Star Trek Blu-ray Review
'Star Trek' (2009) warps on to Blu-ray with a splendid looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed at 2.40:1. We're treated to pretty vibrant colours throughout resulting in impressive looking explosions in the battle sequences. Skin tones look excellent ranging from the Hollywood tan of Kirk and McCoy through to Spock's pallor.
Outer space looks black enough and contrast levels help the picture pack a punch. The image is sharp throughout with no ringing caused by over sharpening and you really have to look hard for any noticeable film grain. It occasionally popped up in some darkly lit shots where there was smoke in the air, but hey - it was shot on film and it looks fantastic. I recall being impressed by the amount of detail on display and the red uniforms on the steps of the Starfleet Academy really stood out as did the blue skies.
This is one transfer that contains little or nothing to offend the eyes. Superb!
The sound on 'Star Trek' (2009) comes in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix and it's one that will no doubt be used in demo rooms for some time to come. Speech is crisp and clear, being locked to the centre channel while the surrounds earn their corn with bleeps from consoles. Phaser blasts come from all around you and during the Riverside shipyard scene I could clearly hear a spanner being dropped behind me. It really places you in the thick of the action. My subwoofer was kept busy with deep rumbles during explosions and as photon torpedoes found their mark. The scene where several starships make the leap to warp speed is memorable for the kick in the chest you receive due to the bass. There is real slam from the music track during the action scenes to ensure that nobody falls asleep. Make sure the neighbours are out, then wind up the wick!
'Star Trek' comes complete with a nice collection of extras spread over the three discs, none of which really fall into the category of 'puff' as they generally have something useful to say about the movie
- Audio Commentary
The team comprising J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci provide us with a fascinating comm track but what stands out is Abrams total enthusiasm for the film. Among other things they discuss the differences between earlier cuts of the movie and the final version, explaining the reasons behind key decisions, supplying many production anecdotes and detailing the problems faced during production. The conversation flows easily and does not descend into geekdom so it makes a worthwhile listen without becoming tedious for a non Trek audience.
- BD Exclusive: NASA News via BD-Live
An interesting feature but it takes a bit of navigation and time to reach the RSS news feed ported directly from the NASA website that includes NASA's image of the day. It would be quicker to just go to the Nasa website on a PC. It's basically a free advert for Nasa and space exploration rather than anything directly linked to the movie.
The good thing here is that all of the extras are in HD, although they are accessed via a long list running down the left of the screen with the Enterprise blueprint on the right. Some of the features branch down another level to additional sub features.
- To Boldly Go (16 mins)
This section begins with a behind-the-scenes look at Leonard Nimoy's make-up test before leading into much of the idea and script development involving the movie's creative team. The main section branches to four subsections whose subject matter is clearly described by the titles: The Shatner Conundrum, Red Shirt Guy, The Green Girl, and Trekker Alert!
- Casting (29 mins)
We get a good look at the casting of younger versions of well established characters in this short which devotes a section to each main member of the crew of the Enterprise with interview clips from the actor and colleagues as well as behind-the-scenes footage.
- A New Vision (19 mins)
This short focuses on the effort required to make a big film that exceeds and outdoes previous Trek adventures. The director had the sense to learn from 'Star Wars' movies and asked his writers to emulate the pace of the trilogy to make the new Trek movie more intense and fast. This featurette branches down to an item entitled 'Savage Pressure' that looks at assistant director Tommy Gormley's incredible workload and responsibility.
- Starships (24 mins)
This fascinating featurette focuses on Starship design, inspiration, set construction and functionality in the new Star Trek universe. The short branches out into 7 other sub-sections which supply more detail on the respective areas: 'Warp Explained,' 'Paint Job,' 'Bridge Construction Accelerated,' 'The Captain's Chair,' 'Button Acting 101,' 'Narada Construction Accelerated' and 'Shuttle Shuffle.'
- Aliens (16 mins)
This short is full of behind-the-scenes alien dressing footage, concept art, CGI designs and props at various stages of construction. Spock ears and eyebrows provide an area of interest while alternate versions of Nero's facial markings are displayed. The main featurette branches down into 5 other related items: 'The Alien Paradox,' 'Big-Eyed Girl,' 'Big Bro Quinto,' 'Klingons' and 'Drakoulias Anatomy 101.'
- Planets (16 mins)
Here we see the locations used and filmmaking tricks employed in the creation of Vulcan, Delta Vega, and Earth's Starfleet Academy as well as a futuristic Iowa for the movie. Branches from this short include 'Extra Business' and 'Confidentiality.'
- Props and Costumes (9 mins)
An interesting look at the new props and costumes, Abrams directed his prop master to watch the original TV series and base everything on that with new futuristic designs that would impress a modern day audience. The branched item focuses on the Klingon prison guard costume used in a deleted scene.
- Ben Burtt and the Sounds of Star Trek (11 mins)
Enthusiastic sound designer and legend, Ben Burtt takes us through the attention to detail required to make 'Star Trek' live in audio terms with bleeps and console noises. It's interesting to see him track down the original sound sources rather than recreate them digitally. As Spock would say - “Fascinating”.
- Score (6 mins)
A chance to meet up with composer Michael Giacchino as he and his orchestra play the Star Trek themes and blend new tunes with old. We get an explanation of why the Alexander Courage theme was not used during the movie but on the end titles.
- Gene Roddenberry's Vision (8 mins)
This somewhat touching short has Leonard Nimoy, the new cast and crew reflect on the impact Gene Roddenberry had on them and their perception of the man who created the most enduring science fiction phenomenon.
- Deleted Scenes (13 mins)
Here we have a total of 9 scenes with an optional commentary by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. While there are a few explanations held within the scenes you can generally see that their inclusion would have slowed the pace of the movie, although real 'Trekkers' will find the extra information worth its weight in gold. There are a few gems here:
Spock Birth, Klingons Take Over Narada, Young Kirk, Johnny and Uncle Frank, Amanda and Sarek Argue After Spock Fights, Prison Interrogation and Breakout, Sarek Gets Amanda, Dorm Room and KobaYashi Maru (Original Version), Kirk Apologizes to the Green Girl, Sarek Sees Spock.
- BD Exclusive: Starfleet Vessel Simulator
In this interactive feature, similar to those featured on The Original Series Blu-ray sets, it's possible to select the Enterprise or Romulan Mining Vessel and then highlight specific areas of the ship to learn tech-geek details about how they work. You can even make the ships fire their weaponry. Photon torpedoes astern!
- Gag Reel (6 mins)
The gag reel features a spoof 'Star Trek' TV show opening featuring the cast larking about. There are plenty of ad-libs and bleeped 'cusses' after lines have been fluffed. Quite amusing as it shows that they are all human - and really just actors.
Here we have an audit trail of trailers starting with the teaser, then 'The Wait is Over' theatrical, followed by 'Prepare for the Beginning' theatrical and finally 'Buckle Up' theatrical.
This final disc completes the set with a Digital Copy of the movie, for those who'd rather watch it on a PC or laptop, and a Star Trek D-A-C Free Game Trial for Xbox 360 with web links to the free trials via BD-Live for the PC and Playstation 3 on the Playstation Network.
'Star Trek'(2009) materialises on Region free Blu-ray with a first class 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The movie looks pristine with vibrant colour, punchy contrast and a pin sharp image throughout.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio makes full use of the surround channels and LFE during the space battles as Michael Giacchino's score provides slam to underline the action. Amid all of the sonic warfare, dialogue is kept clear throughout.
An extensive range of extras including an enthusiastic comm. Track and many Featurettes will warm the cockles of many a Trekker's heart.
As for the movie, it's sheer entertainment from start to finish. For Star Trek fans it's a chance to meet up with old friends. For a general audience, it's a thrilling Sci-Fi blockbuster. May its new timeline live long and prosper!
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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- Audio Commentary