Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Featured In Issue 141, July/August 2009

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Robert Wise
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Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a giant luminescent cloud is on a direct course for Earth, absorbing everything in its path. After a Klingon fleet and a Federation space station are destroyed, Admiral James T. Kirk (Shatner) assumes command of the newly-refitted starship Enterprise and heads at warp speed to intercept the menacing force. Once they are underway, they are joined by Mr. Spock (Nimoy), whose interest in the intruder seems more than scientific. (Tricia Spears)

Special features include commentary by Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman; and a "Library Computer" interactive experience that allows you to access information about people, technology, locations, and more at the moment each appears in the film. Under "Production" there is the featurette The Longest Trek: Writing The Motion Picture (HD 10:44) and under "The Star Trek Universe" there are two featurettes: Special Star Trek Reunion (HD 09:37) and Starfleet Academy Scisec Brief 001: Mystery Behind V'Ger (HD 04:24). Additionally, there are 11 deleted scenes, three storyboards, the teaser trailer and the theatrical trailer, seven TV spots, BD-Live interactivity, and up-front ads.

The 1080p AVC encoding exhibits pleasing color fidelity, with rich hues, deep blacks, and generally accurate fleshtones. Black levels are maintained very well and stars are defined well on the inky backdrop of space. The picture has a soft quality, at times appearing smeared, but detail can be nicely rendered. Film grain and artifacts are revealed from the source element, particularly in the film's many optical shots, and the heavy artifacts can be quite distracting. At times, there are instances in which backgrounds awkwardly appear smudged, while the foreground is generally sharp. Much of this soft character can be attributed to the cinematography, particularly the extensive use of split-field diopters, but it is still not as sharp as the best high-definition releases are. (Danny Richelieu/Suzanne Hodges)

Now with a lossless 7.1-channel Dolby® TrueHD encoding, the original Dolby Stereo® soundtrack has been reworked for this Blu-ray Disc™ release, and the result is a soundtrack that has some rather impressive attributes with respect to dimension and low-end bass. One of the standouts of this new audio is the presence of deep bass, comprising clean, distinct rumbles below 25 Hz, occasionally with particular intensity, and along with generous usage of the .1 LFE channel. The low end, of course, is also used in conveying the signature rumble of the engines for the Enterprise, although this does sound somewhat dated and harsh. Another remarkable aspect of this new soundtrack is Jerry Goldsmith's music score, which, while certainly dated in fidelity, has been repurposed for 7.1 delivery. The result is a soundstage presence that is aptly expansive and serves to effectively absorb the listener though the judicious use of the surrounds (which in turn tend to be predominated by the music). The dated fidelity does shine through, however, with, in addition to the music score, the dialogue and many sound effects. Dialogue, especially, sounds harsh and confined, lacking the natural tonality that brings movies to life. Nonetheless, the soundstage delivery is notable, with effective incorporation of atmospheric effects across the screen and gently into the surrounds, subtly imparting the sense of dimension. The surround back channels do not add a lot to the presentation, although they are incorporated well on occasion. When appropriate, the surrounds are selectively heightened in activity. The restoration of the original soundtrack elements is also to be commended, as the sonic character seemed rather resolute in terms of the midrange, and no background hiss was noticed. If the intent of this soundtrack's remastering was to provide for a subtle, yet compelling sense of spatial absorption through moderate dimensional distribution, it should not be disputed that the objective was successfully fulfilled. (Danny Richelieu/Perry Sun)