After more than two decades, Robert Wise’s Director’s Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture has been remastered in 4K HDR, which debuted last month on Paramount+ (see TrekMovie review). This week, it has returned to the big screen via Fathom events, with the final screenings being held Wednesday night.
TrekMovie has partnered with Drew Stewart, the man behind the Star Trek TMP Visual Comparisons Twitter account, to put together a sampling of what we see as some of the more interesting differences between this new 2022 streaming version in comparison to the 2001 DVD release of the Director’s Edition (TDE) and the 2021 HD 4K Blu-ray release of the Theatrical Edition (TE) of the film. Note all the images can be enlarged for even more detail.
The opening titles
The original opening credits were plain white as they were only supposed to be temporary. For the DVD, the original plates were scanned in as the base for the new gold version. The credits were recreated from scratch for the 4K, and now have sparkles around the edge.
Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura
The original matte painting that showed night on Vulcan with moons visible was replaced by a new digital matte painting that corrects the time of day to match the live action shots and removes the moons that TOS established Vulcan does not have. Another new more detailed digital matte was created for the 4K version.
Take me over, please
This shot of the Office Complex was recomposited from the original elements (with a new starfield). A CG shuttle pod was added to the port at the bottom left.
The new shot replaces this random shot of an explosion with the stage ceiling visible. This shot was recreated using an original optical VFX plate with a new CG Enterprise and a different explosion from the 2001 version which reflects against the hull.
A nacelle was added to the original window for the 2001 version. The 2022 version removed the entire wall and replaced it with a new matte of the Officer’s Lounge window with a CG nacelle in view.
A new shot was created for the 2022 version, which provides continuity with the next shot where Spock has rings flying behind him before he reaches the original rings. This new shot also shows the tunnel between the orifice and the V’ger Island, perhaps making the rings the entrance to the “imaging chamber” part.
V’ger emerges from the cloud
The original shot of the V’ger model approaching Earth was replaced with a new CG shot of the cloud dissipating as the camera pans towards Earth. This shot was recreated for the 2022 version.
An all-new CG exterior shot of the Enterprise going through the tunnel was created. This shot was recreated for the 2022 version.
The path to V’ger
The shot of the away party coming out of the hatch to stand on the saucer was replaced with a CG version of the same actions, almost perfectly down to the timing of the movements from the original plate. The tiles now appear in front of them one-by-one, animated on the two’s to emulate the feeling of using 70’s animation techniques in 2001. The 2022 version animates every frame.
V’ger must evolve
An almost 6-second addition was made showing the entity of V’ger ascending, then imploding. This shot was recreated for the 2022 version, which puts the ship head on instead of in profile.
I believe I’m wearing your jacket, Doctor
Originally, Spock and McCoy’s jackets were switched in this shot. For the 2022 version, the bands on their arms were swapped back to get rid of this continuity error.
A full comparison gallery with more than 100 images and analysis can be found on Google Photos.
In addition to his work on the various iterations of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Drew’s blog Star Wars Visual Comparisons also contains a forensic analysis of the many versions of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Last chance to see on the big screen
Star Trek: The Motion Picture returned to the big screen this week, with showings on Sunday, May 22, Monday, May 23, and Wednesday, May 25 by Fathom Events. Tickets are on sale now at fathomevents.com.
Here is the official trailer from Fathom events.
Find more news about Star Trek: The Motion Picture at TrekMovie.com.