The Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection is a solid enough of a set and does have respectable 4K video along with the audio which is likely the same from past Blu-ray releases, even so still high quality.
Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Adventure
Paramount | NR – 469 min. – $90.99 | September 7, 2021
Date Published: 09/04/2021 | Author: The Movieman
Note: Portions were copied over from my 2009 review of the complete collection. The updated portions are for the 4K video as the audio appears to be the same.
THE MOVIES — 3.75/5
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)
Review: Short version of my thoughts on this first Star Trek feature film: snooze-fest. The movie actually starts out well enough introducing (or re-introducing for fans of the series) to Spock and Kirk, the Starship Enterprise herself along with developing an uncomfortable feud between Kirk and the Enterprise’s current captain (whom Kirk demoted to XO to take command).
Outside of that, though, this is a movie that could probably be skipped and only even slightly enjoyable for true fans of the series. I remember groaning after several minutes watching the “exciting” revelation of an alien ship with the occasional intercutting of seeing shocked faces of the Enterprise crew. Literately there was no dialogue during this time as if the audience is supposed to be on pins and needles wondering what they are looking at (it’s also an obvious copy/homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey). Perhaps 30 years ago, it was impressive. That’s not so much the case anymore.
The cast works well together with William Shatner slinking into the Kirk character as well as Leonard Nimoy playing Spock. Along with DeForest Kelly as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the trio have great chemistry obviously mined from the television series. 3.0/5
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KAHN (1981)
Review: I can say with little equivocation Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of the best sequels ever made behind only The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight and The Empire Strikes Back. I hadn’t seen the movie in several years so much of it felt new, but I was fully immersed, not an easy task when you watch several movies every week.
What makes Star Trek II head and shoulders above the first movie is it is filled with fantastic action, gripping suspense and a true heart at its core with an ending in which if you do not shed even a single tear, you are not human. I can’t think of a single thing where this sequel was not better than the original. Its 112-minute running time was perfect telling an interesting story with a cruel villain played by the late and great Ricardo Montalban. Add in the life-long friendship between Kirk and Spock (played to perfection by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy), and you have a great and memorable movie.
The movie was directed by Nicholas Meyers, Star Trek II also features a solid supporting cast including DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei and Kirstie Alley. I know many are/will be disappointed that the director’s cut was not the version used in this set, and while I share the feeling, getting this theatrical version on Blu-ray is still great, but I’m 99% sure that one will come to Blu-ray and hopefully as a standalone release. 4.5/5
STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1984)
Review: The third entry in the Star Trek franchise, and one that takes place almost immediately after the events of Star Trek II, is a good movie, but nothing more. It lacked the excitement, the humor and the emotions of the previous entry. Unlike the Wrath of Kahn, an action-adventure more than anything, Search for Spock is pure science-fiction which may be a turn off for some viewers, though sci-fi fanatics may appreciate it more than others.
Directed by Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock has some decent moments but at only 96-minutes (w/o credits), it seemed like more story could’ve been told and when the climactic scene finally unfolded, it was nice, even sweet, but ultimately ineffective. I’m not sure if this was due to Nimoy’s direction or Harve Bennett’s screenplay, but this could’ve been a better film if only more care was put into it.
The cast seemed to go through the motions. Even William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, after a devastating event, didn’t come close to his heart wrenching and heartfelt performance after the sacrifice his best friend made for him and the Enterprise crew. Hell, nothing will ever match his blood-curdling “Khaaaaannn!” scream. As for Leonard Nimoy, he’s actually not in it that much (maybe 10-minutes, max and only a few lines) but his presence was always felt and the only thing that propelled this film and made me care about what the Enterprise crew’s venture to find Spock. 3.5/5
STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986)
Review: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the conclusion to the “Spock Trilogy” in which our intrepid crew goes back in time to the late 20th century to an uncivilized population with bad manners and use course language. Their mission is to get a couple humpback whales (which are extinct in the 23rd century) take them back to their own time to stop an alien invasion whose attack is based upon trying to communicate with the whales.
I’m not a Trekkie by any stretch, though I’m pretty sure the original series did get that asinine with its plotline, the story for this was just a tad… strange even by Star Trek standards. That said, once you can roll with what the Enterprise crew is trying to accomplish, you will find at its core a fun (and funny) movie that is a modest improvement over the ho-hum previous entry. It doesn’t come close to Star Trek II, but it does right the ship.
Again directed (and co-written) by Leonard Nimoy, it would seem his skills are more honed or confident. Sure, it’s not some masterful piece of filmmaking in terms of style, but Nimoy shows great comic timing without being hokey (my favorite is Scotty trying to communicate with a mid-80s computer, which has a double sense of humor during this day and age).
Taken as a trilogy (Star Trek II – IV), it might not hold a candle to the likes of Star Wars (the original trilogy) or anything, but it’s a good compilation of movies that fans and non-fans alike can enjoy. 3.75/5
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4½/5
|This 8-disc set (4 UHDs, 4 BDs) comes housed in two separate HD keep cases (one black, the other blue), each side-sliding into a slip case. The 4Ks come with commentary tracks while the bulk of features are on the Blu-ray discs. There is slip containing 4 codes for all four Trek films.
VIDEO – 4½/5
|All four Star Trek films receive a 2160p high-definition transfer and each are presented in their original aspect ratios, 2.35. Examining all four films, I was pretty impressed for the most part. I thought Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn were fairly immaculate, clean and free of any significant flaws like specs, dirt, scratches, etc (in fact 3 and 4 appeared clean as well). The detail on these two films was excellent, the original film grain and noise still present.
The other two films still looked quite good, perhaps not as finely detailed in comparison. Colors on all four movies though are great, vibrant throughout without seemingly artificially boosted for the 4K transfer. Black levels meanwhile is well balanced yet not outwardly crushed, still able to discern everything happening on the screen.
How I would rate these:
AUDIO – 4½/5
|Given the audio tracks appear to the same or least similar from the 2009 release, and judging from my ears with this set, my ratings and thoughts remain the same.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture — On the audio side of things, Paramount continues their support of Dolby TrueHD 7.1. The TrueHD track on this 30-year-old movie sounds excellent. Dialogue is crisp and clear and Jerry Goldsmith’s resounding score sounds awesome. Gladly it is not an overpowering track; instead it has that perfect mix to spread across all channels giving that theater experience. French Dolby Surround 2.0 and Spanish Mono tracks are also available. 4.75/5
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn — I was less impressed with the audio, compared to The Motion Picture, but the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 is still good, just not fantastic. I found some dialogue to be a little muffled and even James Horner’s score didn’t have that “boom” in comparison with Goldsmith’s work on the original. Sound effects are solid but like the dialogue it didn’t have the big impact I came to expect, but again, it isn’t too bad for a 27 year old movie. 4.0/5
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock — The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track sounded pretty good with an immersive experience between James Horner’s wonderful – if not slightly forgettable – score, and the sound effects as the Enterprise takes on some Klingon blasts. For some reason, I actually found this audio track to be slightly better than the one for Star Trek II, which is surprising since it didn’t receive the same treatment. 4.5/5
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home — The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track may not be a ‘blow-your-mind’ kind of audio experience but the score, by Leonard Roseman (replacing James Horner who replaced Jerry Goldsmith), sounds fantastic from the opening credits while sound effects are good and dialogue is clean. 4.25/5
OVERALL – 4/5
|Overall, the Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection is a solid enough of a set and does have respectable 4K video along with the audio which is likely the same from past Blu-ray releases, even so still high quality. This is a set worth picking up so long as it’s a decent price though I am on the fence if this is worth a double (or triple) dip.|