Star Trek IV: Voyage Home, The (1986)

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Released 10-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Theatrical Trailer-2.35:1 16x9 DD 2.0 surround
Featurette-Director's Series Featurette With Leonard Nimoy (15:14)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 117:18 (Case: 119)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (78:03) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Leonard Nimoy

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring William Shatner
Leonard Nimoy
DeForest Kelley
James Doohan
George Takei
Walter Koenig
Nichelle Nichols
Catherine Hicks
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music Leonard Rosenman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian 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 Greek
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, but not really annoying, more so amusing
Action In or After Credits Yes, action underneath a fair proportion of the credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a real mixture plot-wise. On the one hand, it has some of the funniest banter and sight gags of any of the Star Trek movies to date, and is certainly the most light-hearted movie to date. On the other hand, its environmental message, delivered at a time when eco-friendliness was just becoming fashionable, really is clumsily bashed over the head of the viewer. I'll forgive them, mainly because of the great number of genuinely comic moments, such as the punk on the bus scene and the "do you like Italian" scene and Spock's wonderful (?) use of profanity and Scotty's use of the all still cracks me up.

    Earth has been approached by a mysterious deep space probe, emitting a signal of enormous power. Unfortunately, this signal, whilst seemingly non-hostile, disables all electronic systems that it comes into close proximity with. Various starships, Earth's space dock, and eventually Earth itself is under threat of destruction, unless a way can be found to answer the probe.

    The Enterprise crew, returning to Earth from Vulcan in a Klingon Bird of Prey, manage to determine the intended audience of the message, and determine that they need to travel back to 1986 in order to acquire the means to respond to the probe, saving humanity. Attempting to fit inconspicuously in with the 20th Century whilst trying to acquire their quarry is what leads to much of the charm of this movie, but to say any more would be to significantly spoil many of the surprises and laughs in store for you if you haven't yet seen the movie, so I'll leave it there.

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Transfer Quality


    The general trend with Star Trek releases has been for the quality of the transfers to decrease as the age of the movies increases, with a significant step down between the Next Generation movies and the Original movies as a result of a lack of 16x9 enhancement. I am pleased to report that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home bucks this trend, once you get past the first 5 minutes.

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Yep, you read right - unlike Star Trek V and Star Trek VI, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced. The first 5 minutes of the transfer, a recap of Star Trek III, is presented quite oddly. Nominally 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced, the image actually looks quite horizontally stretched, as if they took a 2.00:1 transfer and simply stretched it out to 2.35:1 to match the rest of the transfer. It is quite disconcerting to see the first Paramount logo appear as an oval arch of stars instead of a circle.

    Sharpness is quite variable, and I suspect is related to the way in which the movie was originally shot. Brightly-lit exterior scenes were crisp and sharp. Brightly-lit interior scenes, such as many set on various space stations, spaceships and Earth, were crisp and sharp. Dimly-lit scenes, wherever they were located, were not sharp and often quite diffuse. A good example of this is any shot on board the Klingon Bird of Prey, which had quite a significantly diffuse quality about it. Nonetheless, the transfer remained eminently watchable at all times, other than the fairly ropey first 5 minutes.

    Shadow detail is variable. Once again, I would put this down to limitations of the source material - the crisp and sharp shots showed plenty of subtle details. The more blurry shots did not. Regardless, I would recommend watching this transfer with strictly controlled ambient lighting - there are a lot of darker scenes in this movie.

    There was no level noise nor any significant grain detected at any point.

    Colours are a tad variable depending on the type of shot. Once again, the shots that were crisp and sharp had excellent colour rendition whereas the more blurry shots did not fare as well. There was some occasional slight oversaturation, with skin tones tending towards the over-red.

    There were no MPEG artefacts detected, but there was a modicum of aliasing in some very sharp shots, such as the view of San Francisco between 38:00 and 38:04 and the Venetian blinds between 61:00 and 61:05. The aforementioned Venetian blinds also exhibited some moire artefacting. Film artefacts were pleasingly rare except for the first 5 minutes, where they were copious.

    This disc is RSDL-formatted, with the layer change placed relatively non-disruptively on a scene cut at 78:03.

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


    For a movie originally released in stereo, the surround presence of this soundtrack is excellent.

    There are four audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1, and French, Italian and Spanish soundtracks in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded. I listened only to the default English soundtrack.

    Dialogue is generally clear, easy to understand and well-integrated spatially with the rest of the soundtrack. The one exception to this is the first five minutes of voice-over, which sounds quite disconnected with the rest of the soundtrack. Some subtle hints at audio sync problems were noted on occasion, but nothing that I could definitely pin down.

    The music was scored by Leonard Rosenman. Despite my preference for Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek scoring, I must admit that this is a fantastic musical score. The opening theme in particular is one of my favourite Star Trek opening themes. The music ranges from typical Trek to almost comical in nature, all effortlessly married to the on-screen action.

    The surround presence is generally subtle but pleasing. For the great majority of the time, this soundtrack demonstrates its stereo heritage, with a wide front soundstage and only limited, but effective, surround use for ambience. This limited ambient effect, however, is enough to keep you immersed nicely in the movie. More aggressive use of the surrounds occurs at moments of high action, with the most aggressive use during the surreal time travel sequence. Fortunately, because of the constant subtle surround use in between times, these aggressive uses do not seem out of place at all.

    The subwoofer generally integrated nicely into the soundtrack, with none of the "over-the-top" characteristics of some other movie soundtracks. The probe was accompanied by very aggressive subwoofer use which was never out-of-place.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Whilst there is not a great many extras on this disc, what we do have is very good, and will be highly appreciated by extras-starved Star Trek fans.


Theatrical Trailer

    Presented at 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound, this trailer does tend to give too much of the plot away.

Featurette-Director's Series with Leonard Nimoy

    Whilst the first impression you will get from the start of the featurette is that it is nothing more than a fluff piece, bear with it - the results will be worth it. This is a meaty, 15:14 featurette predominantly featuring Leonard Nimoy discussing this movie and his directorial aspirations. There is lots of background information given on the movie, and it is very much well worth the effort of watching. Let's have more of these, please, Paramount.

    It also features one of the most compelling arguments against Panning & Scanning that I have ever seen - a split screen comparison between the Pan & Scan and Widescreen versions of Star Trek IV with Leonard Nimoy commenting on the differences. If this can't convert anyone to widescreen, nothing can.

R4 vs R1

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

    Other than secondary language and subtitle mix variations, the Region 4 and Region 1 versions of these DVDs are identically featured.


    Whilst pushing the environmental message a tad too hard, the humour in Star Trek IV allows this to be forgiven. A decent video transfer and nice audio transfer are pleasant surprises, as is the fascinating featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Wednesday, September 05, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3300, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder and Denon AVD-1000 dts decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationEA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifier for Left & Right Front; Marantz MA6100 125W per channel monoblock amplifiers for Left & Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
No Italian Audio Track - Matteo