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.
The scale is still off when they’re standing on the hull of the Enterprise. The front of the hull should be a lot deeper giving the impression of multiple decks compared to their body height.
Indeed, they appear to be huge compared to the windows on the rim of the saucer.
Yes, that’s the first thing I noticed in that scene, 43 years ago. It’s a blatant error in scale and I don’t understand why they didn’t take the opportunity here to fix it.
Star Trek has never had a problem playing loose with scale. They often go with what looks good on screen, not necessarily what would be accurate.
Agreed. The ship is the WRONG SIZE. Proof that TMP is NOT in continuity! It’s clearly in its own timeline!
Yeah, but this is just slightly off scale. It’s not like having a turbolift shaft that can fit the entirety of Wembley Stadium ala Discovery.
It looks fine in the distance shot. This close-up is a bit misleading.
I think you guys are way over-analyzing this. This looks damn good compare to the original version distorted geometry.
They did a tremendous job to finally get that sequence looking about right. Time to declare victory and move on.
Yes and the windows are still too large on the cgi E
I saw it on the big screen this week and it looks fantastic, especially the exterior of the Enterprise and V’Ger interiors. Kirk’s exterior inspection of the Enterprise while in drydock was beautiful. What a joy to revisit this again on the big screen.
The only cons were that I found the lounge scene and the V’ger must evolve scene a bit distracting because of the rotoscoping in the lounge, and the positioning of the ship in the starburst. Plus there were quite a few new sound effects not present on previous versions. For the casual viewer it won’t be an issue but it might be distracting for die hard fans of the film as they tend to stand out.
If you are a fan of this film, this is highly recommended.
I don’t agree. I thought this had some of the same problems that Nolan’s digital transfer and cleanup of 2001: A Space Odyssey had/has – except Star Trek has ’em in spades. I saw this on a laser projection in a premium Los Angeles theater and there are a lot of problems mastering and restoring to 4k television when it translates to projection in the space of an auditorium.
Whites are stretched so thin and without detail such that in the theater all you see is the texture of the Scotch-bright screen in that space. Often the extreme perfect focus of unimportant elements on the screen is like a knife in the eye. Many of the models (the office space station primarily) do not have the level of sophistication of the Enterprise and were never meant to be presented with the amount of clarity and sharp focus that Paramount introduced. The model looks cheap and is a distraction when cutting to and from the Enterprise which is in a soft focus from the dispersion of light from the condensation between the lens and the model on the chilled stage – by design.
The glaring scale and proportion mistakes in the 4k maneuvering is even more pronounced in the theater – it actually seems to be much worse than the original theatrical which I saw a few years ago in a theater.
That briefing/lounge room for me has always been a mess starting with the layout of the set and how that space was shot – it just seems a technical stunt rather than a compelling setup where the tensions between the 3 are reflected in the staging. Every time they try to fix it it just gets worse – and it looks worse in the theater – who thought that was even possible?!
V’ger? Let’s face it the model and the hiding of the model with clouds and laser/smoke effects and all the rest is just a mess. None of it needed or could be improved by sharpening it and improving the detail – its just bad in a theater. The real tell for me was that when V’ger enters our solar system, NONE of the lighting of anything changes with the presence of the sun. If anyone ever intended the audience to see those nonsensical models and smoke that would have been the moment to pull the curtain back… it was enough that anyone was ever able to cut all the disconnected models into something that looked like the Enterprise was moving through it…
I sure did enjoy hearing Goldsmith’s score in an auditorium again, though it’s a stunner. Not so much for the improved soundeffect and soundtrack… why? why?
I think for me, now, this movie is like what a sports fan looks for in a stadium – there’s a couple of incredible moments that you anticipate and thrill at, but the rest of it isn’t really worth mentioning – just slow, uneventful stuff when you can focus on your snacks and choosing a good time to go to the bathroom.
I also saw it on a Big screen in LA this week, and I pretty much disagree with every single point you have made. All the subtle changes they made both in 2001 and for this version have substantially improved the enjoyment and appreciation of this movie for this Trek fan. And finally “seeing” V’Ger the ship — what a treat, and I thought it looked great. And the proportions are improved drastically from the theatrical cut.
And the briefing lounge scene is still hamstring form the source material, of which some key film components for that scene are lost forever — the producers covered this in the Q&A session following the LA showings.
You a entitled to your opinion though…IDIC
Look, we should all be impressed he’s even still alive and able to complain after taking so many knives to the eyes.
Exactly! LOL People just need to relax and enjoy this improved movie, and thank these dudes who have been working for years to try to get this close to what Wise would have liked to do had he been given the 6 more months he needed in 1979.
100% agree. Saw it in LA Monday night on the big screen…WOW!
Yes the still shot of the lounge redo looks like some bad roto work and the new background needs softening to match the original plate
In the theatrical version, they talked about the cloud dissipating around V’ger. I didn’t see it in the theatrical version or even the V’ger ship. It was nice to see in the 4K version. Film looks great!
Great feature here, nice work on the comparisons. I really enjoyed watching the 2022 version with all the ‘upgrades.’ Really sharp.
There’s an audible reason for this change as well. Watch the scene without that added CGI and listen to Jerry Goldsmith’s score. Note how in all previous versions of the film, there is a small portion of the score that is cut out. In this new Director’s Edition, the score finally plays in full thanks to the added time that this new CGI shot provides. Mike Matessino even stated that for this new Director’s Edition the music was edited first and the film was edited to it. I would conclude this CGI shot was done because of the new music edit rather than provide any visual “continuity” between shots.
i’m glad someone else caught that! it had bothered me about earlier versions, that there was that short cut in Goldsmith’s score… it’s one of my favorite bits of it, and the cut always bothered me. so it was a nice kick, in the cinema on monday, to realize they had created the time for those few measures.
I saw it on Saturday, a full-circle reunion with my younger self who first got to see it on opening day in 1979. Still full of awkward moments re-introducing the TOS characters in its first half, the movie only really begins to achieve anything like liftoff after Persis Khambatta gets zapped, at which point it becomes a decent exploration of various SF tropes. But, for my money, it will probably never look or sound better than it does right now.
“But, for my money, it will probably never look or sound better than it does right now.”
It only took 43 years.
Now where’s my “digital restoration”?
Isn’t that a ‘space-matrix restoration coil?’ I seem to remember there being a voice-over or computer voice mentioning that.
The change I don’t like is in the audio… The anemic red alert klaxon (I guess repeated… pre-peated? …here from Wrath of Khan when Enterprise raises its shields) during the wormhole and Ilia-zapping energy probe sequences. It’s so tinny and digital and wimpy compared to the downright terrifying klaxon from the 1979 and 2001 versions.
Agreed. I posted this (we have the same name) here yesterday on another thread.
Absolutely agree as well. I also miss the computer voice when Kirk first boards the Enterprise (Attention launch crew, travel pod available at cargo six), and when Kirk walks over to Engineering to talk to Decker (Engineering to all decks, auxiliary power test in 3 minutes) and also the Ilia probe sonic shower scene. That voice so much added to the atmosphere of the scenes… Not sure how to put this, but it’s like it gave the Enterprise a soul…
Yes! “Pod secured. Pressure equalized.” I miss that voice too!
The arm band swap was not a continuity error, it was a prank by Nimoy & Kelley!
Shoulda left it alone. And neither are here to point out it didn’t need fixing.
It’s just not for me. I respect and appreciate what they were able to do originally. Let it stand as that. This obsession with upgrading and tweaking everything to conform to todays standard just takes away from that in my opinion.
I respect that opinion, I just think in this case it’s a grey area considering the film’s unfortunate circumstances. It didn’t even get to live up to 1979 standards when it was released, and the lovingly-made 2001 edition was falling into obscurity as an SD curiosity fans would have to seek out in a dying media format.
This still feels like a respectful and artfully made interpretation of Robert Wise’s preferred cut, futureproofed so his vision is accessible to everyone. We’ll always still have the theatrical cut.
As long as it doesn’t become the only version i can view it as a Special Edition, you can own both versions unlike with Star Wars, where you can only buy the 2020 Special Edition in 4K.
The Officer’s Lounge change was abysmal on the big screen in 4K.
Yeah, the screencap here looks awful! Why couldn’t they leave that with the smaller window like version 1 or version 2. goodness me.
I didn’t see the Q&A where they yalked about how difficult that was to do with what they still had to work with, but it does strike me as being a better compromise to just leave the window as is and stick the nacelle in the corner. Less to roto while still addressing the perspective issue.
I love the attention to detail and love that flew into this new version! I hope the tng films will also begin released in 4k (blu ray) soon!
For me the coolest new Enterprise VFX shot was the distance shot of the tiny E coming out of the back end of V’ger and doing a 180 degree turn…I nearly wet my pants on how cool that was to see.
Saw in on the Big Screen Monday in LA. So glad that I did not watch it on streaming first. In fact, now I am not going to watch it again until I get the 4K Blu-ray…don’t want to cheapen my viewing experience with the limitations of streaming quality.
The jackets one is kind of a big deal- an actual on-set goof corrected.
Spike’s Star Trek site has a whole list of uniform goofs. How many can be corrected now?
As someone who remembers sitting in the theater when this film was released the first time – this re release was for me a surreal experience. I still vividly remember my emotions as we all shared Kirk’s pride & joy when our beloved Enterprise appears on screen the first time. This new version looks amazing – sounds amazing – and on the big screen as it should be — savored – absorbed – amazed — this is why Star Trek is a world that will entertain for decades to come – so special
I’m sorry but for something that’s been talked up as the “definitive” version that they worked on for so long, there are still far, far too many errors and bad decisions in this thing. I went over them in detail on the original post following release, but let’s recap:
I will appreciate all the incredible things they DID manage to do, including a lot of the ones outlined in this post which I didn’t even realize, but it’s still not perfect enough for my taste, and I demand perfection, dammit! :D This is my favorite Trek movie and I was hoping I would finally have no nitpicks, but there are some truly grating things about this release that I find means that some amalgam between this, the DVD and the original release is my “favorite” version of the film. I would love to be given all the time and money to make my own version of the movie, and see what fans think – I bet it would impress.
The Matte Lines around the Klingon ships really should have been cleaned up. It’s the opening shot of the movie and should have been pristine. It would have better served the film to not waste precious time on the lounge scene and invest it in cleaning that opening shot.
The rest of stuff you list I’m fine with…well…except for those sparkles. They are extremely amateurish looking.
If there was one other thing I would like to see better balanced is the matching of grain on the CGI to the original footages. Some of it really jumps out as CGI…especially the shot of the vger vessel at the end when it becomes pure energy. That shot looked very poor compared to the 2001 DVD. I think they should have executed that one the same as they did in 2001.
Is it confirmed the 4K disc will come with a blu-ray? in a combo pack like the theatrical 1-4 box set.
Saw it back in the late 80s on VHS and I remember feeling stunned by how cold this movie was, and how removed the characters were from their Original Series selves.
Coming back to it now, I can visibly see the improved audio and corrected color palatte (as well as a sharper overall image) has changed things for the better. The movie looks and feels closer to what was originally intended: a post-Original Series episode made for the big screen. The leads (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc) are grounded, and the crew and ship around them are livelier. The mixed bag here may be V’ger, which has lost some of its coldness, but has gained complexity as a character.
Some of the old story problems remain here however. It still takes forever for this movie to get started and we all know the scenes I’m talking about.
We have to concede some of our current disappointment may lay in the fact that, having seen this movie before, the mystery about what V’ger is, is gone. Kind of like re-watching the Sixth Sense. Still, a solid three abd half stars.
I just managed to watch this in the UK. I had to raise the jolly roger in the end to get it.
It’s a strange thing this version. First off, like the original Directors Edition, I love the changes to the editing, it really improves the watchability of the film.
However some of the changes in this version, and some things that weren’t changed, are quite puzzling. To start off the new sparkly titles are awful, embarrassingly awful. Then we jump in to the Klingons attacking V’ger and there are the same old ENORMOUS matte lines, we also see loads more matte lines throughout the rest of the film, including the weird matte effect around the lights on the space dock scene – surely in 2022 we could have got those taken care off.
Speaking of the space dock scene, it’s a strange thing but for the first time ever watching this film the Enterprise looked like a model. To me it’s always looked like a real enormous ship but from certain angles in this version it looked model like. I don’t know if it’s because it’s in 4K but it’s the first time I ever thought that.
Then the other thing that really took me out of the film was the V’ger spacecraft itself – it really looked like bad CGI, it didn’t fit at all with the look of the rest of the film, and the head on shot at the end when it is just about to disintegrate just made me laugh. it was a genuine “WTF is that” moment.
Finally, the officers lounge scene. What on earth were they thinking? They should have just kept the original shot.
What I did like was the new sound mix, I found the dialogue and effects were much more intelligible and nicely separated from the music, although I missed some of the ship based announcements which were much quieter. As others have mentioned I didn’t like the new red alert klaxon.
I know it sounds like I hated this but I didn’t at all. I’m really, really, glad they did it and it’s the best this film has ever looked but I wish they had spent much more time cleaning up what we already had than creating new stuff that didn’t quite fit in.
Did they trim a substantial portion of the 10+ minutes of the Enterprise’s rendezvous with destiny, as it flies into Vger’s gaping maw?
I prefer to think they flew up its butt.
Has anyone else noticed that there is a new computer display animation on the Epsilon 9 control station monitor that reveals the Klingon attack under way? It shows the 3 vessels in the tactical display, and one of them winks out of existence. I don’t think this imagery appeared in the previous versions. Rather, we saw the visuals for 2 of the 3 Klingon vessels getting destroyed. This image on the computer monitor sort of completes the narrative structure. I thought it was a deft addition.