Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection BRAY Cover Art
SRP $139.99 2.35:1 Dolby TrueHD 7.1 PARAMOUNT
 

Alas, the first "6" Star Trek films are now available on blu-ray from PARAMOUNT!  Actually, there are two boxed sets being made available, one comprising the first three films of the series, and another comprising the first 6.  As described below, PARAMOUNT has remastered these films with 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encoding and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixes!
 
The first film, "STAR TREK," directed by Robert Wise, has some impressive aspects going for it, but it's weighted down with a great amount of unnecessary pageantry, and while the special effects were ok by '70s standards, the time focused on them, makes the film painfully slow.
 
Fans will appreciate that the entire tv series cast is on hand for this debut. When a strange cloud heading towards earth, vaporizes Klingon ships and a Federation station, it's up to the Enterprise and its crew to try preventing Earth from a horrible demise.
 
Although the film has its share of flaws, mostly with its pacing, the actual storyline is intriguing and emulates the kind of magical interweaving of adventure, technology and awe that made up the best episodes of the original series. 
 
Presented in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Although there are moments wherein some macro-blocking occurs, most of the image is astounding, especially when considering its 30 year age! The detail is consistently dazzling, and while CGI has advanced by leaps and bounds, the remarkable depth achieved with this blu-ray, highlights the level of expertise given to the miniature models used in the film, and many of the effects still hold their own with modern state-of-the art effects technology. Colors are solid and often rich. A few scenes appear soft, but typically this image is excellent!
 
The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix is reference quality! This reviewer recalls being blown away by the CX Stereo sound of the pan&scan laserdisc in the early 80s. But, this lossy mix is certainly ranking up there with the best modern day aggressive mixes. From the opening battle sequence, wherein the cloud begins wreaking havoc, discrete, panning, and bass effects come to life, perfectly blanced with the memorable Jerry Goldsmith score. The mix certainly sounds better than it did in theaters, and it's hard to imagine it sounding better than it does here! GREAT JOB, PARAMOUNT!
 
Extras include a commentary track which is loaded with production facts, but weighted down with scene-descriptions as well.  featurettes exploring the film's production and effects are offered in full 1080p, as is the trailer. However deleted scenes, storyboards and tv spots are only offered in 480p.
 
"Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan" offers a great storyline, harkening back to a storyline from the original series built around "Khan," played again by Ricardo Montalban. When the USS Reliant mistakenly lands on the wrong planet hoping to find a world to test a "Genesis" device, the crew finds and is beset upon by "KHAN," and his misfits. KHAN wants the Genesis device for himself and exploits his captives, while concocting a scenario to eliminate his hated rival, James T. Kirk. Directed by Nicholas Meyer, "WRATH OF KHAN" is arguably the best of the 6 films, and the tight pacing and script go a long way in raising the bar for the other other films to compete with. The suspense built around the opening "surprise" scene still holds up well today, even though many will recognize its early "twist" has been used commonly since its debut here!
 
PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this release.  As with the previous film, there are instances wherein dirt and other defects pop up, but this rare and left-over from the original source material.  Detail is consistently dazzling and there are only a few scenes that appear either soft or flat. Contrast is great, with the inky blacks, offering terrific detail in dark scenes.
 
While certainly better than previous laserdisc and dvd offerings, the lossy 7.1 mix pales in comparison to the other 5 films in the series.  Surrounds kick in during action sequences, but they fail to offer the aggressive, bold impact one hopes will compliment the imagery. Bass feels restrained, and dynamic range is less impressive than most modern film's mixes.The James Horner score is well complimented, however, and the opening sequence sounds terrific, as do other scenes popping up sporadically throughout the film.
 
The commentary offered with Meyer, is great! Plenty of inside recollections of various star conflict as well as other development insights. A 2nd commentary offers Meyer with the film's producer, and it's even better!
 
Featurettes examining the film's production, effects and more, are offered in mostly 480p, however a featurette exploring the film's scoring, movie fan relics, "a tribute to Montalban" and other aspects of the production, are presented in full 1080p! 
 
"STAR TREK 3: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK," picks up pretty much where the 2nd film left off, with Kirk and the crew, devastated at the death of Spock.  However, upon realizing that Spock's "spirit" left him and entered McCoy, before his death, the Captain and most his mates comandeer the Enterprise, and head back to Genesis, with the intent of bringing Spock back to life!  Unfortunately, a Klingon, played by "Christopher Lloyd" has plans to prevent Kirk from succeeding, wanting the Genesis project device for his own plan to use as the ultimate weapon.
 
Although looking better than in any of its previous presentations, the 2.35:1 image is the weakest transfer of the 6 films on blu-ray. Typically, the image appears flat, and colors vary greatly from scene to scene, either looking rich and vibrant or unnatural. The increased resolution also heightens attention to grain and some sporadic artifacts popping up. It has some impressive moments, but it never comes close to achieving the best levels of quality offered on the other films in this set.
 
The 7.1 lossy mix presents some great surround effects. Bass presence is consistently noticeable and impressive, complimenting the film's action. The excellence of the mix is obvious with the perfect balance between the film's sometimes stirring score and layers of effects. 
 
Director Leonard Nimoy, with actress Robin Curtis, and the film's cinematographer and writer/producer, are on board for a great, entertaining, engaging, and sometimes funny commentary.  A 2nd commentary is dull and only for die-hard fans.  Featurettes around the film's effects, the script's storyline and the actors who played the "young" Spock, are offered with formats varying between 480p and 1080p.
 
Other featurettes, mostly in 480p, include "Speaking Klingon," and a look at "Star Trek's" involvement with the Science Fiction Museum, storyboards, the theatrical trailer and more.
 
"STAR TREK 4: THE VOYAGE HOME" picks up with Spock having been revitalized, and the crew heading back to face the court-martial awaiting them for their actions to save their buddy. However, a probe has emerged over Earth, presenting a strange signal, setting off huge disasters. Spock determines the signal was intended for humpback whales, a species that is extinct in the current 23rd century. So, the crew devise a method to time travel backwards to the "theater audience's current" time period, in order to secure the whales, bring them back to the future, and decipher the signal in order to prevent the destruction of Earth!  Along with a eco-green" theme that pre-dated the current ecological threats, there is also a great deal of humor, making "THE VOYAGE HOME" one of the most thoroughly enjoyable movies of the series. There are plenty of laughs, winking at the audience-kind of jokes and more! "STAR TREK 4: THE VOYAGE HOME" makes for great entertainment and holds up perfectly today, even appearing timely!
 
The 2.35:1 aspect ratio is intact, and while grain is intrusive at times, the image is much better than "SEARCH FOR SPOCK."  Typically, the image is filled with great detail, however, it never looks as natural as the first two films do, and the darker scenes tend to fall flat. Still better than previous dvd/laserdisc presentations, but short of where one hopes for with the resolution quality of blu-ray.
 
While less aggressive than the other film mixes in the series, the mix is more lively than most "comedy" mixes, and for the most part, "VOYAGE HOME" is comedy! In fact, "G-R-E-A-T comedy! The film's score and natural ambient effects are well balanced.  Discrete effects pop up occasionally to add an "a-ha!" impact, but for the most part, it's a light, entertaining mix.
 
The two commentaries offered here, make for the best of the ones in this boxed set! Nimoy and Shatner get along famously in their commentary. In fact, it's hard to believe they were ever less than best friends when listening to this! The breezy demeanor of their track compliments the relaxed, fun atmosphere of "THE VOYAGE HOME," perfectly! A 2nd track with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman(Star Trek 09, Transformers, Fringe) is also great fun, and shouldn't be missed!
 
"Behind-the-scenes" footage, interviews and retrospective examinations of the film, along with various other featurettes, most in 480p, but a few in 1080p, make for the best supplements here.  However, a look at the visual effects, and storyboard galleries should also please die-hard fans.  
 
As much as this reviewer enjoys Shatner, his turn as a director with "STAR TREK 5: THE FINAL FRONTIER" contributes to it being the worst of the films in the series.  A crisis emerges when the embassadors for a world wherein Romulans, Klingons and the federation, co-exist peacefully, are kidnapped. Behind it all,...Sybok, a Vulcan intent on taking over the Enterprise and using it to travel to the far reaches of space, hoping to find god!  The basic plot, not bad! The execution,...AWFUL! The bulk of the film's scenes are all throw-away moments!  The action scenes are too few and far betwee to make the film exciting, and "FINAL FRONTIER" is never intentionally funny. The campfire scene, a blatant rip-off of "BLAZING SADDLES" is embarassing to watch!  "FINAL FRONTIER" fails on so many levels, that it's surprising any other films were allowed to be made after it!
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The correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio is intact. The image varies from scene to scene, veering towards "quite good." There are some instances wherein the fleshtones are notably off, and the image falls flat, but, mostly the depth is excellent, and colors are vibrant. The park sequences stand out the best, with plenty of "jump-off-the-screen" depth. Blacks are not inky, but deep enough to convey great detail in darker scenes.
 
The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix is surprisingly quite aggressive. Even during the numerous "non-action" scenes, ambient and surround effects blend with music in a well balanced, 360 degree experience for the audience. Bass and discrete effects are plentiful and this is one of the best mixes of the bunch!
 
Tons of extras for this release! Two commentary tracks, one with the director aka William Shatner and Liz Shatner(dull!) and another, much more entertaining one with Michael and Denise Okuda and others exploring the film's failure in direction and many more areas. It's actually a great, highly recommended listen!
 
8 featurettes, most in 480p, but a couple(Star Trek honors Nasa)in 1080p.  Deleted scenes(480p), production gallery, storyboards and more!
 
Star Trek 6-The Undiscovered Country follows the Enterprise mission to protect a Klingon Chancellor to a space conference, after a Klingon mood explodes, making them an endangered race.  Kirk senses something's amiss, and his hunch is right when assassins kill the chancellor and other events point towards Kirk as being behind the killing. Wrongly sentenced to life on a tough prison colony, he and McCoy must escape in order to survive, as his faithful crew tries to prove their innocence.
 
The script is one of the best of the Star Trek series, offering plenty of character development, but also a compelling narrative. It never feels silly, and there are plenty of surprises throughout.
 
The supporting cast, including Christopher Plummer, are all great!

PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are rich and solid, and grain is less noticeable than in the other films. Detail is impressive throughout, and while a few scenes fall flat, most offer "jump-off-the-screen" depth. Blacks are never inky, but deep enough to offer fine detail in darker scenes. It's never as impressive as the best of the newer Paramount blu-ray images, but it's pretty good!
 
The lossy 7.1 mix is fantastic! From beginning to end, surrounds create a consistently immersive experience!  Bass and discrete effects interplay with music in a perfectly balanced environment, wherein the all important dialogue(moreso than in most "TREK" films)is never overshadowed. Close to reference quality!!!
 
 
Loaded with supplements! Two commentary tracks, the best with Nicholas Meyer and the screenwriter, discuss all aspects of the film's production and it's entertaining while still being informative! The 2nd track with fans, gets old quick and isn't recommended.
 
Various featurettes, in 480p are offered, along with the great(not-to-be-missed!)"TO BE OR NOT TO BE: KLINGONS AND SHAKESPEARE," a 1080p look at a real Klingon language performance of "Hamlet!" Hillarious! There's much, much more, as well, but most in standard 480p.
 
A 7th disc, "THE CAPTAIN'S SUMMIT," offers an hour plus feature in 1080p, made up of a three-part discussion hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, with Shatner, Nimoy, Jonathan Frakes, and perhaps the most beloved of the "captains," Patrick Stewart.  It's a great discussion, resembling the "CHARLIE ROSE show" at its best! "