Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition: The Complete Adventure

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/6/22;
Paramount;
Sci-Fi;
$106.99 UHD BD Three-Disc Set;
Standalone $19.99 BD, $30.99 UHD;
Rated ‘PG’ for sci-fi action and mild language.
Stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, James Doohan, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney, Persis Kambatta, Stephen Collins.

The fully remastered Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Cut finally arrives on HD disc in a nifty boxed set that also includes previous versions of the film, some solid bonus materials.

An extensive review of the remastered film and its history are available here from when the director’s cut debuted in 4K on Paramount+ earlier this year.

Director Robert Wise’s film that brought the crew of the Enterprise to the big screen looks and sounds just as stunning on 4K disc, which offers a few viewing options not available via streaming.

The standard Blu-ray and 4K releases for the director’s cut include the film and commentary on one disc, and a bonus disc of extras (which is a regular Blu-ray Disc for both the 4K and Blu-ray versions).

The movie is presented with two audio commentaries as well as a text commentary offering trivia and other information about the film.

The first audio commentary is from the 2001 DVD release of the director’s cut and features Wise, visual effects artists Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra, composer Jerry Goldsmith and actor Stephen Collins. It’s presented as a compilation of interviews, not a group discussion. Wise gets the most airtime and really delves into his intentions for the film and how they came up short originally.

The second audio commentary is a newly recorded group discussion with David C. Fein, Mike Matessino and Daren R. Dochterman, who led the 4K restoration efforts, and is a fun listen since they’re also big fans of the film.

Another audio option is an isolated track of Jerry Goldsmith’s beautiful music for the film. Since so much of the film involves immense visual effects sequences (and characters reacting to them), just the score on its own is almost enough to tell the story. Given how film’s main theme went on to be used for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” it has over time become as much associated with “Star Trek” than the music from the original series. Interestingly, the music track seems to have sourced audio from the scoring sessions, as the scenes begin with an announcement of which cue the orchestra will play.

The bonus disc includes a great eight-part documentary, running 48 minutes total, about the creation of the director’s edition and how it was ultimately restored to 4K after a 20-year wait. The disc also includes new presentations of deleted scenes, effects tests, costume tests and computer display graphics, as well as a ton of legacy bonus materials from the original DVD.

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The “Complete Adventures” collector’s set includes the 4K movie disc and the Blu-ray bonus disc, plus a third disc of the original theatrical cut in 4K.

As a special treat, this 4K disc of the theatrical cut also includes the 144 “Special Longer Version” of the movie that is essentially the extended version created for ABC in 1983 (running 12 minutes longer than the theatrical cut and eight minutes more than the director’s cut). The longer version has also been cleaned up for 4K, including finishing previously incomplete visual effects — most infamously, the scene of Capt. Kirk leaving the airlock in a spacesuit in which the surrounding soundstage is clearly visible. The scene is now complete thanks to digital effects, though there’s still a continuity gaffe as Kirk’s spacesuit is different from the one he’s wearing a few minutes later (which is why the scene was originally cut in the first place — it’s a remnant of a previous iteration of the scene that was reworked because the visual effects were too complicated). The unaltered version of the scene is offered as an extra.

For many fans, the ’83 cut was how they first saw the movie, as after the television airing it was the only version released on VHS for several years. The added scenes were released on DVD only as deleted scenes, so finally having it available in its full configuration on disc offers quite a dose of nostalgia, even if it isn’t the best way to experience the story. Comparing the three versions, however, does offer some interesting insights on the process of editing a film into its best presentation.

The special longer version is included on disc only in the “Complete Adventures” set; it’s not available with any of the standalone releases of the director’s or theatrical cuts, or the new 6-film 4K boxed set.

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The theatrical cut comes with a previously available audio commentary from a slew of “Trek” experts, plus the isolated score.

The “Complete Adventures” set comes in an outer sleeve containing hardcover slipcase that features a fold-out cutaway map of the Enterprise, with slots to house the discs. The slipcase also has a reformatted note from Wise originally from the 2001 DVD, plus a pocket that contains a booklet of production art and a bevy of collectibles, including a mini-poster, reproductions of promotional photos from the film, and stickers.

Paramount Releasing ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition’ on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Sept. 6

Paramount Home Entertainment will release Star Trek: The Motion Picture—The Director’s Edition on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Sept. 6.

A continuation of the 1966-69 “Star Trek” TV series, 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture featured the return original cast members William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig and James Doohan. They were joined by newcomers Stephen Collins and Persis Khambatta in an adventure that saw the Enterprise exploring a alien vessel called V’Ger that threatened the existence of humanity.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture became the fourth-highest-grossing movie of the year with $82.3 million domestically, and earned three Academy Award nominations, for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Music, Original Score.  The film brought the “Star Trek” franchise from television to the big screen, but due to a string of production problems and an ironclad release date it was rushed to theaters with incomplete visual effects and forced editing choices, clocking in at 131 minutes. Many critics felt the film’s pace was slow and ponderous. A 1983 television edit for ABC added 12 minutes of deleted scenes back into the film.

In 2001, director Robert Wise revisited the film to refine the edit and enhance the visual effects with CGI. His updated vision, coming in at 136 minutes, was released on DVD in standard-definition, but has never been available in high-definition until now, as the new visual effects had to be re-rendered in 4K. Restored by producer David C. Fein with preservationist Mike Matessino, both of whom originally collaborated with Wise (who died in 2005), the film was prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and an immersive Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Fein and Matessino assembled a team of special effects experts, led by returning visual effects supervisor Daren Dochterman, and utilized the resources in the Paramount Archives to re-create the effects not just in HD, but in Ultra HD.  

The remastered director’s cut was released on the Paramount+ streaming service in April and in select theaters in May.

The Sept. 6 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray includes the film on a 4K disc presented in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, as well as Dolby Atmos, a bonus Blu-ray with new and legacy special features, and a code for a digital copy of the film.

Extras on the 4K disc include a new audio commentary with Fein, Matessino and Dochterman; an archival commentary with Wise, Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Jerry Goldsmith and Stephen Collins​; and a text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda​.

Extras on the bonus Blu-ray include the new eight-part documentary “The Human Adventure, detailing how the director’s edition came to life:

    • “Preparing the Future” — How the remastering began;
    • “A Wise Choice” — The storied history of Robert Wise;
    • “Refitting the Enterprise” — How the Enterprise design shaped future Federation starships;
    • “Sounding Off” — Exploring new dimensions of sound in Dolby Atmos;
    • “V’ger” — The conception and restoration of an iconic alien antagonist;
    • “Return to Tomorrow” — “Reaching an already high bar with new CGI effects;
    • “A Grand Theme” — Behind Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic, influential music score that shaped the franchise’s future;
    • “The Grand Vision” – The legacy and evolving reputation of this classic movie.

Additional extras include newly released deleted scenes, effects tests, costume tests and computer display graphics, plus additional legacy bonus materials.

The 1979 movie will also be released in a limited-edition collector’s set called Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition: The Complete Adventure, which includes the new director’s edition, the theatrical cut, and the TV broadcast “Special Longer Version” all on 4K Ultra HD along with special features on Blu-ray. The TV cut is offered in widescreen for the first time. The Complete Adventure will be presented in deluxe packaging along with exclusive collectibles, including reproductions of original promotional material, a booklet with behind-the-scenes images, stickers and more.

‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition: The Complete Adventure’

“The Director’s Edition on 4k Ultra HD delivers an experience that is far more intimate, engaging, and powerful thanks to the hard work of everyone involved,” Fein said in a statement. “In building The Complete Adventure, we appreciated that many people who were first introduced to the film through the full-frame release of the ‘special longer version’ have missed it. I’m excited that it will now be available for the first time in widescreen 4K Ultra HD. After so many years, it’s deeply rewarding to finally deliver Robert Wise’s definitive director’s edition for fans to enjoy at home.”

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The director’s edition and theatrical cuts of Star Trek: The Motion Picture will also be available as part of Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture Collection, also arriving Sept. 6 from Paramount. The 15-disc boxed set contains 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray versions of all six big-screen adventures featuring the complete original series cast. The 1979 movie was followed by 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

The 4K presentations all offer Dolby Vision and HDR-10, and the set includes bonus materials and digital copies for each film. In addition, Star Trek II and Star Trek VI will also include the director’s cuts of those films.

This also marks the 4K disc debuts of Star Trek V and VI. The theatrical cuts of the first four movies were released as a 4K boxed set in September 2021. Paramount Sept. 6 will also release all six films individually on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. All six films, including the director’s cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, will also be released on regular Blu-ray.

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The new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases are timed to coincide with the 56th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of “Star Trek” on Sept. 6, 1966 on Canada’s CTV network. The show debuted in the United States two days later, Sept. 8, on NBC.

In addition, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan will return to select theaters on Sept. 4, 5 and 8 in special engagements presented by Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Paramount Pictures. Tickets can be purchased at www.fathomevents.com or at participating theater box offices.

Remastered ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition’ Arrives on Paramount+ April 5

The 4K restoration of Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Cut will debut exclusively on streaming service Paramount+ on April 5

Five months later, in September, the studio will issue the film on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with extensive new bonus content, details of which will be released on a later date. 

Fans will also have the opportunity to see the remastered Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Cut on the big screen when Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures bring it to theaters for an exclusive two-day event May 22 and May 25. Tickets will go on sale Friday, April 8 at FathomEvents.com.

Originally released in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture became the fourth top-grossing movie of the year and earned three Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Music, Original Score.  The film brought the “Star Trek” franchise from television to the big screen, but due to a string of production problems and an ironclad release date it was rushed to theaters with incomplete visual effects and forced editing choices, clocking in at 131 minutes. Many critics felt the film’s pace was slow and ponderous. A 1983 television edit for ABC added 12 minutes of deleted scenes back into the film.

In 2001, director Robert Wise revisited the film to refine the edit and enhance the visual effects with CGI. His updated vision, coming in at 136 minutes, was released on DVD in standard-definition, but has never been available in high-definition until now, as the new visual effects had to be re-rendered in 4K. Restored by producer David C. Fein with preservationist Mike Matessino, both of whom originally collaborated with Wise, the film has been prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack.  Fein and Matessino assembled a team of special effects experts, led by returning visual effects supervisor Daren Dochterman, and utilized the resources in the Paramount Archives to re-create the effects not just in HD, but in Ultra HD.  

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“I couldn’t be prouder and more thrilled to have completed the film in 4K,” Fein said in a statement. “Paramount offered unprecedented access to the original elements and exceptional support and the results are stunning.  Utilizing the latest discoveries and innovations of modern film production, The Director’s Edition delivers so much more today than was previously possible.  It’s an adventure you’ll never forget!”

The April 5 release date marks “First Contact Day,” the date in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact when the Vulcans first made contact with humans on April 5, 2063, near the town of Boseman, Mont.

The Set-Up

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Available via Warner Archive;
Warner;
Drama;
$21.99 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias, Alan Baxter.

To some extent overlooked when it came out the same year (1949) as Kirk Douglas’s star-making rival boxing drama Champion, Robert Wise’s The Set-Up finally attained the rep it deserves after many years. Even Raging Bull’s director (you know who, and he’s not an Irishman) says he was struck by how good it is when he belatedly got to see it on a 35mm print. We’re dealing here, of course, with a Blu-ray taken off a 35 — but it’s a Blu-ray with the usual high Warner Archive standards, and Milton Krasner’s photography captures every drop of the picture’s sweaty locker room squalor. How did cinematographer Milton Krasner so easily transition from small-screen black-and-white (say, All About Eve and this) to CinemaScope and DeLuxe Color (Three Coins in the Fountain, The Seven-Year Itch, An Affair To Remember)? Write it down as a subject for another day.

The day in The Set-Up is actually a night — and one shot in what’s pretty close to real time. The great Robert Ryan, who was a successful real-life boxer at Dartmouth, is here a tank-town puncher at the end of what career he’s had — age 35 (around the time a boxer had better look around for other employment) and relegated to a bout to take place after the evening’s Main Event has already taken place but with still more beer and popcorn to unload to the crowd of predominantly slugs who’ve been watching. Just across the street on one of the most expressive “outdoor” movie sets I can ever recall seeing is the spartan room Ryan’s “Stoker” character shares with a wife (Audrey Totter) in the ill-named “Hotel Cozy.” (The size of it probably does mandate intimacy.) She’s finally had it — not with him (on the contrary) but with using the free ticket provided by the event’s so-called management. Even that price isn’t right to watch her husband getting pummeled.

Two other subplots dominate a very tight screenplay (from a Joseph Moncure March poem about a black boxer) by Art Cohn, the Mike Todd biographer who was killed in the same New Mexico plane crash that also took that producer’s life when he was married to Elizabeth Taylor. One deals with the overall locker room retinue of attending physician, all-round nurse/cut-man (played by one of my favorite character actors, Wallace Ford) and an array of dubious boxing hopefuls and never-were punch-drunks who are awaiting their own bouts to begin. The remaining co-narrative deals with a despicably cruel act of duplicity: Stoker/Ryan’s manager (George Tobias) has sold him out to take a fall because a low-end mobster wants to groom Stoker’s opponent for better things (which likely means a few quick-money bouts before this rookie lunk, who’s unlikely ever to see any of the cash, gets discarded as well). This is bad enough, but no one in Stoker’s corner has told him about the fix, so sure are they that he can lose the fight all by himself.

There’s something close to another subplot as well, and this one involves the so-called fans, who are even more bloodthirsty than the grandmothers in tennis shoes who filled the stands during the local fixed wrestling matches in my hometown — televised on Saturday afternoons and sponsored by a Chevy dealer. There’s one guy played by Herbert Anderson, later the father on TV’s “Dennis the Menace,” whose approach to the role too directly hits the nail on the head in cornball fashion and thus always takes me out of the film.

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But the others are pretty colorful, including a woman fan who looks a little like a worn or stressed-out version of “Father Knows Best” star Jane Wyatt might have had husband Robert Young (who played an insurance salesman on that enormously popular Emmy magnet) just admitted at the family dinner table that he’s just a double-indemnity “unusual death” life insurance policy to a Bond villain. There’s also a blind guy whose companion describes the ring carnage to him and a double-dipper who listens to a baseball game on a portable radio. Director Wise, who shares separate, unintegrated commentaries by Martin Scorsese (lotta Oscars in that combo) notes that a lot of this fan material came from what he personally observed in the pre-filming research he did. Wise was such a stickler for prep that he even watched an execution before he made I Want to Live!).

This is an impressive amount of material to cover in a short running time (72 minutes) as the main narrative time bomb ticks: What’s the wronged fighter, who, for starters, is suddenly feeling his oats in the ring, going to do when he learns that he’s supposed to take a dive? The fight scenes here are rough and convincing; not only had actor Ryan boxed at Dartmouth, but so had the actor playing his opponent: Hal Fieberling, who not long after changed his screen name to Hal Baylor. (He later had an elaborate screen brawl with John Wayne in the climax of the HUAC camp-fest Big Jim McLain.) The stalwarts still remaining in the stands after the main event get more than they could have anticipated — major if monetary crowd thrills that pay the guys in the ring so little that only dreams of some future “big score” (fortunes controlled, of course, by hoods) that might bring them fame, hot women and, in the dreams of one self-deluder here, a Hollywood contract. If Humphrey Bogart’s swan song The Harder They Fall is still perhaps the toughest screen indictment of boxing’s underbelly, The Set-Up probably ranks second.

Ryan, who so often played malevolent sociopaths in this period at RKO, is here not just a sympathetic character but one with something close to dignity when he gently chastises the crass behaviors of other fighters as they await their turn in the arena. Totter is his match, and their scenes together are heartfelt as she looks at her husband’s whopper of a cauliflower ear. This is another Warner Archive release where the classic black-and-white cinematography leaps off the screen in all its crispness and depth of field. In an aside on this long ago, carried-over commentary (Wise died in 2005), the director bemoans the inability of today’s young audiences to appreciate black-and-white. He does this without being churlish about it because he was one of the all-time nice guys — and besides, on this subject, I can easily be churlish enough for the both of us.

If anything, Scorsese is on the Blu-ray commentary even more than Wise is, and what better choice than the director of Raging Bull — who, in an admission I recall from other interviews, had no interest in boxing when he took on the project that couldn’t quite make Jake LaMotta a matinee idol. (Scorsese adds, however, that his father and uncles were huge fight fans and passed along lore.)

As it turns out, though, the younger director was a huge Wise fan, which given Scorsese’s love for the editing room, isn’t any knock-you-down surprise when you remember that Wise was the editor of Citizen Kane before he began directing. Marty goes on a lot about Wise’s career in general, noting, for instance, that neither The Set-Up nor Executive Suite (a different milieu entirely) has a musical score, which turned out in both cases to be an effective artistic decision. Scorsese even has not unfavorable things here to say about Wise’s late-career The Hindenburg and Audrey Rose (which I believe Andrew Sarris picked as worst movie of its year), which makes him the friend that every movie needs. There’s no question, though, that The Set-Up is a minor classic that was Wise’s personal favorite of his early RKO period — which also included The Body Snatcher, the deliciously nasty Born to Kill and the underrated Blood in the Moon.

Mike’s Picks: ‘The Major and the Minor’ and ‘The Set Up’