Review: Star Trek Movie Blu-ray Set

Next Tuesday the new Star Trek movie comes out on home video in North America. You have a choice of single-disk DVD, 2-disk DVD or 3-disk Blu-ray. Today we review the Blu-ray version, and we also have an exclusive first look at the navigation screens and the Starfleet Vessel Simulator. 

 

REVIEW: Star Trek 2009 on Blu-ray

The movie

Back in April I reviewed the film, so you can read that for the full in-depth view, but after repeated viewings, and seeing the film in HD at home, I can say that Star Trek still works. I still feel that JJ Abrams, along with his cohorts Damon Lindelof, Bryan Burk, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and the rest of the team, delivered on their promise to re-invigorate a beloved franchise for a new era. And, although it may not stand up to the strictest nitpicking scrutiny, the alternative timeline approach cleverly threads the needle and allowed them to do a sequel, a prequel and a reboot all at the same time.


Kirk sees the E for the first time

And repeated viewings of the film allow you to appreciate it in new ways, and the option to freeze frame in HD gives you even more opportunities to analyze the film, in a way only a Trekkie can. Although the directing style of JJ Abrams is impressive, it is so fast-paced, that only now on home video can you truly stop and really take a look at some of the scenes. You never really got a good look at the bridge of the Kelvin, before they blew it up, or the fleet and orbiting space dock. Of course, home video viewing also gives you a chance to get even more frustrated with whatever bugs you, with each Trekkie having his own pet peeves, be it the ‘Bud-gineering’ or the amazing series of coincidences…and where exactly is Delta Vega?

Home video also gives you a chance to really listen to what is certainly the best sounding Star Trek movie ever. You can really feel the Trek love from Ben Burtt, and if he doesn’t win an Oscar, he was robbed. I also have found that Giacchino’s score has grown on me more over time. At first I wanted more of a Trek feel to the music, but now appreciate that the Trek stings were truly earned, and not until the whole crew is together do we get the full Alexander Courage treatment.


Kirk and Spock: A Bromance

Although the home video experience does lend itself to looking at the details, from Easter eggs, to analyzing the seamlessness of how the film blends the real with the computer generated effects, I find that I am still more drawn to the performances and the characters. Star Trek works because we care about the coming together of this family. Take away the gags, the effects, the spaceships and the tribbles, and what you have is a classic romance, or ‘bromance’ of Kirk and Spock meeting in conflict, and fighting through until they bond into that relationship which they are destined to form. Zachary Quinto, and especially Chris Pine, carry the movie in a way that seemed impossible when it was first proposed.

On top of that, the rest of the cast delivers time after time with crowd-pleasing moments like Sulu’s sword, and Karl Urban’s flawless irascible McCoy. But repeated viewings lets you truly appreciate the performance of Zoe Saldana, who is truly the soul of the film. Not only is she a lynch-pin between Kirk and Spock, but she is also the compass by which we can judge the arc Kirk is on, from her dismissive reaction to him during the Kobayashi Maru, to her questioning of if he knows what he is doing after he takes command, to finally calling him ‘captain’ (and meaning it) in the closing moments.


Saldana: the soul of ‘Star Trek’

JJ Abrams Star Trek is a fun space adventure, that remains true to the optimistic standard that Gene Roddenberry set over 40 years ago. In the end, although I would still rank it behind Wrath of Khan and it certainly is not a perfect film, the new Star Trek is a triumph and a very worthy addition to the franchise.

The transfer

This year Paramount has released the previous ten Star Trek feature films on Blu-ray, with decidedly mixed results. However, there are no issues whatsoever with this film, which looks (and sounds) amazing. The 1080p transfer seems flawless. From the subtle hues of the Narada, to the colorful TOS inspired uniforms, to the blinding lens flares, you will not miss any detail, and will possibly see more than you did at the theaters. This is certainly one of those titles that makes you glad you got a Blu-ray player. And the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio truly enhances the experience, where you can really feel like you are on the bridge with sounds coming from all around.


The new crew looks great in HD

Navigation

The Star Trek disks uses a navigational style borrowed from the bridge of the USS Enterprise itself, which is also the background for the disks. It is simple and easy to understand, and enjoyably nerdy.


Exclusive shot of Blu-ray Disk 1 Navigation

The branching tree structure of the Bonus features disk is very easy to use, and allows you to directly watch the extra Blu-ray ‘branching pods’ or set it so you can select them while watching the main featurettes.



Exclusive
shots of Blu-ray Disk 2 Navigation

Special Features

The Blu-ray set also comes with an impressive set of special features. The movie disk has a commentary track and on disk-two there are ten featurettes (each in HD), plus deleted scenes and more.

Commentary
The commentary track has the full ‘Supreme Court’ of producer/director JJ Abrams, producer Damon Lindelof, executive producer Bryan Burk and co-writers/exec. producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The group has a fun chemistry and it gives you a great insight into their tight-knit collaboration. Although there is a bit too much of the usual talk about how "great" or "amazing" everyone on screen is, the track has a lot of tidbits on the development of the film, especially the post-production and editing decisions. The group are also good at pointing out many of the little Easter eggs, like the Tribble in Scotty’s lab, or the various cameos of friends and family. One of the more interesting bits is listening to the team talk about their influences for various scenes from other films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Alien, Star Wars and even Galaxy Quest. And for someone who likes to talk about how he wasn’t really a Star Trek fan before making this film, Abrams surprises with comments about paying homages to specific scenes from The Original Series and Star Trek The Motion Picture. Regular readers of TrekMovie.com will appreciate Bob Orci’s more Trekkie comments and his (and Lindelof’s) various discussions of
parallel universes and time travel. And make sure you listen until the end credits to hear JJ Abrams talk about meeting and working with Majel Barrett Roddenberry, shortly before she passed.

Deleted scenes
The set comes with nine deleted scenes, all of which have optional commentary from the same team as the movie. Most of the scenes come from the earlier part of the movie and flesh out backstories for Kirk, Spock and Nero. However, after watching them, I have to agree with the decisions to not include them in the film. For example, the scene of Spock’s birth is nice, but opening the film with the attack on the Kelvin was much more powerful. The rest fall into the ‘less is more’ category, to the seemingly pointless (like the Kirk apologizing to the green girl scene). Make sure you listen to the commentary track, which includes some interesting tidbits.


Exclusive shot of Blu-ray Disk 2 Navigation: Deleted Scenes list

Featurettes
The bulk of disk two are the series of featurettes, which really give you an up close and personal look at the making of Star Trek. Although the movie was notoriously secretive during production, the featurettes really lift the veil on every element of the making of the film (including how they kept the secrets). Abrams had his team of documentarians all over the place, showing you much more than the usual talking-head fest.

The To Boldly Go featurette focuses on the Supreme Court and gives a lot of insight into the decisions they made in finding a way to re-invigorate Star Trek, however if you have been diligent in reading all the interviews, there isn’t a lot new, except for all the great shots from behind-the-scenes. The Casting featurette really gives you a fly on the wall view of what may be the most challenging aspect of this film, including seeing a lot of the early screen tests, and a surprising amount of footage and discussion about The Original Series. The New Vision featurette has a lot of great footage from pre-production, through production and post-production, where you learn a lot about some of the unsung heroes of Star Trek, like First AD Tommy Gormley. You also learn quite a bit about the making of the film, including Abrams strange technique of literally shaking the film magazine of the cameras during certain scenes to enhance the action.

There are six more featurettes that focus on specific elements of the production: Starships, Aliens, Planets, Props & Costumes, Sound (Ben Burtt), and Score. These will likely be the most enjoyed by a lot of Trekkies who really like to get into detail. What comes across from all of them, is that this project was very much a labor of love from top to bottom, with a lot of reverence for the source material.  The best of the bunch are the Planets feature (which has a lot of behind the scenes shots from locations), and the visit with Ben Burtt. The Props & Costumes section was a bit dry, and I felt the Score featurette was too short for such an important part of the film.

The last featurette is Gene Roddenberry’s Vision and this was a delight. In addition to the film makers talking about what they did to try and fit their film with Roddenberry’s ideals, there is a lot of great commentary from Star Trek vets like designers Mike and Denise Okuda, Star Trek II director Nick Meyer, Enterprise show-runner Manny Coto, and former Star Trek honcho Rick Berman. The set also has a hilarious gag reel, which gives the sense that it was a lot of fun on the Star Trek set. You also get some trailers, which are still fun to relive, even after you have seen the move.

One of the cooler features, which really shows off the capabilities of Blu-ray, is the Starfleet Vessel Simulator. This interactive feature lets you explore both the Narada and the USS Enterprise, allowing you to zoom into various areas of each ship, with detailed information and animations. You can even fire the weapons and go to warp. As noted in the review, the film goes by so fast you never get a real good look at these ships in detail, so these features are a lot of fun for the detail oriented. Below we have an exclusive first look at the Vessel Simulator.





Exclusive
shots Starfleet Vessel Simulator: Narada




Exclusive
shot Starfleet Vessel Simulator: Enterprise

Summary

Bottom line is that if you have a Blu-ray, this is a must-buy. And if you haven’t upgraded to Blu-ray yet, this set (along with all the other Star Trek movies and TOS Seasons released on Blu-ray this year) should be enough for any Trekkie to make the plunge, especially if you already have a HD TV. The Star Trek movie on Blu-ray set is one you will find yourself coming back to again and again over the years. Plus the additional digital copy lets you keep the movie close-by on your iPod or computer.

Now the only question is, do you get the regular Blu-ray set, or one of the special exclusives like the cool badges or Enterprise model.

 

USA Pre-orders
You can pre-order the regular and exclusive Amazon and Best Buy editions below.

Title Blu-ray DVD
Star Trek 2009 3-disk set

3-disk set w/ replica

3-disk set w/ badges


Best Buy gift set
(list price $39.99)
2-disk

1-disk

 

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sweet

Great review, Anthony!

Got mine preordered for next week.

It’s ARK! ARK!!!! ;) Can’t wait to pick up my set!

Thanks, Anthony! Very in-depth and reading this makes me even more excited to pick it up at midnight next Monday! :D :D :D

“Back in April I reviewed the film, so you can read that for the full in-depth view, but after repeated viewings, and seeing the film in HD at home, I can say that it still Star Trek works.”

[…can say that it still Star Trek works…]

huh? clean up?

I can confirm everything in this review. Got my copy of the blu-ray a week ago here in the Netherlands. Impressive sound and picture quality and very nice extra features

uh… nice review, Anthony! I cannot wait till Tuesday!

Still haven’t heard if buying a blu-ray player is a good idea with a 14-year old TV…

anyone? anyone? Bueller?

I’ve upgraded to BluRay just for this movie.

It’s exciting!!

3 – Anthony is correct that it is a story arc, not ark. An ark is the boat Noah built.

3 – Oops, I didn’t see the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” reference until after I wrote the above post. I thought you were referring to the story arc.

Sorry. You are right. As the kids say, “my bad.”

Mine was despatched yesterday from Amazon.co.uk. I get a free “Countdown” comic with it. :D

MC1 Doug – I think it would be largely pointless. You can enjoy the new way that menus operate and the interactive features, as well as all the benefits the extra storage space a BD-50 affords, but you wont see any upgrade in the picture quality as a 14yr old TV almost certainly will only be standard definition.

All of the cut scenes should have been included in the final film. J.J. Abrams made a bad call removing the Rura Penthe scenes. He said that the test audiences were confused by those scenes in particular. I am at a loss as to what was so confusing about the inclusion of the Klingons in the film. I am stunned that yet another recognisable actor (Victor Garber) was in the film (making it nearly 20) and not only was it not announced but cut out. It was absolutely shocking to leave such a huge plot hole regarding where the villains were for 25 years. It makes them look lazy and stupid on top of the fact that they were superficial. Nero and Ayel would have had more depth at least as well. The scenes with the Kirk family and Spock’s birth should have been included as well.

Four stunningly beautiful and talented actresses were wasted in ST09 and should have had more screentime. Jennifer Morrison only appeared at the beginning and we don’t find out what happened to her, Rachel Nichols was only in it for three minutes and we don’t find out what happened to her, Winona Ryder was in it for nearly ten minutes and was needlessly killed off and Diora Baird was nowhere to be found (except in a brief cut scene).

The Enterprise and the Narada barely fought each other in the film. The climactic battle between the Enterprise and the Scimitar was better.

James Kirk should have had at least one love interest or more just like James Bond which should be done in the sequel. Rachel Nichols as a human would have been perfect in the first film.

The Jerry Goldsmith theme music from the Star Trek Insurrection end credits should have been used at the end. Even Russell Watson’s ‘Where My Heart Will Take Me’ (the album version which is one of the greatest, most inspirational and underrated songs of all time) should have been included in the film. The Original Series theme music and new theme music in the movie was unnecessary. The soundtrack was disappointing overall. ‘Labour of Love’ was the best part of it.

James Kirk loses nearly every fight. He should have been a hardcore badass like Christian Bale in Batman Begins and particularly in The Dark Knight, Daniel Craig in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Matt Damon in the Bourne trilogy and Liam Neeson in Taken. He should have won the fights against the Starfleet officers, Spock and Nero. The fight between Kirk and Nero was pointless and anticlimactic. A wasted opportunity for an amazing and action-packed fight which would have made Kirk’s triumph at the end all the more emotional and uplifting. He didn’t seem to care about avenging his father. He should have gone after Nero after shooting Ayel. The fight between Jean–Luc Picard and Shinzon at the climax of Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) was more satisfying and even the William Riker and Reman Viceroy showdown.

I was just listening to the soundtrack for Insurrection and Children’s Story and End Credits were beautiful. I didn’t appreciate the soundtrack until now. Shame about the soundtrack for ST09.

13-19

You sure do like repeating yourself, don’t you

All you “arm chair quarterbacks” crack me up. What are your qualifications for your unequivocal pronouncements on what should have been? Make any movies lately or write a motion picture score?

Well until you do, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to sit back and enjoy the movie that’s delivered to you. Nothing wrong with respectful constructive critisism but your childish rants are laughable.

C’mon…we’re Star Trek fans! Didn’t you take away anything about diversity, respect and open mindedness from all those years of viewing?

And at the end of the day, stellar critical and box office success seems to suggest that JJ and team knew what they were doing…Russell Watson suggestions not withstanding.

Can’t wait on the 16th midnight on november won my first ps3 fat 20gb and got a slim WOOO i’m ready for this to come out

I loved the soundtrack, best of the year hands down. Though the other trek soundtracks are very good, they were also kind of….the same old star trek sound. This new soundtrack was grand and epic and fits the film well

(And 21, No, no feature films, but shorts yes)

#18.

you’re just wrong.

The 2 disc DVD and 3 Disc Digital Copy Blu-Ray set have been released in Ireland today (13th). An expensive week with this, the Season 2 TOS Blu-Ray AND the Next Generation Blu Ray set all out today. :-)

The warp nacelles are still too fat.

20/21/24

Hey, guys, I think you gotta address these criticisms directly, otherwise it looks kinda like you’re missing the point and avoiding trying to prove these fellas wrong.

“Kirk: What does God need with a starship? I’m asking a question.
“God”: Who is this creature?
Kirk: Who am I? Don’t you know? Aren’t you God?

Spock: You have not answered his question. What does God need with a starship?”

it would have been nice to have had a couple of HD shots from the actual movie to hold me over until next week. I don’t know if anyone noticed but those shots from the actual movie were SD.

#17-When you suggest including that gawd-awful “theme” from Enterprise, you totally BOMB any credibility you might have. I loved the last season of Enterprise, but that song just wasn’t Star Trek. This movie’s music WAS, IS, AND WILL BE!

RUN to the Target website where they’ve FINALLY listed their Exclusive BD offering for $34.99. Thick pkging w/ slightly different cover art. Kirk superimposed on ST text and a 1/2 of the Enterprise’s saucer sect. with a folded look. This HAS to be the model that houses the discs inside. I preordered it last night!

29. JimJ – November 13, 2009

My friend, listen to the album version of this amazing song (it’s the REAL version of it and not an edited for television version) and talk to me then.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Trek-Enterprise-TV-Soundtrack/dp/B0000658PQ

It’s Track 1 and sung wonderfully by the great singer Russell Watson. This franchise is lucky to have had this as one of its theme songs. I don’t think most people ever heard this version and it’s too bad because they would have appreciated it. But no, all everybody did was hear the lousy made for tv version and whine about it. I REST MY CASE.

Actually, this link is better.

http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Dennis-McCarthy/dp/B0000658PQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1258120868&sr=1-1

This part of the song is not in the tv version and it is epic when you listen to it –

I’ve known the wind so cold, I’ve seen the darkest days.
But now the winds I feel, are only winds of change.
I’ve been through the fire and I’ve been through the rain.
But I’ll be fine …

Cause I’ve got faith of the heart.
I’m going where my heart will take me.

The simulator and blueprints on the DVD seem like the next best thing to actually being on the ship. :-)

All praises to the gods of Blu-ray technology! ;-)

“Even Russell Watson’s ‘Where My Heart Will Take Me’ (the album version which is one of the greatest, most inspirational and underrated songs of all time) should have been included in the film.”

Nope. Bottom of the rung when it comes to Trek themes. Just my 2¢.

I was actually pretty disappointed with Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack for STAR TREK, which is odd because I’m a huge fan of his. Listen to his genre work, especially on projects like CLOVERFIELD (the end credits theme, ROAR!, is a gorgeous homage to the giant monster movie genre) and SPEED RACER (just about every recognizable cue from the old cartoon has been woven in with newer themes). THE INCREDIBLES is a stupendous mash-up of 60’s spy and adventure styles (think JOHNNY QUEST meets James Bond).

I expected a lot from STAR TREK’s score, so maybe that’s why I was ultimately disappointed. The two final tracks — “To Boldly Go” and “End Credits” — are the album’s salvation, but I should have been hearing cues throughout the film, IMO.

Aw man you guys aren’t talking about that cheezy Celine Dion song from Enterprise are you???

Ooooh, I so want the Blu-Ray edition but will have to settle for the standard DVD Target “Enterprise Model” edition (I’m a sucker for cool promo-packaging). Don’t have a Blu-Ray player yet. :-(

I liked the soundtrack for the new movie. I just wish they included more tracks on the CD. Enterprising Young Men was a highlight, but where was the music from drill platform fight?

I can’t wait to get the Bluray next week. I am interested in the Ben Burtt sound design featurette. The one he did for WALL-E was really interesting.

Actually I think its good to get a blu ray player like a ps3 even if you only have an older tv-there are still standard cables to use audio video-I just got a ps3 and it plays the games and bluray dvds fine-some smaller writing will be harder to see but i think most of the features should work also-but-sinceni dont have the dvd yet i cant say fir shure-Anyone try the vessel simulater using standard 480 def to see if it works and looks ok? Since the bluray has more features i am hoping i can see most of these even tho they wont be hi-def until i save n git a hdtv-

If I buy the 3-disc BD set, is there a standard DVD version included?? I know there’s the digital version but I have a DVD player in my vehicle aand would like to be able to view it on there too. Thanks!

‘Labour of Love’ was the best part of the soundtrack. I feel the way about George Kirk’s death that everybody does about James T. Kirk’s death in Generations. It was very sad to watch but he should have not been killed off. It was a waste of a great character who won’t be seen again. Chris Hemsworth should have had a larger role with some flashback scenes with Jennifer Morrison and the Kirk family.

Ralph F – “Even Russell Watson’s ‘Where My Heart Will Take Me’ (the album version which is one of the greatest, most inspirational and underrated songs of all time) should have been included in the film.

Nope. Bottom of the rung when it comes to Trek themes. Just my 2¢.”

I always liked that song, especially the instrumental version that was played only at the end of Broken Bow. Even better, and one of my top 3 favorite Trek songs is Archer’s Theme, which is played at the end of all the other episodes.

Yo guys, tell me somethin’ they said there would be Tribbles in the movie. I don’t remember seein’ em. I heard that they were in Simon Pegg’s first scene, not that 99 per cent of audiences noticed. I tell ya somethin, I’d rather see em in the next one than Khan!

Looking forward to seeing it again on BD. And I hope I never hear the term “Bromance” again.

Hey guys, do any of you think Lady GaGa will have a cameo in the sequel? With her futuristic music and style, she’d fit right in!

44. The Nutty Professor – November 13, 2009

If Lady GaGa is in the next one and not Shatner, I’m boycotting!

#18 Perhaps Chris Pine can make up for it when he stars in the reboot of TJ Hooker, out running cars on foot, beating up 12 guys single handedly. You completely miss the charactor development of the James T Kirk who grew up without his father. This is the guy who picks a bar fight with four guys and loses (who wouldn’t lose against four aside from Bruce Lee). If you’ll recall TOS Kirk couldn’t beat up Mr. Spock either. Don’t even get this thread started on the short comings of Nemesis, it isn’t even in the same league as Star Trek 09.

I think this film did a great job of “rebooting” the series, while leaving the characters pretty much intact, as well as giving the actors and writers some new places to go with them. Star Trek has not been this much fun and exicting in a long time. Trek in the TNG era got all caught up on itself and drowned in treknobabble, instead of focusing on character and story.

46. Lore – November 13, 2009

Finally someone has addresses my criticism, took long enough!
So you didn’t find the the fight between Kirk and Nero towards the end, pointless and anticlimactic. It’d seemed strange that Kirk forgot what Nero took from him. He should have gone to the bridge like Picard did when he went after Shinzon and after shooting the remaining Romulan henchmen (also like Picard) have said ‘Yo, Nero! I didn’t hear no bell… ” Alright not really, but he should have fought him again and won. And hell, even Riker got his revenge on the Reman Viceroy for a lot less.

Please also comment on the intriguing points in posts 13-17, no one seems to want to address them directly either, rather than just ignoring them or saying that they’re wrong.

I mentioned this on another post but this movie’s so great that my local video store, no not blockbuster, allready had 4 copies of Star Trek on Blu-Ray and 1 on DVD! They must be gearing up early of course Idont blame them…

…looks like a poor man’s Star Wars…

wpDiscuz