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Star Trek: The Motion Picture
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Star Trek: The Motion Picture order
Robert Wise

William Shatner
Leonard Nimoy
DeForest Kelley


star Printer-Friendly version
The usual suspects soar in a brand new Enterprise and meet up with a mysterious energy cloud that swallowed up three Klingon ships and is headed straight for Earth. The entire original cast, as well as some new additions, join up and try to save the universe once more. In the immortal words of Scotty: Kirk, Spock and their buddies give it all that she’s got!
This is a great movie if only because of the spiritual feeling and plot depth that it has in comparison to the cheese-filled original series from the sixties. A more subdued Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise take on a darker look and a more sober attitude gives a bit more of a realistic feeling than the swashbuckling adventurer type from the TV show.

Coupled up with a stirring soundtrack and some pretty nifty special effects, the plot about the mysterious energy cloud intent on destroying humanity constantly keeps the viewer’s focus and the slow, methodical pace of the movie along with the cold and dark feel of space, are a true mood-altering combination. The villainous cloud manages to frighten without even moving or saying a word. It’s mere presence and enormity are imposing enough to convey the true danger and to appreciate the crew’s difficulty in figuring out how to deal with it.

Nevertheless, in true Star Trek fashion, the film is peppered with action, humor and the cast is as engaging as it’s always been. Shatner manages not... to…speak… like this! Spock is his usual logical self and Bones McCoy is as crabby as he’s always been. The supporting cast of Mr. Sulu and Mr. Chekov, along with Lt. Uhura are all riding high once again. Newcomers include Stephen Collins as Commander Decker and the late, trance-inducing Persis Khambatta (former Miss India) as Lt. Ilia
Some pretty decent extras although the disappointment for me was that there wasn’t enough “Trekkie Junk” on it. Although I can’t really consider myself a Trekkie, I’ve always enjoyed the show and the films and I would have liked to have seen a bit more about the original TV show and a bit more info about the characters. Oh well… I guess they have to keep something for the next releases…

DISC #1: Two different Commentary Tracks appear on disc #1

Commentary #1: Group commentary by director Robert Wise, special photographic effects director Douglas Trumbull, special visual effects supervisor John Dykstra, music composer Jerry Goldsmith and actor Stephen Collins. I must admit I don’t usually listen to entire commentary tracks as they sometimes get repetitive, but I couldn’t turn away from this one. There’s nothing really special about it except for the fact that all the participants are really insightful and they really talk about things related to the movie instead of boring you with little anecdotes about how the director was eating soup the day they shot a scene. These guys talk about the plot, the actors, the special effects, the music, the shooting, the series and things Star Trek in general… fun stuff…

Commentary #2: Text Commentary by Michael Okuda, co-author of the Star Trek Encyclopedia. Not really the type of feature I go crazy about…Basically like seeing the entire feature with a pop-up video type of thing happening. If I watch the movie, let me watch the movie, but I don’t like reading captions for 138 minutes while a cool movie is playing inches above. For the devout Trekkie. If you grok Spock, you’ll grok this.

DISC #2: There are three documentaries on disc #2:

Documentary #1: Phase II: The Lost Enterprise (12 minutes) . Slick little documentary chronicles Paramount’s back and forth dilemma between making this a feature film or a TV series as it was originally planned to be. You get to see some of the screen and costume tests for the planned series and how it was finally decided that it should become a movie. Considering the success of the ensuing franchise, I guess Paramount ended up aces.

Documentary #2: A Bold New Enterprise (30 minutes). Comprehensive “making of” feature including segments on special effects, models, makeup, costume, music, sound effects, Shatner’s hairpiece, the new Enterprise and all those other good things… Pretty complete, very interesting and definitely not a waste of time. Shatner actually manages to over-act in a documentary while explaining how he had to act in front of a blue screen. The man is a world treasure.

Documentary #3: Redirecting the Future (14 minutes). Little feature about how they chose which scenes to enhance, to change, to add and to edit for this Director’s Cut and about how they seamlessly incorporated the new effects in. I have to admit it was pretty cool since they achieved their goal of not having the newer CGI effects overpower the older ones and take the movie over. One should hope that George Lucas would take the time to watch this.

Trailers & TV Spots: 3 trailers are included as well as 8 different TV spots for the original release of the movie in 1979. One of the trailers is actually a promo for the new series “Enterprise” which will begin this year, stars Scott Bakula and which I will not watch. I really hate when they put trailers for other things in DVDs. That being said, the two trailers for the actual film are pretty cool and the TV spots are just classic 70’s grit.

Additional & Deleted scenes: Features include 5 additional scenes from the 1979 movie version as well as some trims and outtakes and 11 deleted scenes from the 1983 TV version of the same film. Some of them fill in the movie a bit but most are just there because they were cut for length and deemed unnecessary. I usually find deleted scenes corny since most of them are usually cut for good reason, but these are pretty cool if only because of the familiarity of the characters and the opportunity to see more of Persis Khambatta (I believe I mentioned above that she is trance-inducing).

Storyboard Archives: Full set of storyboards. Not really much to say, but hey, I watched all of them…
Worth buying solely for the movie and it’s wonderfully re-mastered look. Decent extras and a nice, attractive package add to the recipe and fill in any residual appetite you might have. Beam to your nearest DVD shop and plunk down the moolah to catch some Uhura!
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