So I have questions. I am an obsessive stickler for extras and seeing everything available.
What is the difference between the theatrical cuts and the director's cut? Is it major in terms of footage and/or effects? (though I hear the first one had a very great amount of digital touching for the DVD)
And another important one for me: the extras. Are they the cumulative collection of the bonus features from the individual DVD releases?
The Director's Edition is an Excellent DVD for fans of ST:TMP. There is a commentary by the late Robert Wise which is unique to the Director's Edition and I believe the bonus features are new to this DVD as well. There is a text commentary by Michael Okuda describing technical and production notes and trivia facts. There are deleted scenes, most are from the ABC Television version I believe. The film has many upgraded visual-effects scenes: The scenes on Vulcan, particularly the matte painting and the unrealistic moons, are replced with a beautiful new digital matte painting with ancient statues. The first shots of Starfleet HQ and San Francisco and the landing dock are much better than the previous matte paintings. The shot of V'ger attacking the Enterprise where the last plasma bolt vanishes has been replaced with a beautifully rendered exterior shot of the Enterprise and the vanishing bolt. The Enterprise warp nacelles are visible out the windows of Kirk's quarters and I believe they changed their uniforms from greenish to the correct blue (because of the bluescreen process from the original film). When the Enterprise arrives at the center of V'ger, the visual effects are re-done with arms of "blocks" extending out from V'ger to the Enterprise rather than the matte painting "field" of blocks. After it's cloud disolves, there is a new exterior shot of the V'ger ship approaching Earth. There are many scenes that have been trimmed to tighten the pacing of the film, but it didn't feel obvious to me. The sound mix was altered as well, but it also did not feel distracting.
It seems like there are more items that are new or different but I can't recall all of them. Maybe other posters can help out more, but I think I've covered the major ones. The documentaries and commentaries claim the updates were not meant to distract from the original film, but to appear like effects that would have been feasable in 1979. I think they accomplished that. The changes are not as dramatic or as extensive as the changes made to Star Wars (Special Edition) or E.T. (20th Anniversary).
In my opinion, the Director's Edition is superior to the original, and I wish it had been able to transferred to Blu-Ray. I have the new Blu-Ray theatrical version and it looks and sounds great, but the visual effects updates are sorely missed.
The Director's Cuts/extended versions of the Star Trek films generally have expanded on the characters or plot points. On TMP, the newest Directors cut re-edited and restored many sequences, and added digital touchups (some were not of high enough quality), on "Wrath of Khan" you can see (especially if you play the DVD with Drector Nicholas Meyer's Commentary) where they added back scenes the studio cut, such as finding out that one of the newbie engineering crewmen is Scotty's newphew; in the theatrical cut you don't fully understand why Scotty is so upset over his death. I highly reccomend waiting for Director's Cut versions to come out on Blu Ray. I've also heard complaints that only "Khan" was fully restored, and that many of the other films are just "ok" in quality for blu ray, but I canot confirm that.
While they say Wrath of Khan was the only one fully restored, in my view, it's actually one of the WORST in terms of picture quality. That doesn't really say much poorly, since even then it's better than DVD quality. It's just that all the other movies (aside from TMP) are absolutely flawless, whereas Wrath of Khan has a great many flaws in it, just like the Season 1 Blu Ray episodes.
Maybe it was due to the horrible visual effects, but "The Motion Picture" had horrifyingly awful video quality for a Blu ray in certain scenes, particularly when the Klingon ships fly across V'ger's gas surface---the outlines of the ship are really THICK black, not the usual black outline of models in 80s movies, but REALLY intensely thick, and there's an immense amount of scratchiness among the shadows of the ship.
Unless they cut about 20 minutes of the "travel" footage from TMP, I don't see the Director's Cut being much of an improvement.
The theatrical version is superior to the Director's Cut. Hands down. To hell with the updated special effects. Has everyone turned into George Lucas or Ridley Scott? Enough is enough already. Ditto for the Director's Cut of Kahn. I am more than thrilled Paramount gave us all the theatrical cuts on BD. Original versions. Period.
It wasn't really a question of "restoration" on any of the movies. It's mainly the amount of DNR used. With Kahn they used very little resulting in the graininess you see (supposedly closer to what the actual film would look like). With the others, they cleaned up everything and made it all sharper (excessive DNR). Personally, I'm happier with a sharp, crisp picture. Still, I don't think Kahn looks as bad as everyone says it does. Just happy I have the theatrical cut of Kahn on BD.
Referring to TMP, I much prefer the original over the remake. Maybe I'm a purist. There also were a few scenes that got cut on the Director's Cut that really bothered me for some reason. I don't remember the specific scenes now, only the feeling of being upset by their absence. Had something to do with Ilia.
While it was nice to see the added scene on WOK regarding Scotty and his nephew, I found it didn't really add much to things for me. Yes, it was good to have the explanation, but IMO it wasn't critical to the storyline.
IMO, I think Wrath Of Khan works better in it's Director's Cut. The scene that reveals Peter Preston is Scotty's nephew is not only important to the Scotty character, but explains why he carried this one cadet to the bridge for help. I mean the engine room was full of hurt and dying crewman - why was Scotty so concerned with this one kid? The expanded footage explains why.
I wholeheartedly agree with M.D.C. and Frankenblog; the theatrical version of TMP is far superior to the director's cut. The director's cut actually CUT several scenes that were important to the mood and story. Wise cut at least half a dozen scenes--I've forgotten a few, but these stick out:
1. Humourous banter between Sulu & Ilia. In the theatrical release we see Sulu awkwardly flirting with Ilia on the bridge, looking like a total nerd. This was important because (a) it added the comedy we know & love from the original series (without it, TMP had absolutely no humour), (b) it establishes that humans are a "sexually inferior" race to Deltans, (c) it gives Sulu and the original crew more of a presence.
2. "Viewer Off. VIEWER OFF!" For some reason I was deeply affected by the theatrical scene where Epsilon is destroyed, and the Enterprise crew stands frozen in horror. Kirk tells Uhura "Viewer off" but she just stands there in disbelief. He then yells "VIEWER OFF" which snaps her out of it. I have no idea why they cut the yelling in the Director's Cut. It only amounts to 2 seconds, but it was one of the most annoying cuts in movie history.
3. Walking on the Saucer. In the theatrical release, we get an astonishing view of the crewmembers emerging from the saucer, their shadows stretched out before them ominously. Sure, the matte painting behind them wasn't up to modern digital FX standards, but it gave the film a feeling of grandeur. In the director's cut, the scene is gone, and instead we get some stupid CGI crap which is totally incongruous with the classic analog special effects of the original. I agree with Frankenblog... Robert Wise must've caught George Lucas-itis.
4. Ilia Scenes. In the theatrical version, there were a few short Ilia scenes which established her as a dynamic character, not just a cardboard cutout. She had a history. She had romantic feelings as well as sadness toward Decker. The director's cut chopped most of these scenes out, and the result is that the Decker/Ilia relationship seems contrived, and Ilia is just an annoying presence with no depth.
5. Klingon Battle Scenes. In the theatrical release, there was an additional 20 sec of Klingons getting their asses kicked by V'Ger (cut in the director's cut). I thought these scenes were critical because they showed the Klingons' panic and absolute terror at their own destruction. It made V'Ger seem like a very menacing & heartless enemy. In the director's cut, the Klingons are destroyed all too quickly with external shots only, so we don't get the full impact.
Like I said, there are a few more scenes I've forgotten. But my point is THE DIRECTOR'S CUT WAS WEAK. I'm so glad that the Blu-Ray release decided to go with the theatrical release instead, something which has only been available on VHS until now.
In my view, neither cut is particularly good at all. In fact, I believe TMP is the absolute worst Star Trek film ever made (yes, even worse than Nemesis, Final Frontier, and Insurrection). While the others have the charm of being So Bad it's Good, or So Bad it's Horrible, this one is just not only boring, but an utter EYESORE. Contrasted not just to the gaudy colors of TOS, but with the fine colors of the other movies, like Wrath of Khan to Nemesis, almost every single scene in TMP is an ugly shade of gray or beige or brown or black.
I have to disagree with you on many of your points. The awkward flirting with Sulu and Ilia was just that, awkward. It added no humor, and because of its failure, actually detriments the already bad film for its attempt.
I have little clue as to what scenes you're talking about with the extra Ilia scenes, but Ilia was a cardboard cutout character the first time around (as in, the theatrical cut) as she was in the director's cut. I did not care about her character at all. One of the "deleted" scenes in the Theatrical Blu Ray was actually in the film itself, namely the Ilia Robot putting on the headband and briefly remembering her Deltan self.
I don't think it's fair at all to call the Klingon scenes "battle" scenes because there was no battle at all, and there was no "ass kicking" either---it was a gratuitous and utterly pointless scene that could have been replaced simply by the later scene showing the space station being consumed. It's sole purpose, and BOTH COMMENTARY TRACKS pretty much confirm this without explicitly stating it, is to show off. It's sole purpose is to show off New Klingons, new Klingon ships, and give it a superficial "grand, sweeping, epic" look, but that's all it ever amounts to---a look, with no substance at all.
Like SFDebris said before me, TMP is the ONLY Star Trek movie I never want to see again. I'd even be happy to watch The Final Frontier again.
Having watched both versions (regrettably) I honestly cannot see any important difference between them. You can polish fecal matter all you like, it's still going to be crap.
regarding the extras, while Part 1 ommits a few things from the 2 disc dvd, Parts 2 through 6 contain everything from the 2 disc editions except for text only related extras. plus they all contain new extras as well. anyone buying this new collection on dvd only gets the new extras so it sounds worth it.
it does indeed suck that its all the theatrical editions for Parts 1, 2 and 6 but considering how minor the scenes were its not too bad. imagine if the Alien Anthology had only included the theatrical versions, now THAT would have been terrible.
just read my previous post, answers your questions there. i didnt own the blu-rays then but i do now and i think its worth it. i'm an extras whore so it does suck that Part 1 doesnt contain most of em but 1 out of 10 movies isn't that bad. and as far as the director cuts are concerned, as i said its all very minor difference and changes so its no big loss. especially with Part 6, no more retarded "scooby doo ending". lol and while i've read many reviews slamming the video quality, i thought they all looked great and trumped the dvd counterparts by a long shot. its totally worth getting them on blu if you're a fan and these days you can get both collections with all 10 movies for easily under 90 dollars which is good considering they each charged between 80 and 100 on first release.
I'm soooooo confused with TMP. I'm figuring there was the original that was seen in the theaters (I remember that day being soooo awestruck at the realism of the Klingon battle cruisers in the opening sequence seemingly in 3D as the ships passed by before their encounter with V-Ger), then there was the special edition with about 20 extra minutes of footage shown on ABC, which was then the version released on VHS (I don't remember an original version ever being released)...THAT version added the awkward interaction on the bridge between Sulu & Ilia (and other scenes). Based on these reviews I'm figuring there was a later Director's Cut that eliminated that awkward interaction on between Sulu & Ilia. Now I'm assuming that THIS version is the original theatrical version (which wasn't a bad movie...I loved it, it just wasn't as good as most of the others, as it dwelled too much in its lavish special FX)