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“Star Trek” {Blu-ray} - (3) (Disc Edition)-(Wayne)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Paramount Home Video
Genre:
Science Fiction
Release Date:
11/17/09
Special Features:

Commentary track, featurettes, gag reel, “Starfleet Vessel Simulator”, deleted scenes, BD-Live compatible with NASA News updates via RSS Feeds, digital copy of the film ---

Review:

Sinking under the weight of its own mythology “Star Trek” imploded with “Star Trek: Nemesis” which pulled in a measly $60 million. Clearly fans and moviegoers were as fatigued as the writers and directors working on Paramount’s flagship franchise. J. J. Abrams had an idea—go back to the beginning and reinvent the series by side stepping the mythology acted as box office quicksand. ***

A massive Romulan vessel suddenly appears in space coming through a man made wormhole. The vessel attacks and a defending Federation vessel briefly commanded by George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) destroying the ship and killing James T. Kirk’s father altering the timeline of the original “Star Trek”. The result is that James Kirk (Chris Pine) becomes a hell raising delinquent. Encouraged by Captain Christopher Pike (the always great Bruce Greenwood)to apply to Starfleet, Kirk meets Dr. McCoy (the outstanding Karl Urban of “Lord of the Rings”)comes into conflict with Spock (Zachary Quinto of “Heroes”) and finds himself suspended when its discovered he cheated on the Kobayashi Maru no-win battle simulation. Kirk finds himself suspended just as the Romulan vessel reappears commanded by Nero (Eric Bana) the threatening Spock’s home world. ***

The script by writers Alexander Kurtzman and Roberto Orci does something that no one has been able to do with a “Star Trek” film in 20 years—they make “Star Trek” FUN again. While the film is far from perfect (there are plenty of minor plot holes and coincidences that “Trek” fans picked apart)the duo introduce all the major characters of the original series in a striking and exciting film that combines “Trek” with the structure of “Star Wars” (no, not the dreaded boring prequels but the first trilogy). Abrams has made no secret of the fact that he wasn’t much of a “Trek” fan to begin with luckily both Kurtzman and Orci were and they manage to capture the flavor of what made the original series and cast so memorable and recast in for the 21st century. In fact Abrams echoes some shots from all three of the “Star Wars” films and his approach makes “Star Trek” more user friendly without sacrificing the unique characters of the original series. ***

The other flaw is that while Bana’s Nero has a tragic quality to his character he’s not quite as threatening as other “Trek” villains. Still, the writers and Abrams give Nero a dimension that’s rare for villains in “Trek” films; it’s quite clear why he wants revenge even if it is reprehensible. ---

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray takes off at warp speed with a sharp, sleek transfer that lives up to the sharp, detailed presentation that the film had in theaters. Colors pop, detail is remarkably consistent throughout with nary a digital artifact to be found. It should be noted that the image is just a tad soft but that was the case with the original theatrical presentation of the film as well and it allows a consistency between the live action scenes, miniatures and CGI. ***

Audio sounds remarkable as well with a detailed very, very active TrueHD 5.1. Dialogue remains consistent and clear throughout and the marvelous rich score by Michael Giacchino. ---

Special Features:

We get a superb and detailed commentary track by Abrarms, Orci, Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Bryan Burk. Their commentary track covers everything from trivia about the “Trek” universe and various changes from the initial draft to the final shooting script. ***

The bulk of the special features are on the second disc. “To Boldly Go” clocks in under 20 minutes and features Abrams and others discussing the challenges they faced in rebooting the franchise. “Casting” allows the lead actors, supporting players Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy and Eric Bana to discuss the challenge of playing such well established characters and, in Bana’s case, to try and create a memorable “Trek” villain that has depth. ***

“A New Vision” features the filmmakers discussing the challenge of working against 40 years of “Trek” history. “Starships”, “Aliens”, “Planets” all focus on the creation of each for the film. “Props and Costumes” likewise allows us to see the various designs that were considered and how the designers managed to integrate the classic “Trek” original series look into the film. ***

“Ben Burtt and the Sounds of ‘Star Trek’” and “Score” focus on the detailed soundtrack created for the film. Composer Michael Giacchino discusses the challenge of creating a score as powerful and rich as previous ones by Jerry Goldsmith and others while staying true to Abrams’ film. ***

“Gene Roddenberry’s Vision” compares the original series via comments from Michael and Denise Okuda, Nimoy, director Nicholas Meyer (“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country”) and Rick Berman (producer of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the spin-off films) comparing how Abrams has helped to update Roddenberry’s original vision. ***

“Starfleet Vessel Simulator” allows you to examine the Romulan vessel Narada or the Enterprise. ***

Finally we get deleted scenes with optional commentary track all of which are worth watching along with a gag reel, teaser trailer and three theatrical trailers. ***

The third disc in this three disc set includes a digital copy of the film something which I continue to find useless in these sets and that ad to the cost of the sets. ---

Final Words:

“Star Trek” gets the chance of rebirth with J.J. Abrams film which examines the “altered” origins of the original “Star Trek” crew. “Star Trek” hasn’t been this much fun in years. I’d highly recommend “Star Trek”. While original fans had mixed feelings about the reboot, Abrams created a viable living franchise again.

 

 
 
 
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