Star Trek: First Contact: Special Edition (1996)

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Released 18-May-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Jonathan Frakes (Director And Actor)
Audio Commentary-Brannon Braga And Ronald Moore (Screenplay Writers)
Informational Subtitles-Text Commentary By Michael Okuda And Denise Okuda
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-The Art Of First Contact, The Story, The Missile Silo
Featurette-The Deflector Dish, From "A" To "E"
Featurette-Scene Deconstruction (3)
Featurette-Jerry Goldsmith: A Tribute
Featurette-The Legacy Of Zefram Cochrane
Featurette-First Contact: The Possibilities
Featurette-The Borg Collective: Unimatrix One
Featurette-The Borg Collective: The Queen
Featurette-The Borg Collective: Design Matrix
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Borg Invasion
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 106:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:14)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jonathan Frakes

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Brent Spiner
Levar Burton
Michael Dorn
Gates McFadden
Marina Sirtis
Alfre Woodard
James Cromwell
Alice Krige
Michael Horton
Neal McDonough
Marnie McPhail
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith
Joel Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Arabic
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
English Text Commentary
Smoking Yes, in the background in one scene.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In 1996, the relaunch of the Star Trek franchise was at its peak. The Next Generation had been a great success, Deep Space Nine was fast defining itself as an exceptional series, and Voyager had just played its first season to the acclaim of fans. The revival was well and truly underway, and the series’ popularity was at its peak.

    Into the midst of this, just two years after the success of Star Trek: Generations, came the second full feature film of the Next Generation crew, this time with no need to bridge the gap between the Original Series. Star Trek: First Contact opened on 22 November 1996 to rapturous response from a legion of Trek-frenzied fans and stayed in cinemas for months. It was, all around, a commercial and critical success, an unashamed fan pleaser, and one heck of a science fiction adventure.

    If you’re a fan of this film, you hardly need a rundown of the events. But for somebody who is coming to this anew (or who wants to read a real Trekker’s take on this) I’ll provide a brief synopsis. Basically, after the events of Star Trek: Generations, the crew have settled aboard their brand new ship, the sleek and stylish USS Enterprise NCC-1701E. Then, one night, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) dreams of the return of the Borg, and sure enough an invasion is underway. But when the crew disobey orders and engage in the fight, they find that the Borg have somehow travelled into the past and assimilated Earth. Can they follow them back and undo the damage they have done?

    Although some critics really panned this show for its in-jokes and well worn time travel theme, this show really was one for the fans, and as such, picking on a show that is trying to be popular for its audience is like picking on Eminem for being crude. It’s hardly a fault when it is your intent. I actually find this to be a highly emotionally satisfying film with some great moments of dramatic acting from the leads, particularly Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn as Worf.

    For his part, co-star Jonathan Frakes does a very good job in the director’s seat, such that he was given the reigns again when it came time for the ninth Star Trek big screen adventure. His familiarity with the cast and crew really enables him to bring out their best.

    All in all, Star Trek: First Contact is a fun, exciting, science-fiction action adventure that will not only please fans, but will also make good entertainment for non-Trekkers alike.

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Transfer Quality


    Video is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. In brief, this is a drastic improvement on the original release of both the R1 and R4 versions.

    Although not quite HD, with upscaling software you will get a remarkably smooth picture. Black levels are great, as are shadow detail and colour saturation. Everything here is right on the money.

    But more importantly, the image is coming in at a much higher bitrate than the original releases, which results in a more detailed and smoother picture and far fewer film-to-video transfer artefacts. Gone are the obvious moire and aliasing of the earlier releases, and instead we are given a seamless image, even in terms of background detail on the bridge.

    Subtitles are available in Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Greek, English, Hebrew, Croatian, Icelandic, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian, Serbian, Finnish, Swedish, and English for the Hearing Impaired. They are also available in English for the Audio Commentary and Text Commentary. They appear as white with a grey border, are clear and easy to read, and although there are some subtle differences, they convey the general meaning of what is being said.

    The dual layer pause comes at 57:14, which is during a scene change. I only caught it because I originally watched this on a CRT with my old Pioneer DVD player. I totally missed it on rewatch with the Momitsu.

    Until Paramount Home Entertainment decide to release an HD version, this is the one to get in terms of picture quality.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    In addition to the original 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track (encoded at 448Kb/s) we are also provided with a 5.1 DTS track (encoded at 768Kb/s). The difference is, in short, phenomenal.

    While the Dolby Digital track is great in every respect, the DTS track still blows it out of the water.

    Dialogue is right on the money, with no detectable sync faults.

    Surround sound information is awesome, with great use of the rears in addition to the front surrounds.

    The amazing and often moving score by Star Trek long-term composer Jerry Goldsmith is also given new depth and life here, and the new fidelity really manages to get that lump in your throat in a couple of places.

    But the real standout here is the bass, which is likely to induce heart palpitations and hearing loss if you're not careful. Some of those phaser fight scenes are just phenomenal, not to mention the scene where the fleet takes on the Borg cube. All you fans out there know exactly what I'm talking about, right?

    If you want to do some damage to your home entertainment system, this is a great demo disc.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     This Special Edition comes with a whole raft of extras to keep you amused after the crew once more avert disaster:


    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menus have a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. The main menu on Disc 1 contains a GCI recreation of the attack on the Borg vessel, and the menu on Disc 2 has the Borg sphere’s attack on Earth. The other menus are generally static and silent.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – Jonathan Frakes (actor/director)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this has to be one of the funniest commentaries I’ve listened to in a while. Frakes is definitely a character. Well worth listening to.

Audio Commentary – Brannon Braga (writer) and Ronald D. Moore (writer)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this commentary seems to have been recorded just after the 700th episode of Star Trek was made (an episode of Enterprise) and they must have just gotten news that Enterprise was going to wrap up or was under the threat of wrapping up. Still, a very interesting commentary, and also a surprisingly amusing one.

Text Commentary – Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda

    As usual, these two manage to convey a wide amount of trivia, anecdotes, and real scientific knowledge in their commentary track. Just be prepared to read fast.

Disc 2

All special features on Disc 2 are presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, with interviews in 1.85:1 letterbox, 2.0 Dolby Surround audio unless otherwise noted.

Easter Egg (1:05)

    This is on the main menu and can be found by highlighting one of the Borg button in the top right corner of the screen.


    These are a series of featurettes revolving around the production of the movie:

Scene Deconstruction

    There are three scene deconstructions here:

The Star Trek Universe

    There are four featurettes here relating to behind the scenes aspects of the movie:

The Borg Collective

    There are four featurettes here relating to the Borg:


    This is divided into two categories:


    There are three trailers here:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is an identical version to this one released in R1.

    From what I have read on Widescreen Review, there has been no drastic improvement in the picture quality from the original R1 release. Having done comparisons of the original R1 release and this release, I can definitely say that the R4 release has a much better picture quality.

    The addition of a DTS track, which is of reference quality according to Widescreen Review, means that this is the version to have.


    Star Trek: First Contact is a loud, raucous, fan pleasing instalment in the series during the heyday of the new generation of the franchise. Popcorn entertainment at its finest.

    Video is outstanding, and will only be surpassed with a High Definition transfer.

    The 5.1 DTS track is of reference quality and really adds to the enjoyment of this show.

    There are a lot of extras, and most of them are worth watching or listening to. I highly recommend Frakes’ commentary for a good laugh.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Monday, August 22, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplayHewlett Packard ep7120 DLP Projector with 80" Widescreen HDTV Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
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Upscaling software - REPLY POSTED
Upscaling software - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?) REPLY POSTED
Easter Egg? -