Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Special Edition (1991)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director and Screenwriter
Subtitle Commentary-Michael Okuda & Denise Okuda
Featurette-The Perils Of Peacemaking
Featurette-Stories From StarTrek VI: It Started With A Story, Prejudice
Featurette-Stories From Star TrekVI: Director Nicholas Meyer
Featurette-Stories From Star TrekVI: Shakespeare And General Chang
Featurette-StoriesFromStarTrek VI: Bringing It To Life,Farewell&Goodbye
Featurette-The Star Trek Universe: Conversations With Nicholas Meyer
Featurette-The Star Trek Universe: Klingons - Conjuring The Legend
Featurette-The Star Trek Universe: Federation Operatives
Featurette-The Star Trek Universe: Penny's Toy Box, Together Again
Featurette-Deforest Kelley : A Tribute
Featurette-1991 Convention Presentation By Nicholas Meyer
|Year Of Production||1991|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Nicholas Meyer|
Paramount Home Entertainment
Grace Lee Whitney
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.00:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
English Text Commentary
Spanish Text Commentary
French Text Commentary
Italian Text Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is the last of the Star Trek feature films based solely around an adventure of the original Enterprise crew. Although Kirk (William Shatner), Scotty (James Doohan) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) would return for Star Trek: Generations, this was the last time that the whole crew were on screen together – particularly the infamous trio of Kirk, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley).
Written around the time of the break up of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the plot of Star Trek VI could not help but mirror the international political climate. As such, this plot too involves the dissolution of a cold war, although in this instance we are concerned with the long-standing war between the Federation and the Klingons.
After the Chernobyl-style meltdown of the Klingon energy production moon Praxis, the Klingon Empire is unable to support its population and seeks peace negotiations with the Federation. Captain Spock is to meet the Klingon envoy in neutral territory and escort Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) and his entourage, including military advisor General Chang (Christopher Plummer), back to Earth. However, while en route, the ambassador is assassinated, apparently by Starfleet personnel. With Kirk and McCoy taken back to the Klingon home world for trial, Spock and the rest of the crew must discover the truth of the events and save their friends in order to advert an interstellar war.
The Undiscovered Country is a great Star Trek movie. Although it lacks the old-school cinematic majesty of the first four movies, it has its operatic tones and socio-political themes in all the right places, and therefore makes a worthy edition to the canon of Star Trek big screen ventures. Sure, there’s the Klingon blood issue, and the Rene Auberjonois cameo that doesn’t sit exactly well with Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. But it has an intriguing plot that keeps you guessing, action and adventure, and a confrontation in space that is reminiscent of the finale from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. The Star Trek propensity for incorporating themes from the classics of literature is also well handled here with much quotation from Shakespeare that just adds to the texture of the film (something that was sadly lacking a little in later movies, although we had some Gilbert & Sullivan in Star Trek: Insurrection – certainly no match for Melville and Dickens in Wrath Of Khan).
Despite its occasional faults, The Undiscovered Country is a very entertaining instalment and has a lot to say about who we are as people and our capacity to change and forgive. Now, the big question is just how special is this new Special Edition...?
Presented in the unusual aspect ratio of 2.00:1, this is apparently a director’s approved ratio that largely mirrors the ratio of the flat 70mm blow-up that was projected in certain cinemas. Although originally shot in a ratio of 2.39:1, this DVD transfer ratio is the ratio in which Nicholas Meyer intended the audience to see the film. Furthermore, the image is 16x9 enhanced, elevating this Special Edition above its R4 (and R1) predecessors off the bat.
Overall, the picture is very good. While still suffering from some minor film grain, there is an improvement here on the original release. More importantly, however, colour has been given first rate treatment in this transfer and it is intensely saturated, well balanced and adds a whole new level to the film.
There are no MPEG artefacts, and film-to-video transfer artefacts were extremely limited.
There is some dirt on the print that can be a little annoying, which is hardly surprising given the age of this film. Mostly it is just minor, but you do notice it from time to time.
Subtitles are available in English, Greek, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Croatian, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Slovenian, and Serbian. They are white with a grey border, clear and easy to read, and follow the dialogue fairly closely.
The dual-layer pause is at 53:58. It is well placed during a scene change and is barely noticeable.
Audio is available in English, German and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. As with the updated release of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, this new release is also encoded at the same bitrate as the previous release (448Kb/s), but when compared back to back with its predecessor there is a noticeable improvement in the more recent edition. Rumour has it that this new transfer is an unflagged Dolby Digital 5.1 EX mix which would account for the difference in quality.
As before, dialogue is no problem, and neither is sync, and I felt that the dialogue track was a little crisper this time around than with the previous release.
The use of the surrounds in this release is a significant improvement with an aggressive mix from the rear speakers creating a fully enveloping sound field. Even when just on the bridge of the Enterprise you feel like you are actually there, given all the ambient noises and the people wandering through and around
The amazing score by Cliff Eidelman, one of my favourites out of all the Star Trek movies, is given an immaculate remixing here with a full range and a depth that was just not present in the earlier release. Truly stunning.
The subwoofer use was intense in certain scenes and certainly rattled your ribcage when called upon. It is heavily employed in the Klingon court sequence and also the final climactic battle.
As usual, the foreign language tracks were fine, but the overdubbing of the dialogue reduces the ambience and hence the depth of the audio.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menus have a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track, with the track on Disc 1 containing the sounds from the Klingon court and the track on Disc 2 containing the sound of the snow storm outside the entrance to the Klingon prison Rura Penthe. The other menus usually have some form of ambient noise depending on their setting (ship noises, gulag noises, etc.).
Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, these two are fairly entertaining and have lots of information to impart about the making of the movie and other information, particularly about the original series. Meyer does most of the talking, but when he goes quiet Flinn prompts him along.
Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda’s text commentary is, as per usual, full of little tidbits of information, pointing out inconsistencies and spreading rumours about behind-the-scenes mischief.
Presented in 2.00:1, non-16x9 enhanced (letterbox), this is an interesting featurette on the struggles of diplomacy and peacemaking in the real world and how this is mirrored in the Star Trek universe. Features interviews with Nicholas Meyer and Leonard Nimoy.
There are six featurettes here:
There are five featurettes here:
There are two featurettes here:
As with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, this is divided into two categories:
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This new release is far better than any previous release, given that the previous R1 and R4 releases were not 16x9 enhanced. The new R1 release would appear to be identical in terms of special features and movie content, making the differences only the NTSC/PAL format and the language options. Choose with your wallet or your language barrier.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is a rip-snorter of a Star Trek movie. Sure there are inconsistencies with the overall series, but as far as writing goes this is done very well and makes for an entertaining evening in.
The video is infinitely better than the earlier release, with a 16x9 enhanced image and a director’s approved aspect ratio.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is better than that done for the original release with some great enveloping sound fields.
The extras are excellent and add a lot to the understanding of the movie.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|