Star Trek: Special Edition (2009)

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Released 26-Oct-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Audio Commentary-wth J.J. Abrams, B. Burk, A. Kurtzman, D. Lindlof & R. Orci
Featurette-A New Vision
Featurette-Gag Reel
Deleted Scenes-with Optional Commentary
Featurette-To Boldly Go
Featurette-Casting
Featurette-Aliens
Featurette-Score
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 121:43
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:58)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By J.J. Abrams
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Leonard Nimoy
Eric Bana
Bruce Greenwood
Karl Urban
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Michael Giacchino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
English
Dutch
Norwegian
Finnish
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, For Nokia
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    In the last few years popular movie series that have enjoyed success via sequels have found a new way to reprise that success they first enjoyed when those series began. I'm not talking about prequels (the previous deviation of the sequel formula), and, of course, I'm referring to the James Bond 007 and Batman movie series. The phenomenon is commonly known as 'rebooting'. Restarting a movie franchise by having a fresh look at well-known characters has certainly proved to be a hit for Batman Begins in 2005 and Casino Royale in 2006. In 2009, Star Trek has adopted the formula and through the guiding hand of Lost director, J.J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, we have a new look at how James Kirk (played by Christopher Pine), captain of the U.S.S Enterprise and Spock (played by Zachary Quinto), its first officer, meet and become friends. In between that we have a new villain in Nero (played by Eric Bana), a vengeful Romulan hell-bent on annihilating the Federation out of existence and restoring his home-planet by alternating reality through time-travel. The time-travel idea allowed the writers of the script the leeway to alter entrenched story-lines involving the main characters from the original television series in the 1960s and subsequent movies of the 1970s and 1980s. The success of Star Trek XI ( as it is otherwise known to distinguish it from the other Star Trek movies that preceded it) means that Orci, Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof (previously co-producer of Star Trek XI but co-writer for the next Star Trek film due in 2011) have a freer reign in developing their characters and plot ideas, but in his desire to both please newcomers and fans alike of the Star Trek series, J.J. Abrams has hinted that ideas such as resurrecting Kirk or re-introducing Khan Noonien Singh are not out of the question.

    Star Trek, released theatrically in May 2009 worldwide, achieved great box-office and critical success but it was not without its detractors. Common points of criticism include the addition of humour to the plot through Simon Pegg's characterisation of Scotty and his companion Keenser (played by Deep Roy - yes, the oompa-loompa from Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), the banishment of Kirk onto Delta Vega and his subsequent return to the Enterprise, Kirk's encounter on Delta Vega with Spock from an alternate reality (played by none other than Leonard Nimoy), the lack of character development in the crew and the choice of deleted scenes that were cut from the main plot which lent more back story to the main action are all legitimate issues of concern. However, J.J. Abrams, as can be seen from the visual style of the film parodying modern TV series such as Lost and 24 with many close-ups and shaky, hand-held camera scenes to induce frenetic action, has deliberately chosen to make this reboot of Star Trek an ode to great action/adventure movies, not a reflective moral tale as was creator Gene Roddenberry's intention for each episode of the original television series.

    Despite the quick pacing of the film, there is still enough time to savour Christopher Pine's and Zachary Quinto's interpretations of their characters, Kirk and Spock. Pine's performance is not an imitation of William Shatner's iconic role, but he does bring a youthful brashness to the role. His win-at-all costs mentality is still retained from the original character. Spock, played by both Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy due to time-travel and alternate realities, gets to explore the conflict in his dual Vulcan and human nature. Karl Urban, the New Zealand actor famous for his role as Eomer in The Lord of the Rings and the assassin Kirill in The Bourne Supremacy has a standout performance as Leonard 'Bones' McCoy.

    Despite the frenetic pace of the film and the tight plot, with perhaps another twenty to thirty minutes that could have been added to the two-hour running time, I still immensely enjoyed this film, both at the cinema and in my many repeat viewings for this review. I can't wait for the sequel!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    J.J. Abrams deliberately chose to not shoot this on digital film, instead retaining the natural look of analogue 35mm film. This means that the film does look slightly grainy in parts where there is an inadequate light source, but the addition of flash effects and quick-paced editing means the viewer won't notice the image transfer being 'gritty' in too many places.

    The aspect ratio of Star Trek is 2:40:1. The image transfer is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    Star Trek is not particularly sharp and focused, rather there are many examples of strong exposure from flash effects, dutch camera angles, close-ups and 'shaky' camera effects are employed to simulate disorientation in the plot and the film is fast-paced. Despite this, the cinematography is more than adequately transferred to DVD, with an average bitrate of 6.21 m/b per sec.

    Colour is standard for a big-budgeted film like this one. Not overly bright for outdoor scenes, nor overly dark in indoor scenes, the use of colour in the film overall was meant to portray optimism. Scenes on the Romulan ship, the Narada, are dark and pessimistic, so there are a variety of tones used in the film to augment its themes.

    There are no film artefacts but I did notice slight mosquito noise around the titles in the film such as 'Iowa' or 'Vulcan' when they pop-up in the top left-hand corner of the screen during the movie.

    Subtitles are provided for the main feature and the audio commentary as well, which is a great feature.

    The RSDL change occurs during a scene change at 68:58, bit unfortunately it is noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Alex Courage's original score for the 1960s television series is reprised during the end credits. A 107-piece orchestra was used to record the score. Distorted effects and rare instruments, such as the erhu are also utilised. This is further discussed on the special features second disc on this DVD release.

    There are three audio tracks. The first is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps, the second is a similarly encoded English descriptive audio track for the hard of hearing. This track retains the musical and background sound effects from the film. The third track is an audio commentary in English encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kbps.

    Dialogue is easy to follow and audio is synchronised.

    Michael Giacchino released a 15 song soundtrack album featuring music from the film. Two of these songs incorporate the original Star Trek theme. The Beastie Boys' Sabotage, used during the car scene when Kirk is a boy is not included on this soundtrack album, but the song does make a memorable impact in this scene (in a similar way to AC/DC's Back in Black in the opening scenes of 2008's Iron Man).

    The surround channels are used effectively, panning across the front and back channels during the action scenes.

    The subwoofer is used during conflict, action and explosion with good effect.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary by J.J Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci

This commentary from the producers and executive producers of the film is a rollicking conversation between five guys who have obviously formed fond memories from shooting this film. There are many funny anecdotes to do with working with actors, as well as information on deleted scenes, such as the deleted prison scenes for the Romulans, and the production process, including enduring the 2007-08 writer's strike.

Featurette - A New Vision (18:51)

This extra looks at the production process of the film using interviews with the crew and shots from the film and even the original television series. This extra is enhanced for 16x9 widescreen televisions and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Featurette - Gag Reel (6:14)

This is a sequence of blooper reels from the film. This type of extra is rare these days, but it is a welcome addition to the extras on this DVD as some of these errors are hilarious!

Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (13:05)

These deleted scenes mainly contain scenes that were cut from the film that had to do with back story to the events. This includes the birth of Spock, Klingons taking over the Narada soon after its collision with the U.S.S Kelvin, Kirk's brother Johnny running away from home, scenes with Spock's parents Sarek and Amanda, prison interrogation scenes involving Nero and a more detailed look into how Kirk cheated on the Kobyashi Maru test. These scenes total 13 minutes only, but they make interesting viewing and they provide a fuller exposition behind the events of the main film. These scenes are 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps.

Featurette - To Boldly Go (16:06)

This featurette looks at the Star Trek franchise and how it was re-interpreted for the film so it could appeal to hardcore fans and newcomers alike. Leonard Nimoy features prominently in this extra together with director J.J. Abrams. This extra is 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Featurette - Casting (27:49)

'Casting' is a behind-the-scenes look at how the principal casting came together to play the original characters from the television series. Leonard Nimoy, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Bruce Greenwood are the main actors that feature in this extras. Again, it is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Featurette - Aliens (15:56)

The production design behind the aliens in the film is explored here, including the many designs used for the Romulans and the Industrial Light & Magic effects for the 'Big Red' beast on Delta Vega which chases Kirk across the ice.

Featurette - Score (6:19)

This extra is an interview with composer Michael Giacchino preparing and leading the orchestra during rehearsals and recordings of the score. J.J. Abrams also adds his ideas on the score of the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 2 version of the film is to be released on the 16th of November, 2009, while the Region 1 version is to be released on the 17th of November. Both of these versions of the film are identical to the Region 4 release, except that the Region 1 release also contains a digital copy of the film.

Summary

    Despite the quick pacing, shaky camera and tight plot, Star Trek is a winner that will entertain fans and newcomers alike.

    The extras have an electronic press kit 'feel' that will not garner repeat viewing, unlike the main feature, the audio commentary and the deleted scenes. This DVD presentation comes highly recommended. Personally, I can't wait for the sequel!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 019), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Blu-Ray - James O
Glad you mentioned Karl Urban - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Blu Ray digital copy problem - NickH
Glad you at least mentioned the shaky-cam - Anonymous
Crap movie - Daria Nicolodi's Fringe
Negative reviews, above - Le Messor (bio logy class)