment on picture shortly, but let's just say this is a fantastic presentation of the movie.
Finally The Search for Spock, my favorite Trek film. For those who notice such things, the video versions always screwed up the opening credits. The VHS version had them replaced by "video graphics" which looked like a cheap, high school AV squad attempt to make Star Trek movie credits. The wide screen VHS and laserdiscs were much better, givings us the titles seen in the film. However, the DVDs had a "glitched" version of the titles, with the timing off badly. It's tough to explain, but if you compare the BD and the DVD opening credits, you'll see them. And since this is my all time favorite Trek film, one I saw in the theater 7 times and memorized with obsessive Trekkie abandon, you can imagine my thrill when I saw the BD version corrected the credits. Ahhhh! :-)
Okay, my impression of the picture quality. There's been a lot said about the excessive digital noise reduction Paramount slathered on the films. I was expecting some bad stuff when I fired up my 52 inch HDTV. You know what I got? An amazing picture - every time. The level of sharpness and clarity to these films is a revelation! I had NEVER seen these films looking so amazingly sharp and detailed. The Wrath of Kahn, which - as noted - got the real restoration, is very nice, but I didn't notice a huge difference between this restoration and the other films. Mostly, I noticed the print was a little darker than prior prints and the other films. The blacks do hold up well on BD, better than on HD-DVD, to my surprise.
I have read that those who watch the movies on HUGE screens will notice the DNR, I have to say that my 52 inch, which I sit 6 to 8 feet away from, does not reveal any obvious dullness. And, really, I would assume the great majority of people don't go much larger than 52 inch (unless you have a mansion and more money than God). Honestly, I have no issues with the picture quality, and can wholeheartedly give the picture a thumbs up.
The sound is also extremely impressive. The dialog is not lost among the music and sound effects, like so many other HD presentations. The muddiness in much of Kahn and The Search for Spock is not as strong, and the music score for the films never sounded so good.
The subtitles for various alien languages are, however, disc generated, not embedded in the films. So the "species centric" fonts are lost (and, I guess, really doesn't make these true theatrical cuts). However, they are not obviously bad or "video titles" and won't stand out to people not that familiar or who don't care.
To sum up: the only disappointment is in the fact that there's plenty of room for all versions of the films, either side by side or through branching, so (aside from the DE of TMP), there's no reason to have left them out. Having all versions would justify the price tag of this double or triple dip. Especially since you know Paramount will release these again with these versions included.
Otherwise, it's a great set. The theatrical cuts are the versions I fell in love with and it's great to have them back. The picture is outstanding, with refreshing sharpness and clarity, while the sound mix is comfortable and satisfying.
5 stars for the presentation
Subtract 2 stars for leaving out the alternate versions.
For fans of the original cuts, this is an essential set. It's up to you to decide if you want to hold out for the next and probably more complete release of these films.
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
I had pre-ordered this item, and then saw some early reviews around the web stating that the video quality wasn't up to snuff. I canceled my order, and put the discs on my Netflix queue instead to evaluate them before purchase.
Well, I re-ordered the set. Let me tell you why.
The Trek films, to my mind, are a very good capstone to the Original Series Trek characters' stories. In them, we are presented with a very good "trilogy" of sorts, ST2-4, and a few other films that retain the thematic elements of the others whilst enjoying varying quality of story.
The Motion Picture (ST1) is unfairly maligned in my eyes. It very ably presents a story of characters re-uniting after a hiatus, with all the varying emotional consequences of that separation. Grafted to this is a relatively high-concept science fiction tale of an artificial intelligence seeking its creator. If this film had been cut by 20 minutes (very long effects sequences which seem a deliberate paean to Kubrick's "2001"), people would be hailing it as a masterpiece.
ST2: The Wrath of Khan is, of course, the public's pick as the greatest Trek film. It's hard to argue. A good villain, a deep emotional core, a slam-bang space battle, and some great performances make this a film that doesn't really misfire.
ST3: The Search For Spock is the middle act of a "trilogy", and really works in my opinion. It has a lot of action, a good dose of humor, and a lot of heart.
ST4: The Voyage Home is unbridled fun from start to finish. Lighter in tone than the preceding two films, it still captures the emotional core of the story, and brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion.
ST5: The Final Frontier is the black sheep of the family. It introduces an unfortunate "retcon" character, does some unrealistic things in its quest to reach the "center of the galaxy," and posits an unsatisfying sci-fi story about "finding god." The characterizations are still generally good, though, and there are plenty of charming moments for fans.
ST6: The Undiscovered Country is a return to form of sorts, but I think would not be regarded as highly if it had not followed ST5. A cold-war allegory, it has some good action, but suffers from some silly sequences in the middle (a prison planet and a murder mystery spring to mind). It does have Captain Sulu, though, which is hard to dislike.
Well, first I'll list the negatives:
We are not presented with the "directors editions" from the last DVD box set. Thus we miss some new effects shots from ST1, one very good bit of back story from ST2, and a few negligible cuts from the rest of the films (mainly 6).
Digital Noise Reduction has been applied to at least the final 4 films - and the results are not always positive. Grain has been reduced from the films with negative results - some very fine detail (such as fine facial wrinkles) is scrubbed away also. It probably will not be noticeable on displays under 40 inches - and I imagine it would be quite noticeable on front projection screens above 80 inches. I personally noticed it in spots on my 50" display, especially on Star Trek 4. ST4 comes off by far the worst, with many faces looking waxy - and other scenes being artificially pumped up by edge enhancement to compensate (check out Kirk and Spock walking by the boat dock before Gillian picks them up). I would say ST4 and ST6 suffer the most by the out of control noise reduction. You can really see it when smoke is in a scene - check out the scene in ST6 when Kirk smokes a cigar. As the smoke wafts in front of his face, you can see pores and lines under the eyes that are absent in the very next shot sans smoke. It's that extra little layer of detail we could have had, and it's missing.
The double dip conundrum: we are certain to be presented with a new set, although I will go on record betting it won't be before Xmas 2010, if even that soon. Paramount will be putting out the Abrams film this year, Seasons 2-3 of TOS this year, and the TNG movies probably next year. Surely there will be a complete box set at some point, incorporating the "directors edition" footage, but I would guess that this will not be released until the 2nd Abrams film hits theaters. It seems to takes upwards of a year to re-transfer and restore a film, the Directors footage has to be re-shot in 1080p, and logically, Paramount would not cannibalize their current retail SKUs by so quickly re-releasing them. So I would guess 2012 would be the soonest we'd see the "directors editions" with new, hopefully less DNR'ed transfers.
All right, now the good news:
These films have never looked this good. NEVER. ST1 is revelatory - there are colors I've never seen, and DNR is not obtrusive at all - fine detail seems quite evident. ST2, which apparently had the latest transfer, does not suffer from excessive DNR. ST3-6 are the films that have the most aggressive noise reduction, but it is only noticeable in select scenes (I am watching on a 50" 1080p display). For the most part, detail is quite strong (especially for movies shot in the 1980s), color depth blows away the DVDs (you really should compare them - prepare to be dazzled), and sound quality is excellent. The worst looking of these films look as good as the best cable TV HD. The best of them (1 and 2) are competitive with some of the better Blu-Rays on the market now. Just to correct some misinformation from previous reviews, all the films are presented in 1080p. None of them are 1080i, or anything less. Also, all of the films are truly high definition. They are not some sort of pseudo-HD, as one particularly egregious review has claimed.
So it's hit or miss in terms of A/V, but light years ahead of the DVDs. The biggest gains are in color - the DVDs are positively muddy by comparison. ST 1, 2, and 5 generally look pretty good detail-wise. The other films suffer from waxy faces - they have strong mid-range detail (like cloth textures or scenery), but weak fine detail (like facial wrinkles). It is aggravating, because the films look so good in general, that the little details are washed away.
Extras are VERY strong. Each film gets new commentaries, and most retain a second commentary as well. MANY new documentaries supplement the older ones which are retained for this set (I would estimate about 100 minutes per film combining old and new content). "Library Computer" offers interactive text data while you watch the films. BD Live functions include the ability to create and take fan quizzes with your remote and internet connection. The one giant new inclusion, "The Captains Summit," is presented on its own disc in full HD quality. This is a 70 minute round table, hosted by Whoopie (Guinan) Goldberg, featuring actors William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart(Picard) and Jonathan Frakes (Riker). Wow! It is oddly titled, and I wish that they had included Kate Mulgrew (Janeway), Scott Bakula (Archer), and Avery Brooks (Sisko). The interview was a bit directionless at times, with Goldberg failing to keep her guests on track. Nonetheless, the actors are generally funny and at times engaging and insightful, and true fans will eat this up.
Atypically for CBS/Paramount, the packaging for this set is very nice. A cardboard box with a plastic slipcover holds the Blu-Ray cases, which are all of the "slim" variety. Thus, the set takes up the space of only about 3 regular Blu-Ray cases, despite having seven discs. Separate cases, though, allow you to lend out one disc, and there is never any fumbling around with the elaborate multi-disc cases that often comprise these sets.
In summary, it comes down to a value proposition. At Amazon's reduced price, you're getting the theatrical cuts of the films, better than they've ever looked, for $11.65 apiece. I know I've paid more for films I care about a lot less. There probably won't be superior presentations of them for at least 3 years. So for a serious Trekkie, the math is simple. This is a purchase.
For a general sci-fi fan with an HD setup, it's a maybe. If you're the type who's willing to buy "Chronicles of Riddick" for $20 just to have something HD to watch with spaceships and explosions, it's hard to see the argument against this set. If you're a new Trek fan who wants to dive in, this value is hard to beat. If you don't care much about Trek, this might be a pass, since intimate knowledge and interest for the characters really helps your enjoyment of the films.
The haters need to calm down. No, this is not a perfect set. But at this price, it is still a very strong value. The missing material is not really integral to enjoying the films (unlike the LOTR set without the Extended Edition material - now THAT is a significant loss). If you want to see the films for the next 3 or 4 years at their best, this is the set to get. Otherwise, you're stuck with the dull, muddy DVD transfers for at least that long. When it comes time for the double-dip in 2012, the only ones that will probably warrant a re-purchase are 1 and 2, since they gained the most from the "Directors Edition" material.
I would have rated this 3 stars had it been significantly more expensive, or had significantly fewer extras. But for $11-$13 (depending on the set's price) per movie, I'm willing to take the plunge, come what may. I think this set is a worthwhile purchase at either price point, and I would have placed the order at 79.99 as well.
150 of 173 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2009
Firstly we are very fortunate in Australia that we get this set around 2 weeks before the US. The price we pay however is that the set costs nearly double here what it is on Amazon (and that is adjusted for the currency difference). And despite this I am still calling it a worthwhile upgrade
Firstly the good. The movies look about as good as you can reasonably expect. For something that did not go through a Lowry or equivalent frame by frame meticulous restoration this is a good looking set of movies overall (with some reservations as explained below).
As of writing I have only had a chance to fully view the first film and sample parts of II and IV. The Motion Picture was thoroughly impressive. Given low expecations that it was not a restoration like Wrath of Khan I did not expect much. The visuals were thoroughly engaging and the transfer looks like it was done off of a freshly minted print especially for this transfer. There was a visible lack of marks and scratches on the film. Do a compare against the Director's Cut DVD and you'll see a huge number of blemishes on that version. Interestingly the striking visuals of the Theatrical Version were more compelling visually (and more authentic) than the Director's Edition on DVD. For the record I DO NOT LIKE THIS MOVIE but found it compelling viewing until the last act (which becomes a little much). The visual upgrade finally shows what Robert Wise was going for as far as impressive optical effects and these hold up surprisingly well 30 years later. So #1 was a worthwhile watch, prob the most i ever enjoyed this film. The sound was also decent. Not the full range effort of today's best transfers but pleasing enough with generally clear dialogue. I also briefly sampled The Voyage Home and it was generally a pleasing transfer with a solid soundtrack. The upgrade becomes more noticeable if you then compare to the previous DVD editions. You'll find these hard to watch after Blu Ray.
Now for the not so good. Yes, these are theatrical versions and truth be told probably the optimal versions to watch (tighter, less self indulgent and "original") but it would be nice to have the choice of the Dir ed or original for completeness. However the most disappointing thing about this set (so far) has been Khan. The packaging notes that this is a fully restored transfer. When putting it in the Blu Ray player I started wondering whether someone substituted the disc on me. From the first half hour or so I watched I noticed the image had a noticeable degradation from the first movie. Likely due to the lower production budget and likely lower quality film stock used. The image had a noticeable lack of sharpness compared to the first film, the sound was rather hollow (seemed like less ADR and more location dialogue, that was at times hard to understand). If this is a restoration I'd hate to see the state of the original elements and I have to wonder whether the restoration work could have been done a lot better. I expected a real showcase for what is considered the best film in the series and so far I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Again it's better than the DVD edition but should be a lot further improved.
The other noticeable thing was the excessive use of video noise reduction or otherwise known as grain removal (esp noticeable on The Voyage Home). The transfer there was generally good, but the grain removal made all the faces look like they were rendered with putty. Unnatural and overly smooth. This made the film less engaging as subtle facial expressions are lost (or rather smeared away). The sound here also lacked the depth you would want to hear from the best High Def transfer.
But, on the whole anyone who likes their Trek should consider picking these up. Even if there is a double, or triple dip coming you can enjoy the films now in the finest quality and technology available today. In our case you pay an arm and a leg for the luxury, but hey...Life is too short. And when they release a superior edition with more compelling content, i'll probably buy it again...and then again a few years later when they come up with something better again. We keep buying new versions of software that are just different enough to warrant a respurchase - why would film be any different?
My vote - good enough for now, but could have been so much better...
129 of 149 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2009
I live in the U.K. and the Box set has already landed here. I can say that the negative reviews on Amazon need to be curbed especially if you have not seen the product. To be quite honest Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection is truly magnificent. All six films look fresh and sound phenomenal. I was not expecting much based on all the venom spitting going on here but I am glad you naysayers will be proved wrong. These are the theatrical features as seen in movie theaters and that satisfies me down to the ground. Each transfer is near meticulous some minor dirt on the photo chemical opticals for Star Trek The Motion Picture, but on the whole very, very satisfying. sonically you have not heard Trek like this either. A treat for the eyes & ears. Sell your DVD copies because this is quite honestly worth the asking price. Thanks Paramount.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2009
I can't possibly think of much more that can be added that hasn't been said but I will try. Some reviews are almost completely technical-oriented-ignoring what the everyday casual fan/viewer might think. Other reviews are based on what viewers 'think' movies on blu should look like (that they should be completely grain-free) and neglect the techincal aspects...I will try to bridge both together for this review/opinion.
First off, I think the quality of the packaging is very nice. Some people complain about the uniformality of the discs and while the on-screen menus on the discs are all similar they do show the individual title of each film on each disc. However, this is a boxed set so I like how the disc cases and the on-screen menus are uniform (and they don't look cheesy at all IMHO). There is a preview for the new 2009 'Star Trek' and for the TOS coming out on blu on each of the discs but I was able to bypass these right away with my menu buttons on my blu ray remote and go right to the menu.
As for the films themselves...
I am one of those people who grew up watching TOS re-runs on T.V. as a kid and fell in love. When the movies came out on VHS I bought them all, watched them constantly and memorized all the lines. When they came out on DVD I was there buying them all and then again when they had the Special Editions and Director's Cuts. Just as the DVD releases had their own problems, the positives far outweighed the negatives and this is exactly how I end up feeling toward this blu ray release of the first six Trek films.
Before getting too specific I will say that I have been through all six films and I found each to look much, much better than any previous version I have seen to this point. I'm not going to deny there may have been things done to the films to make them more enjoyable to the blu ray viewer who may be more interested in a clear, sleek looking picture, but when I put these discs in I was truly wowed...especially after what I have read in some of the reviews.
The first clarification I will make is that all of these films are shown in HD. Perhaps Paramount should have worded the packaging differently but by now most people understand that all of the films (except TWOK) have been transfered and remastered in HD. TWOK alone was restored and remastered (meaning they went back to do an entirely new transfer from a negative instead of using one that already existed). I could really delve into tech speak at this point in the whole process, but it's already been done so let's talk about how the movies look and sound.
TMP looks (and sounds) just incredible. The difference from the SE DVD to blu is drastic and looks far better than the SE DVD shown in upconverted format. I will admit it almost looks too clear and smooth for the purist (and I understand their complaint) but it's far better than any previous version I have ever seen; it's kind of an 8 steps forward 2 steps back kind of thing but overall I was amazed. As for the complaints about DNR on these films I am not saying it was not used, but as someone who has seen each of these films hundreds of times I found myself seeing far more detail and noticing far more new things and not once noticed anything that was lost as far as detail (and this goes for the entire six films in this set).
Because of the clarity and detail you do notice a lot more 'issues' in TMP that look bad or out of focus but this is the direction and photographic effects of the filming and not the transfer. In addition, some composite shots with special effects in them still look grainy due to the way these were filmed in those days but there isn't much that can be done without damaging the detail of the shot (which tells me they were thoughtful not to over use filters, DNR in the processing of the film for blu). One example in TMP is the scene in which the 'probe' from V'ger comes onto the Enterprise and ends up taking Lt. Ilia. The quality of this scene looks no better than what was on DVD but once the shot is over the amazing blu ray picture comes back once the effects shots are done. This is more distracting than before but all the other parts are so good I am not swayed otherwise.
The only real problem I have seen in TMP are tracking shots of the Enterprise leaving spacedock and a few other exterior shots of the ship-there are these odd, stationary black spots in the picture that look like they must be on the print as they are in the same place on the various 5 or 6 tracking shots of the ship in different places throughout the film.
Yes I understand why people might be mad the Director's Cut is not included, but personally I like the Theatrical version better-heck, I wish the extended cut was included on blu but we do at least get the deleted scenes from that cut on this disc. And, there is the issue of the resolution of the new effects that were added to the DC version not being suitable for blu.
I do wonder why the same people who refuse to purchase this set because they are irritated by the films not being an accurate, true representation as far as being accurate transfers go are not upset about the fact that both visual and audio special effects were cut and added to TMP when they released the Director's Cut. I find this contradictory to be so concerned about preserving the original film so perfectly but feeling it ok to add in special effects, cut scenes and change sound effects years later. All IMHO of course.
TWOK: The beginning of this film does look bad as some have said-it looks no better than an upconverted DVD for the first part of the film. After the first few minutes though the image becomes much better. There is grain throughout but it seems like a very 'natural' grain. I think this film best represents what the critics on both sides are complaining about: On one hand for the purist this is probably the best, truest transfer of the set with the least amount of DNR/filtering. However, to those who want the clear, grain-free picture this film probably looks the worst of the set (but still much better than any DVD versions). Detail and color are still far superior in every way. So the purists will wish all of the films looked like this one and all of those wanting grain-free images will want it the way TMP looks.
A quick mention about the hue/color timing of TWOK. This is a much 'cooler' look than previous DVDs but after watching TWOK and TSFS back-to-back I find the color hue and timing of TWOK to be much, much more consistant with that of TSFS so I was very pleased. I always thought the early DVD versions of TWOK were much warmer than I remembered the film being.
As for the remaining films I found them similar in quality...kind of between TMP and TWOK. They were not quite as clear as TMP but did not contain as much grain as TWOK. Again, composite shots with effects in them still have some grain and stand out, but every movie in the set is far superior visually to anything I have yet seen. I didn't notice enough difference between III, IV, V and VI other than that III seemed perhaps just a bit sharper than the rest and it was a pleasure to see planet Genesis come alive in sound, color and detail. Some have said that the shots of San Francisco in TVH didn't come alive as much as they had hoped but it was still far, far better than the most recent DVD and I would say was an easily discernable improvement.
The only other main issue I have read and seen is regarding some of the capture photos many have posted up on the web showing what looks to be waxy faces, heavy DNR and filters applied to shots. I have seen these shots and was actually worried and was second guessing buying this set. However, while watching the films I never noticed any scene looking as bad as any of the screen captures show. I'm not saying they are not real captures, but I was simply unable to pick this out or notice this during my viewing the film and I was looking for it in the spots/scenes I have seen these screen captures from. Perhaps on a very large screen it is noticible but on my 32" LCD I did not notice this (I am only about 5 feet away from the screen so I am still relatively close).
So, from someone who was very hesitant, without reservation I recommend this set. With the quality that I see in these films I was very happy (even excited) seeing and hearing each film. It's a pretty comprehensive set so I would not expect Paramount revisiting these on blu anytime soon. I do understand the complaints from the purists and I began watching these as a skeptic but I was unable to really pick out any noticable issues that have been brought up. Again, 8 steps forward for the detail and picture, 2 steps back for no Director's Cuts (when possible) and for the issues like the purists mention. Compared to the DVDs, this is still a 5-star product.
Hope this helps those sitting on the fence leaning one way or the other.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2009
To echo some others' thoughts here....great set, great value at Amazon's price. I've never seen these films look so good on home video. The Star Trek summit disc is a wonderful extra feature.
The best news of all: we can finally see STAR TREK VI as it was seen in theaters, at the aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Previous video incarnations of this film were presented at around 1.85:1, including the SD DVD edition. Unlike the other films in the series, this title was shot in Super 35, which was basically a full-frame format. Prints could then be generated at any aspect ratio by cropping portions of the full frame. This provided a high fidelity image, shot with spherical lenses that allowed a greater depth of focus than with anamorphic (Panavision) lenses. In the old days, it was a great way to ensure that the film would also be compatable with home video's preferred 1.33:1 ratio. Most filmmakers shot with the "scope" aspect ratio of 2.35:1 in mind for their final product. STAR TREK VI was shown in theaters at 2.35:1 and was meant to be seen at that aspect ratio. Finally, Paramount got something right!
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2009
As Bill Shatner himself said, "Get a life!".
I am a huge Trekkie (yes, I prefer that term to Trekker) so getting these six films plus a disc featuring a 70 minute roundtable with Shatner, Nimoy, Stewart and Frakes for a mere $80.00.............on Blu ray!.....was a no brainer.
I have sampled all discs and the picture and sound quality are fantastic. I have no complaints. In fact, my expectations were surpassed. Sure, 'Wrath of Khan' was the only film to receive a full restoration. Not to knock the other films too hard but it's probably the only one that really deserved it. Are the other films lacking for not receiving the same treatment? No, not really.
Am I upset about the lack of "Director's" or "Extended" cuts? Not at all. 'The Motion Picture' is too long for it's own good anyways and I find the theatrical version has much better pacing. I grew up watching 'The Wrath of Khan' on VHS so when the 2 disc DVD came out in 2002, that version just didn't seem quite right. It's not what I had been used to watching for 15 or so years. The minimal extra footage from 'The Undiscovered Country' can't really be missed either.
1-) All the movies are presented in 1080p high definition.
2-) The bonus features that have been carried over from the 2 disc DVD releases are presented in standard definition. These features comprise the "12 Hours Of Previously Released Material" that is mentioned on the packaging.
This really is a great set and it's too bad that so many people would completely dismiss a product before they have even seen it. You are missing out.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2009
This first part of this review is going to highlight one aspect mainly and that is the extra disc included called, "The Summit". Epic. It is pure gold. Not only as a fan of Trek, but of those actors and the lifestyle of their world.
With "The Summit" we not only get a VERY candid and HONEST Q/A session of Frakes, Shatner, Nimoy and Stewert, we get a glimpse in to their day to day thoughts as actors talking to other actors and as people talking to other people. It's brilliant.
Sections of the round table are down right histerical and some are wholy uncomfortable, but it is a look behind the curtain any fan of the actors presented would kill to see.
Now for the actual films...
Transfers are very well done. The TrueHD sound is impactful. On the earlier films there is sadly some clipping of the levels, but that might have actually been in the original audio masters. The picture is pristine, and transfered with the right gamma corrections. 2:35:1 aspect is soley where Trek should live and it looks huge on a bigscreen.
Note that these are the original theater releases of the films. You will not find the redone "Motion Picture" with new VFX in this collection. The rest of the films do not have the extra scenes added from the special editions. Frankly, I'm fine with that. The extras each film had added to it was really best left for the cutting room floor. The movies stand on their own as they were originally released.
But be prepared for a double-dip. I am sure they will release the special editions later. Although the "Motion Picture" might be an issue. As the enhanced visual effects that were done for it were not generated at film resolution, but only at television resolution. Paramount did not want to pay for it back when this was done and those digital files from which those enhanced visual effects came from are long gone, as is sadly the Director.
And as for Kahn being the only one to be truely HD in its transfer...well...it does look awesome. Does it look more awesome than the others? On my 32" 1080p Samsung, not really. On my 110" LCD projection...yes the other films are softer. But the other films starting with TrekIV used newer film stocks, lighting techniques and lenses and look better to begin with. So they don't suffer as much in a direct comparison to TrekII. Back to back TrekII and TrekIII...again on the 110" projection...you can see a difference. But it's far from terrible.
LET ME STRESS THE OTHER FILMS LOOK GREAT. They are a tad softer than TrekII but they are in no means "upscaled" DVD as some have said in other reviews. That is simply not true. They were transferred in HD but they did not get the full-on film negative rescan like TrekII; is all. They "look" very HD, very clear and you can see all the tiny details.
As for the scary comments that the movies look out of focus...heh...folks it's called Panavision lenses. The cinemascope anamorphic lenses they use back in the 70s through late 80s all suffered from very shallow depth-of-field. Look at all those classic films from that era! Alien, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard. All those films have vignette (edge of framing) out of focus and soft. It's just a technical aspect to that style of filming.