Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Ever since the film premiered in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture has never gotten past the reputation of being a joyless film. For the most part, those people are right. As a whole, The Motion Picture is neither enjoyable nor remotely successful as a big-screen continuation of the television series. It also gives in to a lot of the pretentious science fiction movies of the era (see: 2001: A Space Odyssey). However, there’s some good to be found in this. As a result, it makes The Motion Picture is one of the weaker Star Trek films and not one of the worst.

 Much of the good in The Motion Picture lies with the visuals. It’s such a gorgeous movie. Unfortunately, that good also leads to the biggest issues people had with the movie: The long takes of these special effects. So much time, energy, and money were spent, which ultimately leads to some annoyingly long takes and lengthy sequences in where the movie comes to a complete halt to stop and look at the newly re-designed U.S.S. Enterprise.

At the same time, the special effects only spruce up the disjointed storyline. The power struggle between Roddenberry and the filmmakers was well-known. This power struggle ultimately led to a disjoint between what Roddenberry wanted and what the filmmakers wanted. As a result, the movie suffers from an aimless tone.

Although Star Trek: The Motion Picture fails to unite the space adventure of Star Wars with the philosophical thoughtfulness of 2001, it’s not a complete and total failure as some might believe. It’s a beautiful movie that can be the basis of someone’s desktop wallpaper. Still, at the time, no one knew what the future held for the franchise. Little did they know that this would lead to one of the best films in the entire franchise. 

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Watching The Wrath of Khan again (and again), my thoughts remain the same as when I reviewed the film in 2016. For my original thoughts on the film, click here.

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

After the “death” of Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan, Leonard Nimoy returns to The Search for Spock but a completely new role: Director. Unfortunately, he’s unable to bring new life to the film, and much of the problems from the first film return here. On the whole, The Search for Spock dwells on several uneventful things throughout. None of the tension in Search materializes through the many storylines in the movie. Even the Enterprise’s self-destruct countdown sequence generates zero drama. Similar to The Motion Picture, the whole film is just dry. At least with Motion Picture, we were treated with some amazing visuals. We don’t get that with Search for Spock.

The Search for Spock also feels more like an epilogue of The Wrath of Khan than its own film. The crew of the Enterprise has some unfinished business, so it’s time for them to finish it and bring back Spock. While Trek wouldn’t be the same without Spock, bringing back Spock from the dead feels like cheating. With Spock’s death, Kirk finally learned the lesson of the Kobayashi Maru’s “no-win” situation. Bringing him back to life essentially negates that lesson. 

Nevertheless, The Search for Spock‘s best asset is the Enterprise crew. Due to the nature of the storyline, we get to spend more intimate time with them than we did in the past two movies. 

Ultimately, The Search for Spock squashed any renewed interest the franchise had after Wrath of Khan. It feels more like a “filler” film before we get to the good stuff in The Voyage Home. The film doesn’t amount to much more than a reason to bring back a character who had a glorious death. Not to mention, it also solidifies the fact that the odd-numbered Trek films are not as good as their even-numbered counterparts.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

For most of my life, I had zero desire to watch The Voyage Home because I found out that the movie is about the Enterprise crew going back in time to bring whales to the future. It’s such a ridiculous concept that I thought it wouldn’t be good. Okay, so I was wrong. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is excellent. After the bleak tone of the last two films, the filmmakers wanted to create a movie lighter in tone. 

Thus, the fish-out-of-water storyline is what makes The Voyage Home so enjoyable. The crew of the Enterprise interacting with the people of the 80s is just funny. For instance, Anton Chekov, a Russian, is going around asking random people where the “nuclear wessels” are. Realize that this is in the 80s where the Cold War conflict was still going on.

At the same time, The Voyage Home feels more like the original series than the past three films. The Voyage Home is a morality play, which happens a lot in the TV show. It’s one of the most touching elements of Gene Roddenberry’s forward-looking television series. 

The Voyage Home is essentially a movie about an alien probe that will destroy us because we made humpback whales go extinct. Of course, in a long line of extremely silly scientific nonsense, whales communicating with an alien probe are high up there. Nevertheless, the film’s environmental themes are woven into the script so cleanly alongside the comedic tones of the film.

Overall, The Voyage Home is a hilarious film with a thoughtful message about saving the environment. It’s a small and simple movie that feels the closest to Roddenberry’s original vision of the Star Trek series. Not to mention, the comedy in this entry is so broad that it doesn’t even feel like a Star Trek movie. However, the smaller scale allows practically every cast member a chance to shine.

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - William Shatner

Video

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 transfer and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The film has a fantastic use of light and shadows, and the Ultra HD release of Star Trek displays it wonderfully. The blacks are a deep and dark black that is obviously perfect for an outer space movie like this, and the whites are spectacularly bright. The colors are also vibrant, especially when the Enterprise goes into the wormhole. Yet, it’s the details that are the most surprising. They’re super clear, highlighting the beautiful use of practical and visual effects. Once the plasma energy version of V’Ger boards the Enterprise, you can see the dated cinematography and special effects come out in full force. Overall, this is an awesome-looking video transfer.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 transfer and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The picture is a bit flatter than in Star Trek I, but the whites are vibrant, especially during the Genesis cave scene. Similarly, the blacks are a deep and inky black, which is, once again, perfect for a sci-fi space film such as this. Likewise, the colors are wide and have a natural look to them. The maroon red on the Starfleet uniforms look natural, but the various colors on the consoles beam off the screen. Much like The Motion Picture, the picture is incredibly clear. The picture showcases a ton of fine details, from the costumes to the production design. Everything is represented well.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Similar to the other releases, the whites are a vibrant white, and the blacks are an inky black. On the other hand, The Search for Spock is a much more colorful film. The movie explores several planets with a wide array of different environments, such as the rapidly deteriorating habitats on Genesis to the fiery reds of Vulcan. The HDR represents the colors quite beautifully. Much like the previous films, The Search for Spock has a lot of fine details that are represented well here. Overall, it’s three for three in this box set.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 transfer and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The whites and blacks have been stellar through all three films, and it continues on with Voyage Home. Once again, the colors are more subdued than in The Search for Spock. However, the colors do fit in line with the color grading of the 80s. While Voyage Home doesn’t have the fine sci-fi elements of the past movies, the picture still showcases all the fine details of the 20th-century well. At the same time, there’s a distinct fine grain that creates a filmic look throughout. Overall, it’s not the best-looking picture, but that’s just how the source material is.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - Christopher Lloyd

Audio

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Although it’s not an Atmos mix, the sound effects move through the soundstage seamlessly and beautifully. It has an immersive and distinct use of atmospheric effects. Jerry Goldsmith’s score resonates with such clarity and even has a distinct instrument separation in the score. The dialogue is clear, but on the Vulcan planet, it’s a bit low. For a movie that’s 40+ years old, the audio mix has superior fidelity. While it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t get an option for an Atmos mix, it’s hard to complain about the mix since it’s an excellent one.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Since I’ve upgraded my sound system since the last time I reviewed the audio in 2016, I’m able to hear more out of this 7.1 mix. First of all, the sound effects effortlessly move across the soundstage. Not to mention, they’re accurately placed on the soundstage. The surround usage is limited, even during a lot of the action scenes. Thus, there isn’t a lot of noticeable atmospheric surround effects that immerse you in a scene. Much of the surround usage comes from James Horner’s score. The score resonates with such clarity, but it’s lacking in heft or impact. Of course, the dialogue is clear as well and takes priority over them all.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. I may sound like a broken record, but the sound movement in this mix is great. The sound effects move seamlessly across the soundstage, like a wave. Not to mention, they move accurately through the soundstage, such as ships flying towards and away from the screen. Thankfully, there is a better use of atmospherics in this film. The atmospheric sounds of the starships can be distinctly heard throughout. James Horner’s score completely fills up the soundstage with a full, rich orchestral sound. The dialogue is well-prioritized and can clearly be heard in the center channel. Overall, this is a nice-sounding mix.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Yes, the fourth and final film is once again the same 7.1 mix from prior releases. Nevertheless, the mix still sounds good. The sound effects seamlessly move from the front and back of the soundstage with the flight of the Klingon starship. There are also many instances where the mix completely fills up the soundstage, such as the climax where Kirk is underwater saving the humpback whales. At the same time, there is a lot of atmospheric effects that occur in the mix. Of course, a lot of it involves being underwater. Leonard Rosenman’s score completely fills up the soundstage. Since the Voyage Home is essentially a sci-fi adventure comedy, dialogue takes precedence over everything else.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, and William Shatner

Special Features

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc only has the audio commentaries on it. However, you can find the rest of the following special features on the 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • Commentary by Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman
  • Library Computer
  • Production
    • The Longest Trek: Writing the Motion Picture
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Special Star Trek Reunion
    • Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 001: Mystery Behind V’Ger
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Sulu and Ilia 1
    • Sulu and Ilia 2
    • Kirk’s Quarters
    • Officer’s Lounge
    • Attack on the Enterprise
    • Intruder Transmission
    • A Huge Vessel
    • Kirk Follows Spock
    • Ilia’s Quarters 1
    • Ilia’s Quarters 2
    • Its Creator is a Machine
  • Storyboards
    • Vulcan
    • Enterprise Departure
    • V’Ger Revealed
  • Trailers
  • TV Spots

The audio commentary features five Trek experts, so it feels like you’re watching the film with other fans. So while you’re learning a lot from them, there are moments of die-hard fandoms coming in with the phrase “greatest of all-time” is said several times. The Library Computer is an interactive experience where information about what you’re watching individually pops up on screen to your right. However, these menu items that show up appear and disappear quickly, so be quick on what you want to select because you won’t be able to pick them once they’re gone unless you go to the Index menu.

From the 2009 release of Star Trek IThe Longest Trek is a short featurette that highlights the evolution of the movie from its TV roots in Phase II to becoming a film. It also covers the creative power struggle between creator Gene Roddenberry and the filmmakers. Special Star Trek Reunion isn’t the kind of reunion you’re thinking of. Instead, the reunion involves five fans of the series who reunited to talk about the day where Star Trek fans got to be extras in the film. Mystery Behind V’Ger is a cliff note rundown of Star Trek I‘s villain. The wide array of deleted scenes are short and not very interesting. At the same time, the storyboards are basically an interactive image gallery.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc only has the audio commentaries on it. However, you can find the rest of the following special features on the 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • Commentary by Director Nicholas Meyer
  • Commentary by Director Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto (Theatrical Version)
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (Director’s Cut)
  • Library Computer (Theatrical Version)
  • The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan
  • Production
    • Captain’s Log
    • Designing Khan
    • Original Interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and Ricardo Montalban
    • Where No Man has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    • James Horner: Composing Genesis
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics
    • A Novel Approach
    • Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 002: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI
  • Farewell
    • A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban
  • Storyboards
    • Main Title Concept
    • Kobayashi Maru
    • Ceti Alpha V
    • Regula I
    • Chekov and Terrell Find Khan
    • Admiral’s Inspection
    • Khan’s Revenge
    • Kirk Strikes Back
    • Finding the Genesis Cave
    • The Mutara Nebula
    • Sneak Attack
    • Genesis
    • Honored Dead
  • Theatrical Trailer

Similar to The Motion Picture, the special features on the Blu-ray are similar to the releases of the past. You can find my thoughts on the bonus features here.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc only has the audio commentaries on it. However, you can find the rest of the following special features on the 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • Commentary by Director Leonard Nimoy, Writer/Producer Harve Bennett, Director of Photography Charles Correll and Robin Curtis
  • Commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor
  • Library Computer
  • Production
    • Captain’s Log
    • Terraforming and the Prime Directive
    • Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek
    • Spock: The Early Years
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Space Docks and Birds of Prey
    • Speaking Klingon
    • Klingon and Vulcan Costumes
    • Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
    • Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 003: Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer
  • Photo Gallery
  • Storyboards
  • Theatrical Trailer

For the audio commentary, director Leonard Nimoy and producer Harve Bennett do most of the talking here. Both of them focus on the movie’s story and the film’s emphasis on the characters. Not to mention, Nimoy takes some time to address a lot of rumors surrounding Star Trek and The Wrath of Khan. A lot of the information on this track is repeats a lot of the information in the other supplements. This version of Captain’s Log is still a fine making-of featurette that covers the film’s story development, Nimoy’s path to directing, and a nearly disastrous fire on the Paramount lot.

When it comes to the audio commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor, they both have a friendly talk about the franchise’s continuity and this film’s influence on their later work. Amusingly, neither Moore nor Taylor has any direct connection to this movie. They’re only doing a commentary because Moore is a co-producer on Next Generation and Taylor is a Deep Space Nine staff writer, plus both are fans of Star Trek.

Terraforming is a dry scientific conversation about the plausibility and ethics of terraforming a planet to suit human needs. Space Docks features several ILM artists who reminisce about designing, building, and compositing the film’s special effects. Speaking Klingon is easily the most compelling featurette in this box set. It features Marc Okrand, the linguist who developed the Klingon and Vulcan languages, and he explains the grammatical rules of both languages. As you can expect from the name, Klingon and Vulcan Costumes looks at the wardrobe, hair, and makeup designs of both races. 

Science Fiction Museum has an interview with producer Harve Bennett while also giving us a tour of the Star Trek museum exhibit. Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer is a cliff note that breaks down the procedure of how Spock’s consciousness transferred from Bones to Spock again. 

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc only has the audio commentaries on it. However, you can find the rest of the following special features on the 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • Audio Commentary featuring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy
  • Audio Commentary featuring Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
  • Library Computer
  • Production
    • Future’s Past: A Look Back
    • On Location
    • Dailies Deconstruction
    • Below-the-Line: Sound Design
    • Pavel Chekov’s Screen Moments
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Time Travel: The Art of the Possible
    • The Language of Whales
    • A Vulcan Primer
    • Kirk’s Women
    • Star Trek: Three Picture Saga
    • Star Trek for a Cause
    • Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 004: The Whale Probe
  • Visual Effects
    • From Outer Space to the Ocean
    • The Bird of Prey
  • Original Interviews
    • William Shatner
    • Leonard Nimoy
    • DeForest Kelley
  • Tributes
    • Roddenberry Scrapbook
    • Featured Artist: Mark Lenard
  • Production Gallery
  • Storyboards
  • Theatrical Trailer

Right from the get-go, you can hear the fun and banter between William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. You can clearly tell that despite all of their sarcastic remarks, they’re true friends. Thus, it’s quite an entertaining listen as they reminisce about the production of the film. On the other hand, the commentary with Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci is not as fun. It features many moments where they would talk about scenes that they like. Realize that this commentary came out around the time that the first Kelvin timeline Star Trek movie came out. So they could’ve easily talked about how Trek influenced them or how they would continue the legacy of Kirk and company. Alas, all we get is mundane commentary.

Future’s Past is a rather self-congratulatory making-of featurette that is all about how much the filmmakers desired a lighter tone and how much fun they had making the film. For 28 whole minutes, they repeatedly stressed how much they emphasize the lighter tone after the bleakness of the previous two films. On Location takes a look at how the movie was shot in San Francisco. Also, it’s surprising to see that some shots came from hidden cameras on the street. Meanwhile, Deconstruction is a side-by-side comparison of Donald Peterman’s different camera takes. With Below-the-Line has the movie’s sound designer talks about the creation of the film’s organic sound effects. Pavel Chekov is an interview with Walter Keonig where he talks about his expanded role in this entry and seems to regret that he usually has so little to do in the series.

Time Travel, once again, is a dry discussion about the likelihood of ever attaining time travel or faster-than-light velocity. Language of Whales is a featurette about… Well, whales. Vulcan Primer takes a look at the Vulcan species, specifically Spock. Meanwhile, Kirk’s Women has Catherine Hicks and several other love interests from Kirk’s past discuss the inherent sex appeal of both Captain Kirk and William Shatner. Three Picture Saga has Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer talk about their “accidental trilogy.” In other words, it looks at how the franchise regained life with The Wrath of Khan and continued to progress all the way to The Voyage Home. Unfortunately, Star Trek for a Cause is simply a cheap plug for Green Peace and the work they’re doing. Finally, The Whale Probe is a cliff notes feature describing the mysterious whale probe “antagonist” in the film.

From Outer Space to the Ocean is a vintage promotional piece for The Voyage Home. Next, The Bird of Prey has Leonard Nimoy explaining the design of the Klingon warship. The trio of on-set vintage interviews are decent watches, but Shatner was clearly not in a good mood at that time. Roddenberry Scrapbook has Eugene Roddenberry talk about the life of his father, Gene. Mark Lenard (Sarek) is also another touching tribute. This time, the tribute has Lenard’s widow and daughters pay homage to their husband/father.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms


Overall, the Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection is a must-have for Trek fans looking to upgrade their Blu-ray collection. The video is well worth the upgrade. However, it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to receive any new audio mixes or special features for this box set.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1702 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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