Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection
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Prepare to boldly go where no man has gone before with the Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection, an action-packed box set featuring the six films in their original theatrical versions starring the U.S.S. Enterprise's legendary crew. The films have been digitally remastered and The Wrath of Khan has been fully restored in high definition with brilliant picture quality and 7.1 Dolby TrueHD. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982) Star Trek: The Search for Spock (1984) Star Trek: The Voyage Home (1986) Star Trek: The Final Frontier (1989) Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek I : The Original Motion Picture
Back when the first Star Trek feature was released in December 1979, the Trek franchise was still relatively modest, consisting of the original TV series, an animated cartoon series from 1973-74, and a burgeoning fan network around the world. Series creator Gene Roddenberry had conceived a second TV series, but after the success of Star Wars the project was upgraded into this lavish feature film, which reunited the original series cast aboard a beautifully redesigned starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Under the direction of Robert Wise (best known for West Side Story), the film proved to be a mixed blessing for Trek fans, who heatedly debated its merits; but it was, of course, a phenomenal hit. Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) leads his crew into the vast structures surrounding V'Ger, an all-powerful being that is cutting a destructive course through Starfleet space. With his new First Officer (Stephen Collins), the bald and beautiful Lieutenant Ilia (played by the late Persis Khambatta) and his returning veteran crew, Kirk must decipher the secret of V'Ger's true purpose and restore the safety of the galaxy. The story is rather overblown and derivative of plots from the original series, and avid Trekkies greeted the film's bland costumes with derisive laughter. But as a feast for the eyes, this is an adventure worthy of big-screen trekkin'. Douglas Trumbull's visual effects are astonishing, and Jerry Goldmith's score is regarded as one of the prolific composer's very best (with its main theme later used for Star Trek: The Next Generation). And, fortunately for Star Trek fans, the expanded 143-minute version (originally shown for the film's network TV premiere) is generally considered an improvement over the original theatrical release. --Jeff Shannon
Star Trek II :The Wrath of Khan
Although Star Trek: The Motion Picture had been a box-office hit, it was by no means a unanimous success with Star Trek fans, who responded much more favorably to the "classic Trek" scenario of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Inspired by the "Space Seed" episode of the original TV series, the film reunites newly promoted Admiral Kirk with his nemesis from the earlier episode--the genetically superior Khan (Ricardo Montalban)--who is now seeking revenge upon Kirk for having been imprisoned on a desolated planet. Their battle ensues over control of the Genesis device, a top-secret Starfleet project enabling entire planets to be transformed into life-supporting worlds, pioneered by the mother (Bibi Besch) of Kirk's estranged and now-adult son. While Mr. Spock mentors the young Vulcan Lt. Saavik (then-newcomer Kirstie Alley), Kirk must battle Khan to the bitter end, through a climactic starship chase and an unexpected crisis that will cost the life of Kirk's closest friend. This was the kind of character-based Trek that fans were waiting for, boosted by spectacular special effects, a great villain (thanks to Montalban's splendidly melodramatic performance), and a deft combination of humor, excitement, and wondrous imagination. Director Nicholas Meyer (who would play a substantial role in the success of future Trek features) handles the film as a combination of Moby Dick, Shakespearean tragedy, World War II submarine thriller, and dazzling science fiction, setting the successful tone for the Trek films that followed. --Jeff Shannon
Star Trek III : The Search for Spock
You didn't think Mr. Spock was really dead, did you? When Spock's casket landed on the surface of the Genesis planet at the end of Star Trek II, we had already been told that Genesis had the power to bring "life from lifelessness." So it's no surprise that this energetic but somewhat hokey sequel gives Spock a new lease on life, beginning with his rebirth and rapid growth as the Genesis planet literally shakes itself apart in a series of tumultuous geological spasms. As Kirk is getting to know his estranged son (Merritt Butrick), he must also do battle with the fiendish Klingon Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), who is determined to seize the power of Genesis from the Federation. Meanwhile, the regenerated Spock returns to his home planet, and Star Trek III gains considerable interest by exploring the ceremonial (and, of course, highly logical) traditions of Vulcan society. The movie's a minor disappointment compared to Star Trek II, but it's a--well, logical--sequel that successfully restores Spock (and first-time film director Leonard Nimoy) to the phenomenal Trek franchise...as if he were ever really gone. With Kirk's willful destruction of the U.S.S. Enterprise and Robin Curtis replacing the departing Kirstie Alley as Vulcan Lt. Saavik, this was clearly a transitional film in the series, clearing the way for the highly popular Star Trek IV. --Jeff Shannon
Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home
Jumping on to the end-of-the-century bandwagon a little early, Paramount Pictures released 10 of their top films in one 10-pack, the Millennium Collection, in 1998. All the films are presented in their widescreen editions; one, Breakfast at Tiffany's, is offered in this format for the first time. The set includes 5 Best Picture Oscar winners and films that took home an additional 33 Academy Awards. All the tapes are available to buy individually. The pack, with a handsome mosaic of faces from the movies, also features collector gift cards (a movie version of baseball cards) and a commemorative booklet detailing the productions of all 10 films. The collection is oddly weighted toward the last 25 years, offering only one film from the 1950s and one from the 1960s. Your taste in current cinema will define the value of the set. Besides Tiffany's, one of Audrey Hepburn's finest films, the collection contains: The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston, Grease with John Travolta, Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now and The Godfather, the funny, whale-saving Star Trek IV--The Voyage Home, Tom Cruise's hit Top Gun, the smash hit Ghost with Demi Moore, Mel Gibson's Celt fest Braveheart, and Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks. --Doug Thomas
Star Trek V :The Final Frontier
Movie critic Roger Ebert summed it up very succinctly: "Of all of the Star Trek movies, this is the worst." Subsequent films in the popular series have done nothing to disprove this opinion; we can be grateful that they've all been significantly better since this film was released in 1989. After Leonard Nimoy scored hits with Star Trek III and IV, William Shatner used his contractual clout (and bruised ego) to assume directorial duties on this mission, in which a rebellious Vulcan (Laurence Luckinbill) kidnaps Federation officials in his overzealous quest for the supreme source of creation. That's right, you heard it correctly: Star Trek V is about a crazy Vulcan's search for God. By the time Kirk, Spock, and their Federation cohorts are taken to the Great Barrier of the galaxy, this journey to "the final future" has gone from an embarrassing prologue to an absurd conclusion, with a lot of creaky plotting in between. Of course, die-hard Trekkies will still allow this movie into their video collections; but they'll only watch it when nobody else is looking. After this humbling experience, Shatner wisely relinquished the director's chair to Star Trek II's Nicholas Meyer. --Jeff Shannon
Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek V left us nowhere to go but up, and with the return of Star Trek II director Nicholas Meyer, Star Trek VI restored the movie series to its classic blend of space opera, intelligent plotting, and engaging interaction of stalwart heroes and menacing villains. Borrowing its subtitle (and several lines of dialogue) from Shakespeare, the movie finds Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and his fellow Enterprise crew members on a diplomatic mission to negotiate peace with the revered Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner). When the high-ranking Klingon and several officers are ruthlessly murdered, blame is placed on Kirk, whose subsequent investigation uncovers an assassination plot masterminded by the nefarious Klingon General Chang (Christopher Plummer) in an effort to disrupt a historic peace summit. As this political plot unfolds, Star Trek VI takes on a sharp-edged tone, with Kirk and Spock confronting their opposing views of diplomacy, and testing their bonds of loyalty when a Vulcan officer is revealed to be a traitor. With a dramatic depth befitting what was to be the final movie mission of the original Star Trek crew, this film took the veteran cast out in respectably high style. With the torch being passed to the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation, only Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov would return, however briefly, in Star Trek: Generations. --Jeff Shannon
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The VHS my mother got back in the 1980's is cleaner as it was transferred from the master soon after the movie left the theaters.
The newer the movie the less wear to the point where the master has not enough wear to show up.
The Captains summit is a nice attention. However it's not so much a captains summit as it is just William Shatner with Leonard Nemoy (Of TOS) and Patrick stewart with Jonathan franks of TNG. None of the other captains however as this box set only represents the movies starting ToS crew so the absence is justified as is the fact that it's whoopi goldberg doing the interviews so she's focused on the people she knew. The star trek she grew up with and the star trek she acted in.
Star Trek The Motion Picture, while not being the superior 2000 Robert Wise-supervised director's cut, is still an amazing experience on BluRay. If one divorces oneself from the Star Wars hysteria of the late 70s and watches this movie as its own experience, it actually holds up rather well in its original theatrical version. While there are occasional flaws that would eventually need cleaning up in restoration, the HD picture just sparkles with life I certainly don't remember from the theater. There is detail and color, especially in the visual effects, that render this a hypnotically beautiful film.
STII's restoration is a true eye-opener that demands repeated viewings to appreciate all the colors and textures that never had the opportunity to catch our eyes in previous remasters. The story, of course, is classic, and has never looked or sounded better.
STIII, was a surprise, especially since I had read some reviews saying the picture was squashed with too much DNR. It was bright, colorful and filled with fine detail, and Harve Bennett's script was better than I remember it when I first saw it.
STIV was just as good as STIII's HD master, and of course the story is one of ST's most enjoyable.
STV did not age well at all. The HD remaster revealed the low quality of Bran Ferren's poor visual effects in a way I had never expected, bringing the whole visual experience down two notches. The sound, while powerful, had too much dynamic range, forcing me to do multiple volume adjustments during playback in order to balance dialog with louder action-oriented passages. Even Lord of the Rings, with its ubiquitous battle sequences, had a soundtrack I never had to adjust once in my home viewings. And of course, no amount of remastering can save this horrid script, but I did sit through it all again from start to finish.
STVI was probably one of the best looking and sounding movies of this set. I was very satisfied that they elected to go with the original theatrical version of this film instead of the multiple home video versions released in the past. For one thing, the 2.35:1 framing (over the 1.85:1 of the previous DVD) gave it back the grandeur that it originally had when I saw it on opening night back in December 1991. And the plot was better served by the tighter editing--the extra scenes included on past home video releases were entertaining, but totally unnecessary.
The extra "Captains' Summit" was an entertaining conversation. It is worth one view, but probably no more.
This is a fabulous set, which I recommend to both Star Trek fans and general HD movie buffs. I do have to give Paramount extra credit for honoring the history and legacy of these films in their original forms, as we all saw them in our local theaters way back when, unlike a certain media mogul who's initials are G.E.O.R.G.E. L.U.C.A.S.
Order this set now, if you haven't done so already. Your BD player will be very happy.