Review – Star Trek The Next Generation Movies Blu-ray Box Set

This week Paramount released a new box set for all four of The Next Generation movies on Blu-ray, which is a partner to the TOS Movies box set released in May (see TrekMovie review). In addition to the HD versions of the movies, the set is packed with new special features and commentaries. Find out if it is worth adding to your collection in our review below.

 

 

REVIEW – STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION MOTION PICTURE COLLECTION ON BLU-RAY

PACKAGING

Paramount kept the same style of packaging as the TOS movie set which uses ultra slim snap cases — one for each movie plus the Star Trek: Evolutions bonus disc. The box front has a lenticular graphic of the Enterprise-E and a Borg sphere that appears to move as you turn the box.


Front and back of box

 
The TOS and TNG movie sets together

The slim cases have an embossed silver portrait photo of a crew member (one for each disc case) and details for the specific movie on the back.

NAVIGATION

The load times for the disc are quite reasonable (~30 seconds). However there are effectively two loading sequences because every disc starts with a Paramount High Definition animated logo (which is not skipable) and then the third Star Trek (2009) trailer which ends in a splash screen that says it is available on DVD and Blu-ray now (which is incorrect, but will be for the European release of the TNG set which is timed to come out with ST’09 in November) as well as an advertisement for the TOS Movies on Blu-ray, thankfully these are skipable by pressing the Pop-up Menu button on your remote.

The menus are identical to the TOS Movies. The menu opens with a star field and the name of the movie and it zooms past stars and planets and eventually it pulls back out to show that this is all contained in a delta shield which slowly rotates while the menu bar pops up at the bottom of the screen. The background music is a selection from the soundtrack of the specific movie.

AUDIO

Paramount offers up the soundtracks in Dolby TrueHD lossless compression with 5.1 surround mixes. All of the movies sound great, owing much to the fact that they all were produced recently enough to have modern 5.1 surround mixes.

VIDEO TRANSFERS

Here’s the good news — unlike the TOS movies, all 4 of the Next Generation movies look quite good. Insurrection is the only one that looks “processed”, it has been hit with some digital noise reduction and then re-sharpening. Thankfully Insurrection isn’t nearly as bad as the TOS movies. Generations, First Contact, and of course Nemesis (being the newest) look fantastic, with Insurrection only a tiny bit behind.



Star Trek: Generations



Star Trek: Insurrection



Star Trek: First Contact



Star Trek: Nemesis

The new HD transfers bring to light a slight irony — the most recent movies (Insurrection and Nemesis) use somewhat primitive CG (by today’s standards) which can actually look a bit worse than the tasteful mix of CG and physical models used in First Contact.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Each movie gets all of the previous DVD special features ported over, naturally those are in SD. There are at typically five new special features per disc which are in HD.

As with the TOS movies set, the slightly cheesy "Starfleet Academy" featurette for each movie is back, which is basically a quick overview of the events of the movie done by a woman in a post-Star Trek: Nemesis style uniform briefing people on the “historic events” of the movie.

Each film also gets a round-table discussion lead by author Larry Nemecek. The panel includes our own editor-in-chief Anthony Pascale, Jeff Bond (Geek Magazine and Trekmovie contributor), and Charlene Anderson (The Planetary Society). These tend to be pretty decent discussions about each movie, the production surrounding it and little tidbits, etc. Each are around 10 mins.

As noted before, each movie disk has additional brand new featurettes in HD (for the complete list see our press release article). Most are pretty interesting. Below are just a sampling of some of what you can expect

“Industrial Light & Magic — The Next Generation” (First Contact disc) — This is the companion piece to the TOS movies ILM documentary. Here the ILM folks discuss their work in Generations and First Contact. Touching on how they redid the Enterprise D in Generations to give it enhanced detail on the big screen. The transition to the Enterprise E on First Contact and the balance of CG and physical models. Interesting fact: the Borg Cube model was only 30 inches wide!

“Greetings from the International Space Station” (First Contact disc) — this is an interview from space with commander Mike Fincke (who had a cameo on Star Trek Enterprise) of the 18th mission to the ISS, discusses his love for Trek and how the ISS is the start of working internationally in space. He also talks about the risks and challenges of working in space.

“Westmore’s Legacy” (Insurrection disc) — Michael Westmore is the go-to makeup man for Trek from the TNG era. His family has done movie makeup for generations. Fun fact: the makeup crew on First Contact made the Borg eye pieces blink out different cast and crew names in Morse code so that they would all blink differently.

New Commentaries

In addition to the existing commentaries from the DVD editions a new commentary has been recorded for each film as well.

Generations has David Carson (director) with Manny Coto (fan/Enterprise producer and 24 producer). Nice insights from Carson on the production and the fan perspective from Manny.

First Contact has a fan commentary with Damon Lindelof (producer of Star Trek 2009 and Lost) and Anthony Pascale (editor of TrekMovie.com). This is quite the chatty session with Damon cracking lots of jokes, including ribbing Tony wearing a full on Klingon outfit and drinking bloodwine at the recording session. The pair also riff on the odd and even rule of Trek movies and Damon talks about becoming a fan through TNG. There is also serious talk about how Picard is capable of learning and being affected by trauma and discussions (and joking) about timetravel, timelines, and continuity (including discussing the new Star Trek movie).

Insurrection has a new comentary from director Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis (Troi) for Insurrection. The pair have great chemistry and lot energy and a really fun time discussing the movie, including mocking things a bit (like going through and talking about everyone, including sniping about Patrick Stewart getting an
Associate Producer credit). Frakes pimps his own directing job, but all in good fun. Sirtis confides that she hadn’t seen the movie since the premier. Jokes about the Ba’ku all being Sweedish since they’re all white blond people.

Nemesis has a new trivia filled commentary from designers and Star Trek historians Michael and Denise Okuda. As always the Okudas are a wealth of Trek knowledge. Tons of details on the background of the production and bits of Trek trivia, such has how the wedding scene was filmed on the same soundstage that TOS filmed most of its planetscapes.

The 5th Disc — Star Trek Evolutions

As with the TOS set, there is a bonus disc, this time it contains 7 extra documentaries about the Star Trek movie universe.

The Evolution of the Enterprise — A walkthrough of various Enterprise ships rendered in CG. A narrator gives an overview of what we know about the missions of the ship. Trek designer John Eaves is interviewed about the different designs.

"Villains of Star Trek" — Discusses the villains of the 10 Trek movies. Nick Meyer, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman are interviewed about Trek villains.

"I Love the Star Trek Movies" — How various production/writing crew on other Trek projects (DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and Trek 2009) fell in love with Star Trek through the 10 movies.

"Farewell to Star Trek: The Experience" — this is a documentary from the performers of The Experience about the last day of The Experience in September 2008. You also get two additional features about Star Trek: The Experience, in the form of walkthroughs of the "Klingon Encounter" and "Borg Invasion 4D" rides.

"Charting the Final Frontier" — this opens with an interactive 3D chart of known space in Star Trek with markers where the events of each of the 10 movies took place. Selecting one launches a discussion about the area of space by “Star Trek Star Charts” author Jeffrey Mandel.

Blu-ray Exclusives

Library Computer — Library Computer adds a computer graphic user interface that runs across and down the side of the screen which pops down different topics as they occur in the movie. This functions just like the TOS movies version but with a TNG computer (LCARS) style. For example: in the opening of Generations you get Dom Perignon, champagne, christening, and Enterprise-B. Selecting one brings up a small description and picture at the bottom of the screen. Much of the information is pulled from the Okuda text-only commentaries that were on the DVDs.

BD Live – Online Extras — BD Live is an optional component to Blu-ray that allows for extra content and interactive features to be downloaded or streamed over a high-speed Internet connection. You must have a BD Live (also called Profile 2.0) player and the requisite 1GB (or more) of flash memory connected to your player for download space.

During the review period there was only one BD Live feature available (but there were spots for more): Star Trek IQ. As advertised on the product box you can take quizzes, make your own, and post them for others to take. To save quizzes you must first setup a user name and password with Paramount’s BD Live website from a PC. The quizzes relate the specific disc you have in and it pulls clips from the disc that are usually relevant to the questions.

BOTTOM LINE – Blu-ray

Paramount clearly intends the TNG set to be part of a larger set with the TOS movies. The menus and special features are all a continuous experience. Unlike the TOS movies, I can give an unqualified “thumbs up” on the TNG boxed set. Paramount packed in the special features and the movies look and sound fantastic.

If you have any of the 1st editions of the movies on DVD they don’t hold up well at all to being displayed on an HDTV, I would say run, don’t walk, to the store and grab the new Blu-ray versions. Those with the newer special editions have a little bit of a tougher time since they look quite a bit better. However, if you want to see the most detail you’ve seen from these movies since watching them in the theater, this is how to do it. With a street price of around $45-$50 this makes it quite a good deal for a Blu-ray boxed set.

BOTTOM LINE – DVD set

The new TNG set is also available in a DVD box set. The only real advantage of this set to the original DVDs are the new special features. The new set contains some of the special features outlined above, including the new commentaries and the bonus disk (see press release article for full details on the difference between the sets). At $35 for a street price, this is the set to have if you don’t already have these movies in your collection, but if you do then it may be harder to justify double-dipping just for the special features. And if you just want First Contact on DVD, you can pick that up individually (see below).

 

Individual movie sets
Paramount also released four of the Star Trek movies on Blu-ray and DVD. These individual releases have the transfers, plus the same features available on the Blu-ray or DVD box sets, except for the bonus disks.
 

Next Generation
Movie Collection
Blu-ray DVD
ST: II
Wrath of Khan
ST: IV Voyage Home
ST: The Undiscovered Country
ST: First Contact

 

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I’m truly hating the box art… front and back. Klingon Bird of Prey firing on the Enterprise-E??? Come on.

And that’s bad how exactly?

#1 It can be annoying, but you know what? Get over it and move on!

I did just now pick this up at Best Buy on sale for $50. I figure I would get it on sale now and return it if it got a bad review. Sounds like I am keeping it.

I do wonder–should I have just waited for the big set with all the movies? I am waiting to buy TOS movies–I want the Special Edition Movies.

Matt:

So these films have not been remastered for HD (like TWOK). It’s the simple fact that they are newer that allows them to look good/better in this format?

Interesting point that the NEM effects look old-fashioned. I watched it last month and had the same impression.

Great review, and it’s on my list, for sure.

Well I guess I’ll just have to run out and drop $100 on the TNG Movies and TOS S2 blu-rays… Yeah that sounds like a good idea!

This is a great set. I loved the feature on the Enterprise history. Some really nice NEW CG shots in there.

Strange to see how dated the Nemesis CGI looks with this level of image clarity. Check out the shot of the Romulan Senate… then look at the steps leading up to it. Why they were made with textures rather than modelled – in 2002, remember – I can only guess.

I’ve only looked at Generations, First Contact, and Nemesis so far. I have a 42″ LCD HDTV and I am not the best judge of A/V quality. Random thoughts… -The picture quality on GEN is miles ahead of the DVD which had serious sharpening/aliasing issues (jagged lines on Data’s forehead, for example). First Contact doesn’t look too shabby either. -The GEN trailers are included! -Still the same four deleted scenes – nothing else. -The GEN commentary with David Carson and Manny Coto (acting as moderator) is nice but the Moore/Braga one is much more candid and informative. Coto brings up a few irrelevant issues (asking David Carson if he knows about digital cinematography and the Red Camera) and they do get a few facts wrong (I believe the ships in the Nexus were CGI and not models, and the stellar cartography scene was done via a combination of bluescreen and translights, not just bluescreen). Carson does have high praise for the actors, the late director of photography John Alonzo, and composer Dennis McCarthy. (How come no one ever mentions Peter Berger? He edited four of the films!) -The Andrew Probert interview is cool but it’s only five minutes long!! They could have done a 30-minute featurette about him and his contributions to both TMP and TNG but we have five minutes instead. -The Dennis McCarthy interview was a nice bonus. (Watching all these DVD interviews over the decade, you can tell the longtime Trek vets are getting up there in… Read more »

@ 6. Really bad CG shots of the ships.

I’ll purchase this set, but I refuse to buy the TOS set until they make the extended versions available on blu-ray, and give ALL the films a proper hi-def restoration.

I do want to get them, but I wholeheartedly agree with #1. A Klingon Bird of Prey firing on the Enterprise-E? If they don’t include a mini-movie with that happening in the special features it’s kind of a ridiculous image to have on the back cover.

lol I can see the hands and camera reflected in the photograph of the box set.

I never have been a fan of CGI over physical models. And I’m not sure I ever will be. There’s just something flat about CGI compared to the 3-D aspect of reality. Just my preference.

Yay! Looking forward to these. :)

8 I think the Original Enterprise looks bad in CG, but the other ships looked fine. The models for all the ships starting from Generations were all CG anyway, with some exceptions.

Between this and the impending release of Star Trek 2009 on Blu-Ray, I am weakening my resolve not to upgrade… especially since my TV is nearly 15 years old.

Yeah, I suppose this all demands a technology upgrade, but I cannot quite justify it just yet (not until I get a job)…. just like I want to upgrade my digital SLR camera to a Canon 5D (or 7D).

Ah, sweet dreams are made of these.

I am really looking to getting this box set, looks like a great companion to the TOS movie set.

Looking forward to seeing First Contact on HD, its up there with TWOK as my fav Trek movie

That’s a gorgeous model shot of the Enterprise B. IMO

Odd how they have the Bird of Prey firing on the Enterprise E? That scene never happened in ANY Trek movie.

King Media did a great job with the three Star Trek:the Experience featurettes. They capture the emotions of that last day, and really show the love and dedication of the fans. Plus, each ride is showcased, so if you never got the opportunity to attend, it will give you a taste of what you missed!

Kind of funny– on that shot of the Enterprise-D saucer on the ground, the same 4 CG people are copied to different points along the hull. It is kind of funny–not a nitpick.

The thing that bothered me with the shot on the back is the Enterprise is firing from the rear, yet the bird of prey appears to be in front of the enterprise. At least it should be, seeing as how that bird of prey shot is the same one from Generations, just reversed.

It sounds as if they really went to town with the bonus features and extras. Nice!

Ewww, I never noticed that staircase in the Romulan city shot before. It’s amazing what you can get away with if you don’t freeze-frame, eh? ;)

I’m looking forward to that interview with John Eaves — and by the way, if any of you haven’t been to his blog, you really should go have a look. All sorts of cool Trek art to check out there.

The only thing I hated about the feature on the Las Vegas ride was that they didn’t include footage from Riker when he talks to you on the Bridge. Or in the Voyager ride where the Dr. talks to you. Hell, they didn’t even bother to show the actual ride footage itself. Real letdown.

huh??

“You also two [sic] get additional features for the two Star Trek: The Experience rides “Klingon Encounter” and “Borg Invasion 4D”, which give walkthroughs of each.”

Hey that huge saucer shot is really cool. Now we now where they got the big saucer in the debris field around Vulcan in the new movie.

I agree about the bird of prey fighting the Ent-E. Didn’t ever happen in the films and it looks fake. Kinda lame.

Picked up the set the other day, even though my usual store didn’t have it (but the store I got it from had it for $15 less than the usual store), went through most of the bonus material. Have one bone to pick with Anthony on the roundtable featurettes, which for the most part I thought were great, but they attack Insurrection as the less of the TNG, and don’t even mention the negative attention that Nemesis has generated from the fans, myself included (I didn’t even own a copy till I got the boxset).

It gives walkthroughs of the rides, but it cuts out at the end of the ride where you get the “Movie” part of the ride. It’s only the live action portions. It doesn’t have the part in the Borg Ride where the Holographic Dr. talks to you via monitor, for example.

“The load times for the disc are quite reasonable (~30 seconds)”

Seriously, why does it take 30 seconds to start a movie? What the hell is loading that needs 30 seconds? A “Paramount High Definition animated logo (which is not skipable).”
This is why I don’t buy digital video media anymore.

Even my ten year old DVD player doesn’t take this long to start playing a DVD.

Gentlemen, please!

My 3 year old Sony player started it up right away.

YAY Hi April So this collection is where the Paramount filmed Star Trek Experience Footage you told me about has finally surfaced! Good to know. I will be buying it just for the 3 Experience Features….I assume they are on the regular dvd collection as well as the blu ray collection!

Its always nice to see Aprils comments and to remind us all how we miss The Experience and all of the great employees and cast members like April that made it so special for us fans…

The least I can say is the image quality on the Blue Rays is outstanding. The sad part is I am still saving to get Blue Ray, not just the player but if you can play quality you need 1920×1080 and I’m at 1280×720. It’s good but not good enough. And the old question of, Which is better 1080i or 720p. Personally I like 720p better, less chance of jaggies and the image looks more robust because of the 60 frames per second. Then 1080p gives you 1920×540 every frame, but the eye seeing only on average 11 to 21 fps merges the odd and even scan line frames into one virtual image. And for motion thats 15fps on analog TV or at best 30fps on Digital TV (which some TV stations just upscale the 720×480 to the digital size and some create the higher frame rate by creating the missing in between frames by morphing the two frames to make the missing frame. This process leads to what seems like blur. This can be made less by sharping the image edge patterns. This is what 240fps and 120fps HDTV’s do. But to do this on live TV you need to video process the images at 4 to 8 times your viewing rate. CGI does this and creates beautiful images. The eye/brain transfer of data has limits also and your brain just does less detail in the image processing. But if your brain recalls the images from memory it is… Read more »

Who let Data in?

I found Generations to be incorrectly color timed wrong. It’s too green. Also the sound is too low on all of them. But I’m digging the clarity of the transfers. Not until Paramount gives the TOS movies a reworking will I buy them on Blu.

To all the people complaining about the box art, is it really any worse than, reusing stock footage of the tv series and star trek vi for some of the trailers.
seriously i think the box set looks great, and if you are going to sit there and nit pick over something as simple as a tiny picture on the back of the box then you have to much time on your hands.

For Enterprise (comments 25 & 30): yes we were all surprised by that as well. I don’t think it had anything to do with copyright issues (since it was Paramount’s material); it was more about contractual issues. The Star Trek actors who appeared in the filmed portion of the rides (including Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Robert Picardo, and Patrick Stewart) had been compensated for their roles; if Paramount had allowed their likenesses or voices to appear in the special features they would have had to pay them again for it. I’m sure that wasn’t in the budget, so the production company was very careful to exclude them from the feature.

Reading the description of that “fan commentary” of First Contact made me throw up in my mouth, sorry.

#37) Matt, I guess I did screw up it was to be i for interlaced, the odd thing in proofing it before submiting it I saw the p error and thought I corrected it ti i. But it is not the first time I go to fix an error an in a dislexic manor change it back to what it was before.

Guess messing up is what was meant to happen, and I had no choice of how it was going to be.

Wonder how long until Japans Ultra HD makes it to America, thats 4096x (1920 to 2560 have herd both but it’s still lab prototyping data), and also said to have 6 Dolby 5.1 sound tracks, so one disk can please 6 countries and bye bye to text captioning. Maybe they could try holographic sound with 30 source points.

But still the UHD is only 85% of the digital quality used in movie places, but still good enough to read fine print. Wait to see what nanotechnology gives you for image resolution in the next 25+ years, you will not be counting pixels and lines, you’ll be talking nano-meters and wave lengths of light. And Media storage on disks will use holograms to give days of HD or a few hours of life like Hi Def.

I haven’t seen the set yet but regarding the roundtable commentary, I think it was an act of will on everyone’s part to find anything nice to say about Nemesis–I think we spent 20 minutes on each film and obviously they edited them down quite a bit, and in fact I did wonder after we did the Nemesis discussion whether certain things I said would get cut. We went in knowing nobody was going to be able to just unload on any of the films but I think we tried to acknowledge and discuss what we thought were weak aspects when we could.

This is what I want.
Star Trek the Motion Picture the Director’s Cut
Star Trek II the Directors Cut
Star Trek III the Theatrical Cut
Star Trek IV the theatrical Cut
Star Trek VI the Extended Cut
Generations
First Contact

Where can I get a box set of just these movies :p

I love what I’ve watched on this set so far. It really looks great. What really excited me was watching the best Trek XI trailer at the beginning in 1080 HD, when that movie comes out on Blu-Ray in November, it’s gonna look phenomenal.

I’m gonna jump on the nitpick bandwagon, too. I paid good money for this, I’d like it to be accurate, that’s all. What’s up with the wrong pic of Data on the Generations case and I would think they’d have Ru’afo or Dougherty instead of Crusher on the Insurrection case. Was she really that major of a character in the movie? I can think of like 5 people who should be singled out on the back instead of her. Now that’s nitpicking. And as for the Enterprise E / Klingon collage, well the original Generations shot of that would’ve worked just fine…give the Ent-D some spotlight, eh?

Ok enough of that, what matters is that these movies look great and sound better than they have before and it’s nice to see some home runs being hit with the bonus features lately. Now I can only wonder what new bonus features they’ll have when they’re selling us “The Complete 11 Movie Set on Blu-Ray with 20 hours of bonus features and never-before-seen this and that, blah blah blah.” You know it’s coming…then after that, we’ll get the director’s cuts of TOS, then TNG, then all 11 of those versions in 1 set, etc.

#43 Become CEO of Paramount.

Well the reason I was more negative on INS is because I like NEM a lot more than INS. In my opinion, Insurrection is the worst film in the franchise, it really isn’ t a feature film at all. I liked a lot about Nemesis and think it had potential, only to be squandered by a director who was the wrong man for the job.

But as Jeff pointed out, our round tables were edited, and it was a bit of a struggle for us all with both INS and NEM. But I still can find things I like about all the movies

Actually i’m more bothered by Data wearing a first contact uniform on the generations box art than i am with the klingon bird of prey. The klingon ship and the enterprise both appear in these series of movies. But data never wore that uniform in generations. Which is ironic considering that there were 3 sets of uniforms and not only is he wearing the wrong one, hes wearing one that didn’t appear.

Someone was talking about 1080i and 720p. That discussion is irrelavent because this is 1080p NOT 1080i.

Someone else mentioned that 720 isn’t good enough for blu-ray. That’s not true. Even on standard def DVD has artifacts that aren’t present in blu-ray. on 720 it would have to be upscaled which would make it blurry or pixelated. Playing blu-ray would instead require down-scaling which produces no additional artifacts.

I actually think the regular DVDs of this set look better than the Blue Rays.

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