Paramount has remastered the original four movies from the Star Trek franchise for release to 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray on Sept. 7, 2021. The 4-Movie Collection includes Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) – both Theatrical and Director’s Cuts, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). All movies are presented on both 4k Blu-ray and 2k Blu-ray from the new restorations. Codes to redeem Digital Copies are also included. We’ll be focusing on ‘The Motion Picture’ for this article, with the other three titles to follow.
Star Trek: The 4-Movie Collection on 4k Blu-ray was reviewed on a 75” Sony Bravia LED 4k HDR TV with a Sony HT-ST5000 soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos audio. The disc player is the Sony UBP-X800M2 with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG HDR formats.
In this new Ultra HD Blu-ray edition, the four original Star Trek films are presented in 4k (2160p) resolution at 24 frames-per-second. The HDR is provided in Dolby Vision providing 10-bits of color depth. The bitrate averaged around 50-60Mbps with variations depending on the depth of color and detail in the scene.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) has a nice cinematic quality that recalls what the movie must have looked like projected from 35mm film. There is good contrast and color saturation (enhanced with Dolby Vision), as well as detail in shadows not evident in past Blu-ray editions.
One might have hoped to see better sharpness in some scenes, for example, the opening of ‘The Motion Picture’ when the Klingons encounter the massive energy cloud (see image). But other shots are very impressive for the age of the original film elements.
The best part about watching an older film restored to 4k may be the details that may not have been noticed before. Take, for example, the small wrist brace under Kirk’s wrist when he is in the captain’s chair (see image). Or, the eyeliner William Shatner wore when playing Kirk that is clearly evident in 4k.
Or, how about the incredible details in the model docking station for the Enterprise? That scene, when Kirk and Scotty shuttle to the Enterprise while being retrofitted, seems to last an eternity by today’s standards. But the amount of work in lighting, moving elements, and cinematography in this scale rendering can be more appreciated in 4k.
However, grainy and flat could be the words to describe some of the video quality in these four films. There are scenes, notably in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that lack any contrast at all. However, the grain can be overlooked as just part of the quality of the film rather than a knock against it. The film elements are going back to the late 70s and early 80s. There is going to be grain.
All four films in this collection are presented in English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 as well as many other languages in various formats. The case insert only indicates English TrueHD and French Dolby Digital 2.0, but as you can see from the Settings menu there are more options. The case inserts also only note subtitles in English SDH and French, but when going to the Settings screen there are many more including Dutch, Japanese, Spanish (Spain), and six more languages.
The audio on each disc is formatted in 48kHz and streams at around 4.9Mbps depending on the sound components, with good left/right surround effects in some scenes and a more centralized mix in others. Dialogue is exceptionally crisp even above the sounds of crashes, weapon fire, and explosions.
The audio side of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is, arguably, the best part of this film. With its Osar-nominated original film score from Jerry Goldsmith, the soundtrack to ‘The Motion Picture’ is both triumphant and transcending, having been influenced by John William’s Star Wars compositions and the romantic idea of space. As a new bonus on the 4k disc, the isolated music score is offered in Dolby 2.0. This can be accessed as a “Scene” from the menu or in the Settings under Audio.
We should let you know Paramount has promised a Dolby Atmos version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and this is confirmed for streaming on Paramount+. But, whether or not there will be a single movie release of the film to 4k Blu-ray is still not known (at least to us).
The disc menu follows the same structure throughout all four movies — a poster image of the stars of the movie along with buttons for Play, Settings, and Scenes. There have certainly been more interesting Home screens, but we’re here for the movie right?
Most of the bonus materials are contained the Blu-ray Discs, but the 4k Blu-rays do include optional audio commentaries. In ‘The Motion Picture’ you can hear commentaries from Michael and Denise Okuda, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman.
The rest of the extras have been previously released on Blu-ray editions and are only accessible on the 2k Blu-ray Discs.
Digital Copies can be considered a bonus to this combo edition from Paramount. There are two codes provided in an insert (one for two films) and those are presumably redeemed in Digital 4k UHD where available.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture