“Star Trek (2009)” is presented in a 1080p 2.40:1 aspect ratio Blu-Ray. Video quality is terrific. A very light film grain is present which is quite accurate compared to the theatrical presentation. Black levels are inky and deep, colors are vivid but still accurate. Close-ups demonstrate a lot of detail, especially facial close-ups. Space scenes are also swimming with detail, since most every space ship in this film is in various numbers of pieces or states of damage. Noticeable edge-enhancement and digital noise reduction are non-existent.
Simply put, this is five star material all the way. Anyone who enjoys action/sci-fi eye candy for their HD setup would do well to purchase this disc. It is demo-worthy material. This may be the single best Blu-Ray I have seen – it at least ties in visual quality with the excellent Braveheart and Frost/Nixon discs.
Sound is presented in a well-balanced Dolby TrueHD mix, which is notable for not only its punch and vibrancy, but also the fact that it never drowns out dialogue. This is something that many action movies fail to accomplish, and it is most appreciated, at least by this viewer. I HATE it when I have to constantly adjust the volume on the fly in order to hear whispers of dialogue, only to have my speakers threaten to blow out when some sudden burst of noisy action occurs. “Star Trek (2009)” is wonderfully well-done in this respect. Surround channels get a lot of work, bass is booming at appropriate moments, so just like the video, audio is stellar. Also included are commentaries with Director and writers (no, they do not apologize for various inconsistencies and mistakes) and some foreign language tracks. The subtitles are a little odd – sometimes they fail to transcribe dialogue. 95% of the stuff is there, but there are clearly things missing – Kirk says “wow” upon seeing the Enterprise, and it is nowhere to be found in the subtitle track. Not a deal-breaker, just weird.
Extras are copious and presented in HD, which is great. However, this disc suffers from a recent trend in home video extras – they are split into 30 separate chunks, presumably to look better on box copy. So you are forced to navigate a menu with 30 choices, with no markers for what you’ve already seen, in order to see all of the features. This is too bad, because the features are really, really good. If they had been spliced into one 2-hour making of feature, one set of deleted scenes, and one gag reel, this would be just about the perfect set of extras. Instead, you are made to do “work” instead of just enjoying the “fun.” The deleted scenes, by the way, are also in HD, and most would have made the movie better. They should have just finished the effects and incorporated them into the film proper.
In the special features, the producers and director make it very clear that their guiding question when making the film was “Can we make it cool?” Well, they’ve succeeded at making it “cool.” Unfortunately in making this their emphasis, they have also made some severe missteps that make it difficult to swallow as a serious Trek fan.
So I’ll review this movie wearing two hats. First, for “the rest of you:”
“Star Trek (2009)” offers a bold re-imagining of a venerable television science fiction franchise. To a certain extent, it sheds much of the baggage accumulated over 40 years of television and films, giving non-Trekkies an easy entree into the universe.
We are given the tale of Kirk, Spock and McCoy taking the reins of the Starship Enterprise, in a galaxy populated by both humans and other races. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) is a brash young man who is set adrift by the attack of a Romulan villain upon the ship carrying his parents. Without the influence of his father, a Starfleet officer, Kirk has an aimless childhood, squandering his intellect and his drive on bar brawls and car thefts. Luckily, he is intercepted by the wise, gruff Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and challenged to make a better life for himself and to live up to his ability by joining Starfleet.
There, he meets fellow cadets Uhura (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho), and an irritating instructor, the cool, logical Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto). Their contrasting styles immediately put them at odds with each other. Spock has grown up the child of two worlds, with a human mother, and a father from Vulcan, a planet whose culture has embraced logic and the shedding of emotion, except perhaps the emotion of racism against humans.
Before their education is complete, they are presented with the threat of the same villain who had killed Kirk’s dad 25 years prior – Nero (Eric Bana). Turns out Nero is from the future, and is bent on revenge for the destruction of his home world, Romulus. In a plot development somewhat like “Space…
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The minor disappointments I had with some little items are buried by the amount of great things that is the Star Trek Blu. The packaging is the single hinged chassis with cardboard slip cover, but the info sheet (typical rear cover art) is a hot-glued paper that cannot fit anywhere once it comes off. The resulting Blu art front is a head shot of Pine and the back is Quinto.
The picture is as good as would be expected, with plenty of great space effects, the heavy lens glare that Abrams likes does not bleed too bad but ILM does not disappoint. They went with TrueHD which gives an adequate immersion, some of the best tests were with Spocks ship and that unique sound (but 7.1 DTS would have been nice). Plenty of reference points throughout, but even with that clarity I still couldn’t get a read on some of the little things (tried freezing the fence signs in the Corvette scene, freezing some of the panel displays to read what the actors were looking at, etc.). But what takes the time and is worth every moment for the supplement geeks like me is the entire disc 2.
Disc 1: Menus are unfortunately only minimal still animation (no live action or HD pics).
Commentary by the makers.
Disc 2: Blue screen animated left sided selections. Most items pop up with an “extended” option that has an icon appear when watching each documentary to facilitate viewing little snippets of additional material, or each one can be watched individually – no play all on anything with this disc.
* 16:41 To Boldly Go. Several extensions including the Kirk dilemma (1:58), more Green Girl stuff (3:25). The main piece covers aspects of creation, whys and what fors. All of these supplements are HD interviews of the filmmakers spliced with low def footage (past and present Treks).
* 28:53 Casting. Once again all HD present footage mixed with grainy low def shots of behind the scenes – gives some good material on why we saw who we did.
* 24:33 Starships. Concepts, art design and some of my favorite stuff on the making of regarding construction. Seven extensions are selectable here including Warp Drive and Paint stuff.
* 16:30 Aliens. Shows the meetings and thought process behind some of the critters and humanoids. Five extensions here.
* 16:10 Planets. Some nice history for Trek regarding the Vasquez Rocks, which showed an obvious deleted sequence – made me look forward to those even more.
* 9:22 Props and Costumes. One extension here about Klingons – which led to another whole deleted sequence I was now REALLY wanting to watch them.
* 9:45 Sounds. I enjoyed this one the most as the sounds intrigued me when I first saw this in theaters. Nice homage/respect paid to the old series connections.
* 8:47 Gene Roddenberry vision. A nice history with at least half of it being Nimoy narrating/being interviewed (there was a blatant absence of someone here but you will notice that through this entire set).
* 13:30 Deleted Scenes – FINALLY. Play all option with commentary on/off of Abrams, Kurtzman.
- Spock’s birth. Throughout all of these you notice Winona’s entire screen time was removed. Nice little plug on how he gets his name.
- Klingon battle with the Narada, effects unfinished – which leads into an entire storyline removal – did not agree with the reasons for the removal but oh well.
- Dysfunctional home life of the early Kirk sequence. Explains who that kid was on the road and who the voice was on the car phone.
- Spock’s parents arguing about which side Spock should embrace.
- Klingon Prison Planet sequence – wow. I want this in the director’s cut. Would have explained a great deal of how Nero and the Narada disappeared.
- Vulcan sequence prior to destruction (Vasquez Rocks).
- Kirk and Green Girl – can never have too much of that. Once you see this you can find out what Uhura and Kirk were really talking about in the theatrical cut (Klingon Prison – not battle).
- Scene involving more Green Girl and Kirk defeating the Maru test – good scene.
- Kirk apologizing to Green Girl – had to go once the others were cut.
* Simulator: Mix of animated and slight HD footage of interactive material on the Enterprise and the Narada. The vast majority of material centers on the Narada (weapons, propulsion etc.).
* 6:22 Gag Reel. A brief retro title sequence followed by a hilarious slew of swearing by even the best (priceless watching Nimoy cuss his lines). Fast paced and fun.
* 3 trailers.
Everything subtitled in French, Spanish, & Port.
Disc 3. Digital copy and game demo. Did not use either.
Overall, I had a great time going through all of this and I honestly think even the discerning Trekkie will be happy with this product. Yes, I feel the deleted scenes should have been…
9/8/66. It’s a badge that Original Trekkers wear proudly — the date that the very first Star Trek episode (“The Man Eater”) appeared on television. I bear it, and Star Trek hooked me that very Thursday evening, and for the next three years, I sat through all 69 episodes, both the best (“Oh Boy! The Trouble with Tribbles”) and the worse (“Oh, no! Not that one!”). When they began to appear in syndication, I watched them over and over until I could repeat the lines with the characters. And, no, I’m not going to tell you who my favorite character was.
It’s been 43 years since that first episode. I’m still hooked.
A lot of my compatriots have said that J.J. Adams’ “reboot” of the Star Trek franchise went too far — they weren’t ready for some of the things that happened (and, for the sake of those readers who have not seen the movie, I’m not going to reveal what those things are). They didn’t like the changes in the mythos that occurred. OK, fine. Different strokes …
I, however, love this film, and would have gone to see it over and over again if it hadn’t been that my darling didn’t really want to (and our budget didn’t allow it). So what if things changed? It’s an alternate universe — and any Trekker worth her salt will recognize those occur — Remember “Mirror, Mirror?” A planet blows up, and I admit, given the planet, I’m pretty sad (no, it’s not Earth). I’m also sad that Scottie used Admiral Archer’s favorite beagle for an experiment, and it hasn’t been seen since (Okay, so one slipped out).
However, the most powerful ideas and characters remain true to their alternate others: Kirk is strong, handsome, creative in a crisis (and may be a womanizer, although he doesn’t get the woman he wants here), even if he’s not William Shatner. Spock struggles to keep his emotions in check and his logic foremost (tremendously well-played by Zachary Quinto). “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban, unexpectedly unlike many of his fantasy and SF rolls)is humane, funny, and passionate — and a lot better looking than the well-beloved, late DeForest Kelley. Bruce Greenwood (“The Core”), Simon Pegg, Ben Cross (superb as Sarak) and Winona Ryder (Amanda! And I am getting to be too old) are all wonderful, and add strength, passion and substance to both their characters and the film. It was, however, sad to see Leonard Nimoy, as “our” Mr./Abassador Spock, late in his life, and know we probably never see him in another Star Trek film.
So. Buy it? Damn straight. Get it for your children and yourselves.
Star Trek would have never died for me, anyway, because I’ve dreamed of walking on another planet ever since I saw that first episode. But now, Star Trek will come alive for a fourth generation to learn those same dreams.