Released in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture succeeded in bringing the Star Trek fanbase to a new level by expanding the franchise to the theatrical world. But the film was rushed to meet a determined release day, much to the chagrin of Director Robert Wise. In 2001, the director re-edited the film and enhanced the visual effects. That version was released on DVD. Until now, there hasn’t been an upgrade of the Director’s Edition from Standard Definition. After over 6 months of restoration work, color grading, and enhanced visual effects re-created in 4k, the Director’s Edition has been upgraded for release on Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Theatrical Cut was already available in 4k in The Original 4-Movie Collection released exactly a year ago on Ultra HD Blu-ray. The 4k video and Dolby Vision/HDR10 color specs are the same on the Director’s Edition, but the English audio was upgraded from Dolby TrueHD 7.1 to Dolby Atmos. What’s more, there are deleted scenes, production tests, and an 8-part documentary detailing how the Director’s Edition came to life all added as new extras along with legacy bonus material.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition is available in a 2-disc 4k Blu-ray edition as well as ‘The Complete Adventure 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Set’ (pictured below). A second Blu-ray disc that contains the bonus materials is included in the 4k Blu-ray/Digital combo edition but is not indicated on the cover sleeve or plastic case insert. The standard 2-disc edition is list priced $30.99 while The Complete Adventure is priced $94.96. Here’s a review of the video, audio, and extras included in the edition.
Video on the 4k Blu-ray edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Directors Edition is presented in 4K with Dolby Vision and HDR10. Colors are extremely vibrant with HDR (expanding the color depth limits up to 10-bits). The bitrate averaged around 50-60Mbps with variations depending on the depth of color and detail in the scene.
We’ve reviewed the video quality before and gave it a score between 3 and 4 out of 5, depending on the scene. There are some shots that are sort of blurry (like when the Klingons encounter the massive energy in the opening scene) but for the most part the restoration has delivered a vastly improved image in terms of both sharpness, highlighted by the U.S.S. Enterprise that had shots rebuilt using 3D software and the original scale model as reference.
Color is equally impressive, with simple and almost crayon-like outerspace palettes that glow on screens and projection screens. The scene at 1 hour and 35 minutes where Spock ejects towards V’GER in a thruster suit is just gorgeous. And, the colors at 1 hour and 36 minutes when he propels himself towards the center of the alien vessel are intense.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Directors Edition offers object-based Dolby Atmos immersive audio. This is an upgrade from last year’s Theatrical Cut with Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, we were excited to review this disc from Paramount.
The introduction composition with credit is more crisp and detailed, with horns and instrumentals more focused in surround speakers. There are some bright chimes (a common thread throughout the soundtrack) in the front center speaker that are so crisp it’s as if the instruments are there in the room with you.
In the opening scene with the Klingon warship the audio utilizes surround and activates overheads for a great start, with instruments more evident than in previous mixes. Phaser shots sweep through speakers and can travel behind your head with the right speaker arrangement. On Starfleet’s Epsilon Nine radio transmissions can be heard clearly in left and right channels. The scene when the Enterprise enters a wormhole (in Chap. 9) has got some really nice sound design and is audible through mainly side speakers but also overhead.
Thank you Mr. Scott
In the long transport of Kirk and Scotty the audio has been enhanced with more surround effects. You may even hear some ambient noise that wasn’t available in the last mix. is chimes that are clear in the center channel. There is also a hissing sound that was not as present in previous mixes. The TrueHD 7.1 mix on the previously-released Theatrical Cut was already a pretty solid surround sound experience, but this new mix gives the soundtrack new life.
If you are an audio person you will no doubt enjoy the experience that the new Atmos mix delivers. In some ways, the soundtrack is more powerful than the imagery. The only criticism is of the Klingon voices (mixed in the front channel) that seemed a bit distorted compared to the other audio especially dialogue audio.
It was said that Jerry Goldsmith created a score so good that the filmmakers wished they had made a film that was as good. The soundtrack to Star Trek: The Motion Picture is as iconic as the movie itself (the number of CDs sold can attest to this). With sweeping orchestral movements and a theme that’s so easy to remember it’s a soundtrack that can easily be enjoyed without any visuals.
Not only is the Dolby Atmos soundtrack a reason to purchase The Directors Edition, there is an impressive amount of new bonus material included on the 1080p Blu-ray Disc (Note: The front of the slipcover and case do not indicate a Blu-ray Disc is included, only a 4k Blu-ray and Digital Code. Paramount likely did not want buyers thinking there is a Blu-ray version of The Director’s Cut included.) Those extras include “The Human adventure” 8-part documentary that details how The Director’s Edition came to be.
There are also new deleted scenes, effects tests, costume tests, computer display graphics, and legacy bonus contact all included on the 1080p Blu-ray Disc. On the ultra HD disk, there is optional audio commentary including a new audio comment s track with David C. Fein, Mike Matessino, and Daren Dochterman.
What’s really helpful is that the extras are separated into New and Legacy sections so you can easily jump to watch all the new bonus features in order or as individual pieces rather than sort through all the extras to find the new stuff. The deleted scenes are great to see, albeit minimal with the exception of a dialogue between Kirk, McCoy, and Spock in which some of the audio is missing and subtitles are inserted. The Effects Tests, Costume Tests, and Computer Display Graphics all add to the nostalgia of the film.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Directors Edition on 4k Blu-ray is a must buy for audiophiles, fans of Star Trek (especially the original films) given the unseen footage, and anyone with a home theater that wants to see an impressive restoration of an almost 45-year-old film. Expectations were exceeded on the upgraded audio. The new Atmos mix doesn’t seem forced or gimmicky — it just seems like a great soundtrack to what some consider the best of the six original Star Trek films.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition
Ultra HD Disc Bonus Features
- Audio Commentary with 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
Blu-ray Disc Bonus features
- The Human Adventure—An all-new 8-part documentary detailing how the Director’s Edition came to life—NEW!
- Preparing the Future – How the remastering began
- A Wise Choice – The storied history of Robert Wise
- Refitting the Enterprise – How the Enterprise design shaped future federation starships
- Sounding Off – Exploring new dimensions of sound in Dolby Atmos
- V’ger – The conception and restoration of an iconic alien antagonist
- Return to Tomorrow – Reaching an already high bar with new CGI effects
- A Grand Theme – Behind the iconic, influential music score that shaped the franchise’s future
- The Grand Vision – The legacy and evolving reputation of this classic movie
- Deleted Scenes—NEW!
- Effects Tests—NEW!
- Costume Tests—NEW!
- Computer Display Graphics—NEW!
- Additional legacy bonus content
Star Trek: The Motion Picture—The Director’s Edition—The Complete Adventure 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Set
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition Collector’s Set includes all of the features and bonuses above plus an additional 4K Ultra HD disc containing:
- The Theatrical Cut
- The first-ever widescreen presentation of the Special Longer Version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, originally created for broadcast television in 1983