Star Trek (1-Disc Edition) [DVD] [2009]

Actors: Chris Pine, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Zachary Quinto
Director: J.J. Abrams
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1 ES Matrix), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1 ES Matrix)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2009
Run Time: 127 minutes

Special Features

  • Commentary by director J.J. Abrams, writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Bryan Burk.
  • A New Vision: J.J. Abrams' vision was not only to create a Star Trek that was a bigger, more action-packed spectacle, but also to make the spectacle feel real. Every aspect of production, from unique locations to the use of classic Hollywood camera tricks was guided by this overall objective.
  • Gag Reel: Bloopers featuring the entire principal cast.



Ironically this ?new? Trek feels a lot more like ?old? Trek on DVD than it did in the cinemas . . .

Maybe it is because by now one has gotten over the shock of what director J.J. Abrams and his team were trying to accomplish. But we think it is because of the DVD image transfer, which is too sharp, too clean ? almost antiseptic, as if it has been digitally scrubbed clean.

Is this 2009 Star Trek reboot let down by an image transfer that is paradoxically too perfect?

You decide. After all the director went to great lengths to make the movie look real and naturalistic, not just through the use of sets that looked ?used?, but also camera imperfections such as jerky camera movements, excessive flares and specks (or ?chintz?) on the lens. All of this is somehow negated by an image that is sterilely perfect with hardly any grain. (A television show such as Battlestar Galactica attains its grittiness by occasionally using film stock that is deliberately grainy.)

Suddenly a lot of the sets such as the bridge of new Enterprise and other spaceship interiors feel as sterile as they did in the old Star Trek movies again. (Yeah, we know it's weird to complain about image quality being too good, I know.)

This aside, this vanilla one-disc edition of Star Trek isn't bad at all as far as this sort of thing goes. There is a short "making of" featurette titled A New Vision, which is part obligatory wankfest with a lot of talking heads going "J.J. Abrams is soooo GREAT!!" It is however also a fascinating look at how some old-fashioned film-making tricks were used. These tricks include an Enterprise lift that goes nowhere, a five-year-old in a costume used to make a cave set look bigger than it actually is and (our favourite) how the camera is shaken to create that jittery effect during action sequences such as the skydiving jump.

Director J.J. Abrams and his writers also cavalierly admit in the featurette how they wanted to make Star Trek more like Star Wars. They even joke (we hope!) about how much one of them still don't like Star Trek. (In the audio commentary one realises how much Abrams and his generation are truly the children of Spielberg and Lucas as they explain how movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars and so on ?inspired? certain scenes in this new Trek.)

Check the featurette before listening to the audio commentary by director J.J. Abrams, writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Bryan Burk.

It is a chatty, informal commentary mercifully without those dreaded stretches of silences that plague some director's commentaries when the director has run out of things to say. It also avoids the audio commentary trap of the director describing the onscreen action also because he or she has nothing left to say. It is jokey, but not too jokey either and you?ll spot new things in the movie such as the blink-and-you'll-miss-it fact that Scotty (Simon Pegg) keeps a tribble as a pet and a flagpole that should be casting a shadow but isn't.

Useless trivia fact we learned: actor Zachary Quinto (young Spock) can't make the Vulcan ?Live Long and Prosper? salute with his right hand and they had to glue his fingers together for one scene.

Unfortunately there are no deleted scenes included on this edition of Star Trek (one supposes one must check out the two-disc edition or Blu-Ray for them) even though they are referred to throughout the commentary. All of which is a pity because some of the scenes sound fascinating. A whole back story was for instance removed in which the villain Nero (Eric Bana) and his Romulan crew were taken prisoner by some Klingons from whom they had to escape. So see, they didn't just spend 25 years playing card games whilst waiting for older Spock to appear from that black hole!

The gag reels are actually fun to watch and it seems as if the actors and crew had a fun time on the set.

WORTH IT? If the economic recession has put a crimp in your style, then this one-disc edition won?t make you feel as if you wasted your money and you don't really need to splurge on the more expensive editions out there. (Those deleted scenes are sorely missed though.) If you're a more hardcore movie buff type who checks out every single featurette on a disc, then don't bother with this version.

RECOMMENDATION: It's Star Trek for people who don't really like Star Trek. Ironically though rewatching it on the small screen somehow diminishes the movie's blockbuster credentials and breakneck pacing. Now one can focus on just slickly produced it is, but also how well the actors performed with the rather limited time at their disposal. Suddenly this Trek feels a little bit more like, well, Star Trek . . .



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