Review: ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition’ Stuns On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition has come home in three editions. A 2-disc Ultra HD Blu-ray set, a 2-disc standard Blu-ray set, and a special limited edition 3-disc Ultra HD Blu-ray set called “The Complete Adventure.” This review will focus on the Ultra HD Blu-ray set and the US version of the limited edition box set.

The Motion Picture

Before there was a movie franchise, there was simply Star Trek: The Motion Picture. As the name states, this was a film based on Star Trek: The Original Series, released 10 years after the series was canceled, it was an almost unheard idea to not only bring back a canceled TV show but do it on the silver screen. Rushed to theaters in December 1979, the cerebral style and more quiet pacing make it stand apart from the later Trek films. Yet TMP seems to have undergone a reevaluation in the last 10 years — more people seem to like it, with less complaints about it being the “motionless picture.” Due to the grand scale and scope of Robert Wise’s film, it is also the most fitting to have a near-total rework done to unleash the visual and aural splendor that was hiding underneath the hazy veneer of the rushed post-production. There’s much more that could be said of the The Motion Picture and this latest Director’s Edition, if you’re interested to read more I highly recommend reading my colleague Brian’s review when the 2022 DE was released on Paramount+ earlier this year.

Spock returns to the Enterprise.

The Director’s Edition in Ultra HD

This brand new for 2022 edition is based on the blueprint of the previous 2001 standard definition DVD Director’s Edition, but everything has been worked on with modern tools for 4K and HDR. Perhaps most importantly, this time the DE team was able to recover a significant amount of the original visual effects footage, and were thus able to re-composite a number of visual effects shots, making those shots look amazingly clear. No less importantly, the team also found a significant amount of original dialog replacement (ADR) recordings, and recordings of background audio that were to be used in comm chatter if time hadn’t run out in 1979. It’s hard to convey just how much is different and yet the same with this edition. It’s like the movie we all knew but it’s been heightened.

Spock goes rocketing into the heart of V’Ger

NOTE: Most of the screenshots included in this article are from the 1080p trailer video. The 4k HDR versions look even better. Staring at still frames of a motion picture isn’t exactly how a film is intended to be watched, so take these as general demonstration of the changes.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray set

The standard retail edition contains two discs: the main film, and a disc of bonus features.

Video Quality

The new 2022 Director’s Edition is a stunning film, using modern remastering tools, along with the re-composited original elements and new renders of the CGI scenes that were inserted for the DE. The film is gorgeous. The movie looks sharp and clean, with a level of detail and color (yes there’s rich saturated colors in the film, despite the ’70s color palette used for the costumes) that’s never been seen before. The film looks noticeably better in the extremes, like the dark blues of the V’Ger interior and the bright explosion as the Enterprise emerges. Thanks to HDR that brightness is quite bright, but never overwhelms the details inside the transformation. These high complexity, high brightness scenes are where the streaming version on Paramount+ started to break down (getting blockier), thanks to the high bitrate of being on disc, there aren’t any such issues here.

If I had to quibble, I would say things look perhaps a bit too clean for a movie from 1979. A lot of grain reduction was done to the 35mm elements, while not in a way that compromises image quality, it’s just a bit surprising to see very subtle film grain in a movie of the era. I assume the intent was to make everything match the fine grain 65mm visual effects elements that they were able to pull from the archives.

Audio Quality

Just as impressive as the remastered visuals is the brand new Dolby Atmos audio mix. As mentioned above, this isn’t just a new mix of the existing audio elements, there are a lot of new sounds/dialog thanks to the team finding director Wise’s preferred dialog takes, new background chatter recordings, etc. Jerry Goldsmith’s score really makes the film, and it has been lovingly crafted into the brand new Atmos mix by legendary music producer (and Goldsmith collaborator) Bruce Botnik. I’m going to quote Brian’s review since he described this new mix so deftly earlier this year:

Every environment is more sonically active. The Enterprise is full of many different sounds that really gives you the feel of being on starship, and V’Ger itself has far more of an auditory presence and feels more menacing and mysterious.

The music cues from Jerry Goldsmith’s legendary score have been remixed under the supervision of engineer/producer Bruce Botnick, a longtime colleague of Goldsmith’s who was part of the original scoring sessions in 1979. Some of the cues feel like they’ve been remixed in a way that favors a particular instrument, but by and large the score remains the same and sounds better than ever.

The wormhole dissipates thanks to a well-placed photon torpedo.

Special Features

On the main feature disc you get a new audio commentary from the Director’s Edition crew along with legacy commentaries, and an isolated score feature. Here is the full breakdown:

  • Audio Commentary by David C. Fein, Mike Matessino, and Daren R. Dochterman (NEW)
  • Audio Commentary by Robert Wise, Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Jerry Goldsmith, and Stephen Collins
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda
  • Isolated Score

Things get even better: no matter which version you buy, you get a second disc, a standard Blu-ray filled with new and legacy features.

New features

There’s a new 8-part documentary titled “The Human Adventure,” which runs about 48 minutes in total. This includes new interviews with the DE team, and others. Notably we hear from visual effects pioneer John Dykstra, who split duties with the late Douglass Trumbull on the visual effects for TMP.

Most exciting for hardcore TMP fans are going to be the deleted scenes the DE team was able to unearth. First and foremost is the long-assumed lost scene of Decker and the Ilia probe in engineering (a portion of which can be seen in the embedded promo video at the bottom of this review). Additionally, the team found the scene where the security guard is killed by the V’Ger probe — which frankly isn’t all that interesting. And video only of the corresponding scene at the end of the movie where the security guard is mentioned in the casualty list.

Scotty looks watches the Ilia probe examine engineering in a deleted scene.

Also neat are the little vignettes of the screen tests of the effects and costumes. For graphics nerds, there’s a very cool feature of all the bridge (and one or two sickbay) animated display graphics scanned from the original film sources that were looped behind the displays on set.

Here is a complete breakdown the new special features:

  • The Human Adventure
    • Preparing the Future (HD – 4:13)
    • A Wise Choice (HD – 4:04)
    • Refitting the Enterprise (HD – 6:57)
    • Sounding Off (HD – 6:47)
    • V’ger (HD – 6:53)
    • Return to Tomorrow (HD – 6:04)
    • A Grand Theme (HD – 7:14)
    • The Grand Vision (HD – 6:02)
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Ilia & Decker in Engineering (HD – 3:16)
    • Security Guard (HD – :39)
    • Three Casualties (HD – :35)
  • Effects Tests (HD – 3:30)
  • Costume Tests (HD – 4:40)
  • Computer Display Graphics (HD – 3:10)

Legacy features

Notably, this includes the two TMP-centric parts of Roger Lay Jr’s excellent documentaries from the 50th anniversary boxed set.

  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Phase II: The Lost Enterprise (SD – 12:39)
    • A Bold New Enterprise (SD – 29:41)
    • Redirecting the Future (SD – 14:06)
    • The Longest Trek: Writing the Motion Picture (HD – 10:44)
    • Special Star Trek Reunion (HD – 9:37)
    • Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 001: The Mystery Behind V’Ger (HD – 4:24)
    • The New Frontier: Resurrecting Star Trek (HD – 30:01)
    • Maiden Voyage: Making Star Trek: The Motion Picture (HD – 29:13)
  • Storyboards
    • Vulcan (HD)
    • Enterprise Departure (HD)
    • V’Ger Revealed (HD)
  • Additional Scenes: 1979 Theatrical Version
    • Trims (SD – 6:08)
    • Outtakes/Memory Wall (SD – 2:49)
    • Vulcan and Starfleet (SD – 4:15)
    • Attack on the Enterprise (SD – 2:36)
    • Cloud Journey (SD – 3:31)
    • V’Ger Flyover (SD – 5:04)
    • Wing Walk (SD – 4:48)
  • Deleted Scenes: 1983 TV Version
    • Sulu and Ilia 1 (SD – 1:06)
    • Sulu and Ilia 2 (SD – :27)
    • Kirk’s Quarters (SD – :21)
    • Officer’s Lounge (SD – :13)
    • Attack on the Enterprise (SD – 1:08)
    • Intruder Transformation (SD – :32)
    • A Huge Vessel (SD – :47)
    • Kirk Follows Spock (SD – 1:13)
    • Ilia’s Quarters 1 (SD – 1:05)
    • Ilia’s Quarters 2 (SD – 1:20)
    • Its Creator Is a Machine (SD – :17)
  • Teaser Trailer (HD – 2:18)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:29)
  • TV Spots (SD – 8 spots – 4:13 in all)
    • Hardware
    • Startle Your Senses
    • Enterprise
    • Cast/Human Adventure
    • Spiritual Search
    • Spiritual/Startle Your Senses
    • Spiritual/Human Adventure
    • Event/Common Experience

The Complete Adventure

“The Complete Adventure” limited edition has everything in the regular Ultra HD Blu-ray set and adds a lot of fun extras. It includes reproductions of stickers and mini lobby cards from 1979, along with a nice booklet of behind-the-scenes information showing concept art, costumes, makeup, and matte paintings from the making of The Motion Picture. The discs are contained in a recreation of the awesome refit Enterprise cutaway poster.

Most importantly, the set adds another Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with 4K versions of the Theatrical and, exclusive to this set, the Special Longer Version. The various small “longer version” scenes are inserted to the theatrical version via seamless branching. So it’s all on one disc, when you first insert the disc you choose which of the two versions to play.

Since this disc is based upon the Theatrical version previously released, it contains the same legacy commentary with Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman. The SLV has no commentary track available.

The Special Longer Version (SLV) was last released on LaserDisc. Since then it hasn’t been on home video. There’s good reason for this, considering its origins as a padded “special edition” made for ABC to broadcast in 1983 for their “Sunday Night Movie” program. Basically, every viable deleted scene was thrown back into TMP, whether they added anything to the story, and in some cases whether they even made sense from a continuity perspective, for a special presentation of the movie on ABC. This version was then marketed on home video as the “Special Longer Version.”

If you grew up watching TMP on VHS as I did, then you probably know this version fairly well. In the USA for quite some time it was the only version of the film sold. It’s really rather amazing that Paramount agreed to have this alternate version put together in 4K. It’s really only for completists, but I do like the idea that I have every major version available to me.

The video quality is effectively the same as the standard theatrical 4K release from 2021, since that’s what this is disc is built upon. The SLV bits seem to have been cleaned up to about the same level as the theatrical version.

Likewise, audio quality is the same for the theatrical version, with the same Dolby TrueHD lossless 7.1 audio as the 2021 disc. However, when you choose the Special Longer Version, it is limited to a more basic stereo track.

The SLV has a rather infamous scene that was reinserted that has a major continuity error, and was totally unfinished. The scene is of Kirk deciding to follow Spock in an EV suit. This scene is actually from the scrapped “Memory Wall” sequence, which featured different spacesuits. So Kirk is seen suiting up with a different EV suit than when he ends up catching Spock — which is from the final cut with the more familiar EV suit design (seen again in TWOK). Kirk is seen jetting out of a hatch with obvious scaffolding around the portion of the set that was built. If the scene has made it to the final cut, it would have been inserted into a matte painting of the hull of the Enterprise, since it was scrapped, no such shot was made. For this new 4K version of the SLV, as a surprise for fans, this was fixed by adding digital matte of the Enterprise hull. If you want to see the difference, the original unaltered version is offered as “deleted scene.”

The scaffolding is now hidden by a new digital matte in this version of the SLV.

Available now

Star Trek: The Motion Picture –  The Director’s Edition was released in the USA on Tuesday, September 6 and you can pick it up at Amazon for $25.96. The standard Blu-ray edition is selling for $17.99. The limited edition “Complete Adventure” boxed set goes in and out of stock at Amazon, there is also limited stock at local Best Buy stores for $83.99, so check both sellers.

DISCLAIMER: We may link to products to buy on Amazon in our articles; these are customized affiliate links that support TrekMovie by earning a small commission when you purchase through them.

Promo Video

Paramount has released a portion of the deleted scene where Kirk prepares to broadcast a message down to engineering in the hopes that it will sway the Ilia probe.

 


Find more news about TMP-DE and other Star Trek home media and streaming at TrekMovie.com.

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My Blu Ray arrived today and I’m so delighted. This is my favourite Trek film and one of my favourite films full stop. I’ve been looking forward to this for years.

Calling it cerebral is being kind. IMO now as in 1979 it’s a rehash of “The Changeling”. I will admit the presentation is better and I’m glad they got rid of that annoying computer voice.

No, they took “The Changeling” script and remastered it. ;-)

Well, I’d rather watch this movie than that episode. At least we’re spared Uhura having to learn to read again. Yeesh.

Counterpoint: “The Changeling” involves a probe on killing spree and a case of mistake identity. V’Ger is literally on a quest to find its creator in hope that its creator can give it an answer to the only question it has left. It’s about evolution, and as basic as the answer winds up being (“love, connection to another being”) it’s one you do have to think about while watching it, and the script is structured very nicely where Spock’s journey parallels it. V’Ger wants what we all want.

Definitely. It’s legitimate to note the similarities, but calling one a remake of the other is pretty facile.

Well said. V’Ger is on a philosophical quest; Nomad just calls Kirk creator because it thinks he built it. There are elements that are similar, but you could say the same of Star Trek II, which is essentially a delayed continuation of “Space Seed,” with Kirk and co going up against the exact same character (much less capable) as in the TV show.

in the end nomad is seen as a threat and kirk destroys it.
v’ger is a mystery to be solved, leading to kirk and co understanding its nature and finding out how to give it what it needs without any more loss of life.

Oh goodness, can you imagine if this movie ended with Kirk talking VGer into self destructing? What a thought… The ending as it is, is transcendent (perhaps more by luck than by design since they didn’t even have an ending when they began filming).

The mysterious ending left the future for Spock – having seen the universe through V’Ger – incredibly open to IDIC within himself. Perhaps this was even more clear in the Roddenberry/Foster novel.

In subsequent films, Spock could have, in fact, should have shown some kind of growth..

As a high school student, going through some spiritual questions of my own, I wrote a fanfic about V’Ger inspiring Spock to renouncing logic. It was published in a very edited form, which I totally resented – she changed my story considerably. The editor’s reason was basically “the characters wouldn’t do this.” After that, I soured to fanfic. But happily focused on my own new characters and writing.

Just Roddenberry on the novel, not Foster.

Oh, interesting. I looked it up – Wikipedia says hecontributed to the story, not the novel.

Aside from Foster, who’s still with us, who can really say for sure? Either way, it’s not a bad piece of writing — more interesting, in many ways, than the film itself.

Foster has a limited edition book of his experiences writing for media but I guess it is OOP and super-expensive. Would love to get hold of it sometime, for the SW stuff if nothing else.

Re: Foster book.

Could it be The Director Should’ve Shot You?

Yeah, I think that is the title. I thought I’d bookmarked a site discussing it, but evidently not.

Totally off-topic, but I remember you were a huge Matheson fan, was reading an old FILMFAX Richard Matheson interview. Apparenty he hoped for a big studio verwsion of HELL HOUSE with Dick and Liz as the psychics and Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom as scientiest and wife. Gist is that he didn’t think that Hough took HELL HOUSE far enough, and that if they’d just waited till after EXORCIST hit, there’d have been studio interest in the property.

Also read that Blatty did an uncredited rewrite on THE OMEGA MAN (different article and issue), losing an arbitration for credit. Apparently his stuff is all of the one-liners (my favorite parts of the movie, which you know I love dearly despite its many lapses.)

There’s a huge McFarland book with horror interviews featuring Matheson, Kathryn Victor and tons of other folks. I was thinking of picking it up, it is a silver trade paperback. Have you ever read it?

spock does grow over time in the films, more relaxed in ‘khan’ and then kind of starting over as a person from ‘voyage home’ onwards

Got mine on Tuesday around 12 noon, so my afternoon was the celebratory viewing. Magnificent!

I had no idea McCoy’s ‘all us machines’ line was found — am very excited about that, and will have to talk to some folks about what kinds of editing equipment are needed to make my own cut of TMP, which will include ZERO CG images. (ideally it would have the original discarded Yuricich painting of Vulcan, the one that wasn’t all junked up with worlds in the sky that appeared in STARLOG a couple of times, but I haven’t ever found a high-rez image of it.) Would definitely cut the little guy fleeing ep9 as well.

A friend has been finessing the drydock scene to make a pretty big cut in the approach to E that won’t butcher the music (I think he has the same idea I’ve had, which is to skip the whole side-look and do the reveal as the pod comes around from the front), so he probably has the tools.

I’ll take the CGI, and you can have that original matte at the end that made the Enterprise’s saucer look like it was about twenty feet tall.

No argument about the latter, but I’m pretty sure that was one of the shots that production finished right at the end, but it didn’t get into the final, so theoretically they could have put the fixed version into this. In my theoretical cut, you wouldn’t even include the shot, I always thought the first shot (which looks bad on blu and dvd but to my eye looked fine in theater, on vhs and laserdisc) was more than enough to tell the story.

It’s okay, in spite of the distorted perspective. But I still think the CG replacement is far superior, and ties-in much better with the miniature footage (not to mention the original storyboards of how that shot was supposed to look).

I remember making my own cut of TMP on VHS back around 1982-’83, which horrified some people and delighted others. The approximate running time was 70-75 minutes, lol. I enjoy the film a lot more now, as it’s not as awfully dark as it was at the Century Theater Dome in San Jose, back in ’79.

You got that right about the Cen 22. I don’t know if you remember me telling you, but it was playing at the Plaza in Campbell a couple months later and I saw it there and it was so much brighter!

The Plaza was a 2nd run theater, but I wonder if they had union projectionists because movies always looked better there. I saw LOST HIGHWAY there too and the level of detail present wasn’t visible even on the DVD (the blu-ray did ‘catch up’ with the theatrical print.)

My memories of those days in San Jose are fairly vague, but I remember going to the Century to see Logan’s Rin in I guess the summer of ’76 (a day off from film school for me), I remember nearly walking out (but wanting to do so, badly!) on Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and I can’t remember if you were there, but seeing the first show on the first day of ALIEN, which was missing the sound on the first reel! So they had to fly in another first reel, but did the long line of movie-goers want to see the film from the beginning anyway? Of course everyone in that insanely long line screamed “YEAH!” lol

So it was like 20 minutes or whatever of the people in the Century making up dialogue and sound effects for the early parts of ALIEN, lol.

The thing I remember most about TMP at the Century being dark, was the opening sequence of the Klingon/V’Ger battle where the Klingon cruiser moves in and the great up and over turn as it moves away from us. It was so d@*n dark at the Century that I couldn’t see much of anything except inky blackness!

The new Bluray DE is SO NICE because I can see so much more, I can hear a lot more, and some of the edits/corrections (such as the V’Ger probe moving around the bridge!) have been very well “fixed” to the point where it doesn’t look so awful any longer!

I think the *only* thing I don’t like in this DE is the opening title animated (?) letters.

All in all, one of top my five favorite DVDs/Blurays of the year,

I read someplace today that Dochterman claims the titles are supposed to reflect the vger moire look as seen in the bridge probe and the evolution at the end. If so, it’s not a very good reflection. I mean, Apogee did a crappy job of emuating the evolution/transcendence moire on the bridge probe, but these titles from what I’ve seen are just ghastly. (I hated the DE DVD ones, too — it’s like somebody decided it would be cool to emulate the colors and fonts from a Stephen King omnibus — I think it was THE BACHMAN BOOKS. Plus I think all these titles that go out of focus like ST-FC are real headache inducers, Superman being the exception.)

Yeah, I don’t know, but the opening title letters just annoy the bleep outta me.

I’m making a cheap one hour film now for giggles, it’s all simple as possible. The only way to make it look any cheaper would be to use the awful Comic Sans font for the titles. It’s a story based on a weird old UFO urban legend from the ’60s, thus cheap is the only way to go, even for my 100th micro-budget film.

Have to agree about the titles, which are just over-the-top-tacky, like the “beaming-in” effect of the VOYAGE HOME title.

I thought it was going to be more hype than anything else, but I was seriously blown away by the AUDIO mix. It’s a completely different movie with the Atmos mix. The dialogue… for the first time ever… sound more in line with the audio quality of a late 80’s Star Trek movie. Much richer bottom end in the vocals that never existed before. Quite remarkable for the super-fan.

The audio mix had a lot of little things in it that I never picked up before. The pulsing sounds of the warp engines as they were spinning up was one of my favorites.

Hello,
Is this new DE version included in the new 1-6 UHD box set? I’m very confused

I got my 1-6 box set and it has the TMP DE included as well as the original theatrical in 4K.

It’s worth every freaking penny I spent on it !!!

FREAKING MAGNIFICENT

Still available on Amazon,$83.99.

You could watch this film on 8K it would still be a load of rubbish

Looking forward to my copy arriving. Coming from the UK to Canada so won’t be here for another week or so though.

Bought this for the special features and am really glad to see the security guard scene after all these years. They featured the scene on Topps cards back in ’79. Guess I’ll have to wait for a future release to see Spock save Kirk from those “crystals” in the Memory Wall trench. Supposedly they had a rough cut of the whole thing before they scrapped it.

Yeah, I’ve seen that site. I have lots of stills from the scene. I read they assembled what footage they had to show Trumbull before they decided to change things. I believe the book Return to Tomorrow mentions this but don’t have the book out. There are shots of Wise directing parts of this. Supposedly the wire work on the crystals and Shatner and Nimoy (and their doubles) didn’t look right so they had to have stuff to look at.

So I know this article mentions it, but does anybody here know the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Special Longer Version? The fact that I don’t get all the versions of the first one is literally the only thing that’s holding me back from purchasing the 6 film set.

This looks really poor in places.

Starfleet SF base water & other parts of the new VFX look terrible really shoddy low quality work that does not even fit into the scene at all.

Loads of scenes with dodgy glitchy travelling matte’s or visibly shaking models still in place.

They wasted all the miniscule budget they had on redoing things which did not need doing & do CALL ATTENTION to themselves as they do not fit the 1979 look at all yet did not bother fixing all the many still broken parts of the picture………!

The TV-Version of the movie is not part of The Complete Adventure-Box in Europe……

Daniel R.? ;-)
I bet this is gonna scare off a lot of german buyers…

Got the 4K Director’s Edition yesterday and watched it with my brother last night. It’s still our favorite Star Trek Movie and I think the pacing of this version is just about right. The movie whizzed by and held our attention even though we’ve seen it countless times.

The new 4K restoration really brings out the details to a level not seen before and the new sound mix really stands out, giving the movie a richer soundscape. The pulsing sound of the warp engines as they spin up was something I’d never really noticed before for example.

I’m a little disappointed that the standard edition just comes with the 4K disc, a disc of extras (largely legacy material) and the digital copy of only the movie. That’s a little bare bones as other studios will routinely include a 1080p BluRay of the film and digital access to the extras as well in the package. In that regard the Paramount comes across as a bit stingy here.

Still, it’s great to finally have a high-res edition of my favorite version of my favorite Star Trek movie. They really don’t make movies like this anymore.

I don’t want to repeat my comments, but I’d love to see a recut and “demastered” tv-version which shows how the proposed tv-pilot of Phase II “in the image” could have looked like.