Review for Star Trek: Stardate Collection - The Movies 1-10
I told myself that I wasn’t going to do this. I was not going to buy the Star Trek movies again. I loved Star Trek once upon a time, and was seriously obsessed about it until the early 2000s. I’ve had most of the classic series movies in various flavours of VHS and DVD several times over, but around about the end of Voyager, I fell out of love with the franchise and said enough was enough. I also refused to double-dip willy-nilly generally on Blu-rays, the way I did with DVDs. That didn’t last long, especially when all things being equal, 99% of films really do benefit from HD video and lossless audio. So when this 10 movie boxset appeared in a sale, effectively offering the movies at £2 a disc, plus two bonus discs, then I was quick to place an order. Between you and me, I would have paid even more for a 9-movie boxset.
Star Trek: Nemesis did come out when I was falling out of love with the franchise, in fact it was a significant contributory factor to my growing dismay with Trek, and this is actually the first time I’ve seen the movie since I wasted 6 English pounds and 50 English pence to watch it in a cinema. Now if I watch this boxset in chronological order, I will end on a serious downer, so for the purposes of this review, I’m going to watch the Trek films from crap to gold, linking to each review as I go. It’s a Trek Top of the Pops. That’s with the exception of ‘the trilogy’ which makes narrative sense in numerical order, but will still be listed here in order of preference. No need to guess what’s at number 10.
10. Star Trek: Nemesis
9. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
8. Star Trek: Insurrection
7. Star Trek: Generations
6. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
5. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
4. Star Trek: First Contact
3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
2. Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
You get a Blu-ray Amaray fatpack, with the sleeve-art recreated on an o-card slipcover. Inside is a removable digi-book, six plastic pages which hold one disc either side, ten movie discs and two bonus discs (exclusive to this and the Original and Next Gen movie collections). There’s also a booklet with a little artwork, and details for each of the discs.
The first bonus disc contains the Star Trek Summit, a conversation moderated by Whoopi Goldberg (Guinan), and featuring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, and Jonathan Frakes, the captains and first officers of both screen Enterprises. It’s an entertaining, and informative chat, full of anecdotes and little bits of trivia, and it’s well worth watching. You can watch it in three parts, but the total runtime is 71:12.
The second bonus disc is the Evolutions disc, and is not quite as rewarding, even though there are seven HD featurettes on it.
The Evolution of the Enterprise looks at the ships that have borne that name on screen, all seven of them, and offers a brief history of each, with clips from the films and TV shows, lots of CGI, and a fair bit of fan conjecture. This lasts 14:23.
Villains of Star Trek lasts 14:04, and Nick Meyer, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci talk about the notable bad guys of the movies (poor Ru’afo doesn’t get a look in).
I Love the Star Trek Movies lasts 4:34 and the creative talent behind various incarnations of Star Trek have a gush.
Farewell to Star Trek: The Experience (28:06), Klingon Encounter (3:29), and Borg Invasion 4D (5:12) indulge in the Vegas theme park experience.
Finally there’s more fanwank in Charting the Final Frontier, as the movies get placed on galactic starcharts so that you ‘know’ where they happened. There are four pages of maps, and about 10 minutes of footage here.
Ten years ago, when I was still something of a rabid Star Trek fan, I would have been gushing about this boxset, despite its shortcomings. I’m a lot more discerning now, and I can definitely criticise some of the lacklustre, or space-filling extra features. I can also complain about the treatment that Paramount have given their cash-cow franchise when it comes to the transfers on these discs. At best they are perfunctory transfers of film onto disc, and at worst they are de-grained plastic facsimiles of the films that I remember watching. These are films that should have had the 4k re-master treatment from the off. To date, only the Wrath of Khan got a revisit for its director’s cut release, and they changed the colour timing on that.
When it comes to the actual movies, I’ll really only re-watch six of them with any appreciation approaching my one-time fan fervour, and unfortunately one of them is a Next Generation film, otherwise I would have opted for the Original Series six movie boxset. But, when it comes down to it, this 10 movie Blu-ray collection always resides in a bargain bucket these days, and if it isn’t in one right now, just give it a week. When you take that into account, that you can very well have ten movies on Blu-ray for about £2.50 each, then you can forego the pixel perfect transfers and the meaningful extras, and ignore the fact that it has Star Trek Nemesis among its number, and just be happy with a cheap, Star Trek movie boxset.