Star Trek (Blu-ray)

May 10, 2013 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I feel that so long as television and movies exist, so too will Star Trek in one form or another.  Regardless if you’re a Trekkie or not, I think it’d be hard to admit that Gene Roddenberry’s creation hasn’t impacted pretty much everyone on the planet.  Yes, the original series only lasted three seasons and it was about as corny as television came, but it did pave the way and even impacted directors and writers for future projects.  The original crew then had more success with the feature-length films, the first starting in the mid 70’s and they made their last appearance in 1994’s Generations, which linked some of the original crew to that of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Flash forward fifteen more years and we’ve got the same story, but an all new (and much more attractive) crew.  Purists might argue there was no need to do this, but in order to introduce the Enterprise to a new generation, this series “reboot” was a necessary step.  That and it’s all the rage in Hollywood.  Everything old is new again, right?

You know the names, but not really how they came to be on the Enterprise.  James Kirk (Chris Pine) is a reckless youth with no real direction, but his father, Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) sees that there’s potential in young James and encourages him to enroll in Starfleet Academy.  We then meet the remainder of the cast and crew with Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) and Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana).  After some initial tension between Spock and Kirk, we see the true nature of the movie and the mission – defeat the Romulans.  A man named Nero (Eric Bana) has threatened the Enterprise and Starfleet in general.  We all know what must happen and this is where Star Trek excels, at warp speed I might add!

When you’re messing with a Star Trek movie, you’d better know what you’re doing and J.J. Abrams is one of the few that really does.  He’s carefully crafted a taut, engaging movie with a story that we’ve all known existed for the better part of 45 years.  There’s a lot to be said for that.  This new, more youthful cast, has had a lot to live up to, but I think each and every one of them pulled it off.  Yes, we know the story, we know about what happens to the guys in the red suits and we know that there’ll always be tension between Spock and Kirk.  If anything is logical, it’s that those two won’t always see eye to eye.  However like Batman, Spider-Man and Superman so too has Star Trek been rebooted and it’s a change for the better.

Video: How does it look?

Taking a look at Star Trek on Blu-ray is to get the very best and get what you’d expect – namely a top notch transfer that, literally, has no faults present.  The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is never compromised from start to finish.  Black levels and contrast are rock solid, detail is amazing (you can read the text on the displays throughout), colors (at times) are bold and vidid, just look at the textures in the red, yellow and blue uniforms of the Enterprise.  While it’s true that science-fiction films generally do tend to look good, this is one of the more high profile releases and, as such exceeded my expectations.  Paramount has done a bangup job with this disc and it’s reference quality in every sense of the word.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is just as amazing.  Granted this disc is now a few years old and most studios have switched to DTS Master Audio, but that’s not to say that this uncompressed soundtrack can’t pack a punch. It does. Vocals are strong and focused, Chris Pine’s gravely voice seems to resonate through the main channel. The front stage is overly active with surrounds never slowing the pace as they’re always offering some sort of support.  The LFE are heavily involved as well, making way for a very immersive mix and one that’s sure to please.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This three disc set is packed to the gills with supplements and there’s a lot of material to cover.  Let’s get started.  The lone supplement on the first disc is the feature-length commentary by director J.J. Abrams, producers Bryan Burk & Damon Lindelof, and writers Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci who give a very fluid account of the film.  It’s got a great pace and is full of information.  A must listen.  Moving onto the second disc, we find the main mean of the supplements.  Granted, these are mainly featurettes and some deleted scenes, but they do offer up tons of information on the film.  Starting us off is “To Boldly Go” in which we get some interviews with the cast and crew about re-launching the franchise.  There are four little tidbits that can also be clicked on or viewed individually.  “Casting” tells of the actors and the iconic roles they’re inheriting.  “Starships” looks at the physical design of the ships used in the movie and how they were able to make the somewhat dated crafts look more modern.  “Aliens” tells how the makeup was used to make the actors look like, well, aliens and we see some footage of Spock’s ears.  “Planets” looks at creating planet Vulcan, how they built a snow planet in the middle of Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium to be exact) and how they made San Francisco look futuristic.  “Props and Costumes” looks at the physical design of the costumes, the phasers, communicators and the like.  “Ben Burtt and the Sounds of Star Trek” is an interview with sound designer Ben Burtt as he tells of his research and how some of the amazing sounds were created for the film.  Composer Michael Giacchino tells of approach to the film in “Score.” “Gene Roddenberry’s Vision” is a tribute to the show’s creator and his view of a more unified future. Nine deleted scenes are also included with or without director commentary.  There’s also a Digital Copy of the film as well as a gag reel and the original theatrical trailer.

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