The Wrath of Khan – Director’s Cut — Blu-ray Review

The Wrath of Khan is widely known and liked by Trek fans and the general public. So it is fitting that Paramount chose it to be the first Director’s Cut ever released on Blu-ray. Made from a brand new 4k scan of the film, read on to see how it looks.

The Wrath of Khan needs no introduction to the TrekMovie audience. So I won’t bother with a plot summary.

Just a quick reminder, The Director’s Cut adds three minutes of new footage, including a proper explanation as to why Crewman Preston is so special to Scotty, thus why our heroes take his death especially hard.

Of note there is one small change in the content of the film from the earlier 2002 Director’s Edition DVD compared to this new 2016 Director’s Cut. Director Nick Meyer chose to delete the dialog in the scene with Kirk, Spock, and Saavik climbing the ladders in the Jefferies Tubes, previously the scene had this quick exchange while they climbed:

Kirk: “That young man… he’s my son.”
Spock: “Fascinating.”

Mercifully, the disc has no extra trailers that you have to skip through, after the Paramount High Definition logo, it goes straight to the main menu, selecting Play defaults to the Director’s Cut.

Video Quality

This really is a new 4k transfer (Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits has confirmed it comes from a new 4K scan with HDR grading for future possible UltraHD releases). Fine detail is a improved a bit from the older 2009 release.


2009 Blu-ray


2016 Director’s Cut Blu-ray

Most importantly, the rather poor decision to color grade things towards a steely blue that was so obvious in the 2009 release is gone!


2009 Blu-ray


2016 Director’s Cut Blu-ray

This release has new color timing that’s more in keeping with original color of the film (and how all previous home video releases looked). It’s still a bit less saturated than the DVD releases, but it’s a reasonable middle ground and one that I think most will find quite pleasing.

This disc has seamless branching for the extra content of the Director’s Cut, so you can choose to view this new transfer in either the Theatrical or Director’s cuts. That makes this the definitive high definition version of Khan.

Audio Quality

The disc has a very good losslessly compressed Dolby TrueHD track, it’s very similar to the 2009 Blu-ray, and that’s just fine. There are few complaints to be had, considering this modern high resolution 7.1 mix is derived from a 1982 movie with Dolby Stereo as the best theatrical audio technology at the time.

This time around I have a Dolby Atmos enabled setup (5.1.4 for those interested), so I was able to hear how the standard surround mix was “up-mixed” into a pseudo-Atmos height enhanced version by the Dolby Surround Upmixer feature found on Atmos enabled receivers. The results are generally quite good, the classic James Horner soundtrack swells to fill all around as expected. Other atmospheric noise (ex: bridge noises, ships warping by, and the stormy Mutara nebula) is often heard from the heights giving a bigger more natural/fuller sense of the environments.

Bonus Features

There is a new documentary titled The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan

This runs approximately 30 minutes. It was produced by Roger Lay, Jr. who is one half of the duo responsible for the excellent bonus content on the Next Generation and Enterprise Blu-ray releases. Mark A. Altman kicks off the documentary and his comments provide a kind of structure for the feature.

As one would expect, we get lots of time with director Nick Meyer, and, someone who I personally don’t recall hearing from before, producer Bob Sallin, who was co-producer on TWOK with Harve Bennett. Thanks to the distance of time, the interviews are probably the most honest we’ve gotten about the making of Khan, it touches on some of the less than pleasant aspects of getting TWOK made, including Gene Roddenberry being displeased with being relegated to a figurehead with no real power to affect the production of TWOK.

Other well known names from Trek are producer Ralph Winter (producer on TWOK-TUC), Adam Nimoy (speaking on his father’s behalf), Larry Nemecek, Bjo Trimble, Susan Sackett, and quite a few others. Lots of behind the scenes photos are interspersed with the interviews. It is well worth the half-an-hour of your time.


The rest of the bonus features are ported over from the 2002 Director’s Edition DVD or the theatrical cut Blu-ray disc from 2009. Which again, means that based on all currently available bonus content, this new Blu-ray is the definitive home video release.

Here’s a list of the bonus content that’s included from earlier releases:

Optional commentaries and interactive features while watching the movie

–       Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer (Director’s Edition & Theatrical Version – 2002)

–       Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto (Theatrical Version – 2009)

–       Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (Director’s Edition – 2002)

–       Library Computer – interactive content (Theatrical Version – 2009)

Bonus Features

  • Production:
    • Captain’s Log (2002)
    • Designing Khan (2002)
    • Original interviews with DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban (2002)
    • Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (2002)
    • James Horner: Composing Genesis (2009)
  • The Star Trek Universe:
    • Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics (2009)
    • A Novel Approach (2002)
    • Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI (2009)
  • Farewell: A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban (2009)
  • Production Storyboards (2002)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2002)


Highly recommended!

The hope is if this sells well Paramount will take remastering for 4k seriously and give more Trek movies this kind of treatment.

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Is it Mark A. Altman, not Robert A. Altman?

Excited to receive my copy from Amazon this week!!!!!

Hey Matt,

I know, like me, you are are and audiofile/videofile. I have a 5 year-old Sony top of the line Sony AV Receiver that I run my Blu-Ray player and 1080P projector through, with 7.1 and the whole 9 yard of features, except that DTS Master Audio is the top audio it has given Dobly Atmos was not available at that time. Question: can your really tell the difference between DTS Master Audio and Dollby Atmos? And is worth me upgrading just to get Atmos? Thanks!

Yes and no. I’m a big movie junkie like you guys. A friend of mine has atmos and I can say for people like you and me it is worth it. Gravity sounds incredible on his sound system as did this last Hunger Games. I assume like on blu ray, documentaries, cartoons, etc, you won’t notice or care. But action movies always sound great and the more speakers the merrier. I’m waiting for my wife to let me buy it and also to see how different DTS X is compared to Dolby Atmos. And I also can’t buy cause we’re are buying a 70+ inch 4k tv this year so she said one or the other =( If you got the money man, I’d do it.

Thanks Snugglepuff.

I think I will wait until later in the year when I can get one with both DTS-X and Dolby Atmos for in the $750 or less range…I prefer Sony.

We been thru this before all the way back to Dolby surround vs DTS surround. It was proven back then there was no noticeable difference to the ear. And why would a studio do 2 different mixes. All it really is ,is 2 companies trying to get you to buy there product. They will invent false science if they have to to get you sucked in. It’s business 101 people. What they do is release a movie with just Dolby Atmos or Dts x ,so you’re forced to buy a receiver that has both . They been doing that for years ..wake up people!!

Just make sure your receiver can pass HDR(high,dynamic range) ,something I overlooked in a receiver I purchased .A lot of receivers can handle 4k but don’t pass HDR signal. So you will see 4k ,but without the HDR.

@Matt Wright

Who did this comic-book style artwork?


Tyler Stout, the same artist responsible for “Sleeping Dogs” pack art (

Prodigal Son June 5, 2016 10:52 pm
captainroot June 5, 2016 10:21 pm



This is from one of those Mondo Star Trek posters from a couple of years back.

Waiting for the remastered ‘ST 3, 4, and 6’. We particularly need the directors cut of 6.

I’m looking forward to a remastered TSFS, esp. for any deleted shots, e.g. Valkris in her mask and removing it, etc.

And surely it’s Crewman Preston, not Pressman? :-)

Please tell me that they’ve digitally inserted Bennedict Cumberbatch into it to make it internally consistent with the rest of the movies and dare I say, vaguely watchable.

If I close my eyes, I can watch this whole film, with 100% accuracy, in my head.

“liked by Trek fans”
Seems like trek fans have no problem that gene roddenberry’s “vision” is completely missing in this movie. But Star Trek 2009 and Into darkness are not Star Trek right?

I’m sort of with you on this, but to be honest, I think that horse corpse has been flogged to the bone.

I happen to love Star Trek and Into Darkness, but I know some disagree, and I can see why.

On that issue, I think it really comes down to different people seeing different things in Star Trek.

Back to the topic at hand, I pre-ordered this because of the improved master, the Director’s Cut of the movie and to a lesser extend the additional bonus material.

The Mondo artwork is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, and though it is not popular, I think of it as a fun alternative.

My preference in these things is generally the theatrical poster art (I think Bob Peak did TWOK), but of course the movie itself is what it is all about.

Based on these reviews and screenshots I’ve seen so far, this is a significant improvement, and I’ll likely reach for this disc rather than any other.

To me, this one is likely to be definitive.

I think the reason Star Trek II gets away with abandoning Gene’s vision for action & revenge is because they were continuing a story from an original episode & it has the Geneis Device which is far more interesting than JJ’s Red Matter & Magic Blood

i take it that the theatrical cut which comes with it is included is not also remastered?

@ Gary: The theatrical cut and the director’s cut are mostly identical, except for a few scenes. From what I’ve read elsewhere, they haven’t put two full copies of the movie on the disk. It’s one version that branches off whenever the two cuts differ. As such, both cuts should be remastered. Of course, there is a (small) chance that Paramount chose not to remaster the short bits where the cuts differ but I don’t believe that since it would defeat the purpose of seamless branching if individual scenes looked completely different.

Roddenberry, in his original Star Trek pitch, described his captain as space-age Horatio Hornblower.
TWOK *is* space-age Horatio Hornblower, and as such, TWOK *is* true to Roddenberry’s original idea.
ST09 isn’t.

Now I realize this is why Abrams Trek movies never felt “right” to me (even though I have enjoyed them greatly): they simply lack the mood, the *atmosphere* of great sea adventures. There’s not an ounce of salt water in their blood. ;)


Re:There’s not an ounce of salt water in their blood.

Not even under the sea in STID? ;-)

Not a fan of purchasing something I already had… But this might just be worth while.

I’ve done that plenty of times. I have four copies of “The Motion Picture” – the original VHS, the “Special Longer Edition” VHS, the “Director’s Edition” DVD and the Blu-Ray of the theatrical cut. I also have more than one copy of the rest of the movies up to “Insurection”.

Darn it Paramount, it’s bad enough I bought every version of Star Trek that is released, now I have to do it again? You torture me oh so.

TMP Director’s Cut next, please. PLEASE.

Agree wholeheartedly!!

This is a must!!

I remember seeing the movie in 70mm 6 track Dolby in ’82. When they say the audio source is Dolby Stereo, are we to assume it wasn’t the 6 track set up that would presumably be the best. I can recall some very creative audio tricks in the 70mm version that were the highpoint of experiencing this in a THEATER as opposed to video, or on a computer or similar small electronics device. I guess I’ll have to buy this one to find out. :) I’m holding off buying anything Trek movie wise for the time being.


No, you are correct. Matt Wright’s just confused about what was the Trek movie film releasees’ audio state of the art, 6 discrete magnetic Dolby tape track audio channels, since the first Trek Motion Picture.

As documented in this issue of June 1980’s, Volume 11 – Number 3 of “RECORDING Engineer /Producer” for TMP on page 81:

”In the end, “Star Trek – The Motion Picture” was finished at the last possible moment, with both the first and the last reels of the picture being mixed on the last day. A courier from the Dolby Labs stood by at Goldwyn to take the completed reels of sound to the lab for transfer to the optical stereo format found on the 35 millimeter release prints of the film that saw general circulation. A single 70 millimeter, six channel magnetic Dolby print was generated for the picture’s premier in Washington, D.C. It later filled the screen in the Avco Theater, in Westwood Village, Los Angeles.” — WHAT NO MAN HAS HEARD BEFORE…: SOUND EFFECTS for STAR TREK, THE MOTION PICTURE; by Steven Barnett … Page 68; RECORDING Engineer /Producer June 1980, Volume 11 – Number 3

I think Mr. Barnett is mistaken about TMP playing in 70mm at its world premiere at the MacArthur in DC. Since I live in the area, I’m fairly certain it didn’t. Maybe it was the intention, but the rushed production must have prevented striking one in time.

I have no doubt they must have made at least one 70mm print and possibly more for the overseas releases. Perhaps there is an archival print somewhere deep in the Paramount vaults somewhere. Even so, the elements used, in addition to the negatives have to be there. If they can go back and restore older films like Vertigo, Lawrence of Arabia, I’m sure Paramount can do it on the Trek films. Even Blade Runner’s restoration supposedly yielded a new 8K master for future digital updates.

But back to STII. I’m reading some chat about grain. Not a good thing. Even on opening day, I recall the 70mm print having ‘grain’, inherent to film blowups from 35mm, that was a detraction compared to TMP. Maybe there’s an advantage to rushing prints like they did.


I lived there too but had left by that time of the decade.

Nothing really indicated here in the event’s program:

I’m skeptical that interviews that took place less than 6 mos from the actual premier could get that more wrong than 37yo memories. But you aren’t the only one to make the claim.

Besides, for the purposes of our discussion here the only thing that matters is that all those sound people interviewed agreed that a 6 track soundtrack 70mm mix was made.

Does anyone know if this requires a 4k BD player to play this? I’m finding no information that confirms this, but I keep seeing it was done in 4k.

You need a 4K player if you want to watch it in 4K, but otherwise no, you can watch in on a regular Bluray player.

Ok cool thanks. Wasn’t sure how that worked. I would be playing it on an Xbox One so just wanted to make sure I could even play it.

Wrong. It’s a standard Blu-Ray MADE FROM a 4K scan. This is NOT a 4K Blu-Ray.


This release is just a standard BD mastered from a higher sourced scan. All the 4k player can do with it is upscale it to 4k which a 4k TV can do on its own without need of the added expense of the 4k player as you erroneously suggest is necessary.

I misunderstood then, my impression from the article was that this was scanned from the film negative (“Made from a brand new 4k scan of the film”), but you’re saying this is basically a scan of the existing Bluray. Gotcha.


Re:basically a scan of the existing Bluray

You are still not quite there yet in regards to understanding. Paramount did do a new 4k scan of the film negative for their archiving and sourcing needs. The BD will be rendered from that new scan but by definition being a BD it can not output a 4k UHD version as its specs can only contain a roughly 2k version, i.e. one down converted from the new 4k scan.

ATTENTION! has uncovered an editing error on this Blu-Ray disc.

It is highly unlikely that this was purposefully changed for two reasons.

1. It’s a simple re-use of earlier footage from the film. Even the view screen graphics are the same.
2. It creates a visual continuity error of Sulu spontaneously turning his head around to hear Saavik’s reply.

Thanks for the link, Jey. I saw the screen caps but do we know its a true ‘error’ or a snip that Meyer intended. Just like Wise did in his final cut of had snips and trims. Does it really matter? Sulu is shown politely reminding Saavik about the danger of entering the neutral zone. Since he’s so close to her anyway, he could still hear her without having to turn his head. Just my 2 cents

You really need to look at the scene in motion. It’s horrid.

From what I’ve read on Amazon, posters there have stated that the dialog when Kirk tells Spock that David Marcus is his son has been deleted on this new edition. At the request of Nicholas Meyer. Here’s how it went in the February 1985 ABC broadcast:
Kirk: “That young man is my son.”
Spock (acting somewhat less than interested): “Faaascinating.”

I’m split on the missing “That young man is my son” lines. I noticed it was missing right away but it has always felt kinda awkward being there.

Amazon has already lowed the price by $8. I pre-ordered it 2 days at the original price. They refuse to price-adjust. Where’s the incentive to pre-order. Should have just waited 2 more days. Bad business practice.

They did it to me as well this morning. Missed it by a few hours.

I still want to see a special edition of Star Trek V.

Not possible because you would have to go back and create new FX for the whole movie. The cost would be to high and from a business angle its not worth it to Paramount since the return would amount to no profit.As Bill Hunt pointed out studios are getting away from restoring old titles ,putting there money into recent titles. There are many titles on DVD that never made it to Blu-ray and never will. So will it go with 4k Uhd titles. Only a select few will make it. From what I understand the cost to restore a title to 1080p or 4K is expensive. And even if they could justify restoring a title they have to look at how much profit they will make. I don’t see any large return with Star trek v.

There is an ongoing discussion about one scene where Sulu turns to the Capt and says ” may i remind the Capt” Sulu’s back is turned as he says it which is different from the 2009 blu-ray where he turns to the Capt and delivers the line!! Somebody screwed up or Meyers wanted the scene changed. Anyways people are pissed!!

I’m watching now and I just noticed that!

Dammit Jim. That’s distracting.

This may be a silly question, so forgive me in advance…. You mention this is a 4K edition… do I need a 4K player to play this or will it run on my standard bluray player? I don’t have a 4K television only a full HD plasma.

I asked the same question yesterday with a response above. Your standard BD will work, but your 4K tv will enhance it.

It’s mastered in 4K but it’s not a 4K Blu-ray so it will play back on any standard Blu-ray player.

i’m surprised that the Director’s Cut is not available through iTunes.

Did you notice the editing error during the Kobiyoshi Mari test when Sulu’s head is facing the wrong way! Found this clip that shows the error. I’m still waiting to see my copy to see if it’s there.

Overall it’s a great release. You can actually see lettering detail in the bridge consoles, if you sit near your tv. For example you can read”LOGIC CONTROL CENTER,” & “TELEMITRY AVIARY” on the stations of the Reliant’s bridge. – Way cool!!!

The only negative thing I noticed so far in The Blu-Ray Director’s Cut, was they took out the dialogue when Kirk & Spock are climbing the ladder between decks, “That young man is my son.” & “Fascinating.” are gone. – Disapointing.

Matt Wright,

I know from my many years spent in pursuit of an audiophile hobby that reviewers’ copies don’t necessarily come from the same production run as those made available for retail and don’t necessarily have the same flaws. I’m not asking you to reveal the actual identifier until you confirm it with Paramount, but I am curious if with all the copies that you have seen at your disposal that you have confirmed have the Sulu flub, did you notice any common production mark or numbering?

Uh oh! There are TWO editing errors! I can’t believe they missed this! First, right at the beginning of the movie, the scene is wrong when Sulu says to Saavik, “May I remind the captain…” In the correct scene, Sulu looks over his shoulder at Saavik. The editing error has the back of Sulu’s head when the parabolic course line is drawn on the viewscreen. The second error has dialog missing…the scene where Kirk, Spock, and Saavik are climbing the ladder to the bridge after Kirk and party beam back aboard. Kirk says, “That young man is my son!” Spock replies, “Fascinating!” It’s missing !