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