Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A basic repackaging or a genuine improvement...?, 31 Jan 2012
This review is from: Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level (Blu-ray) [2012] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
As a geeky teenager I loved Star Trek: TNG, and as a geeky thirty-something I've loved revisiting it. I was a bit apprehensive at this Blu-Ray release, the TV series was fantastic but it never looked great - it always seemed a bit 'soft' and the DVDs never looked any better than it did on TV (hardly distinguishable from VHS to be honest). But this Blu-Ray brings a two-and-a-half-decade series back onto screens and it manages to look better than it has ever looked, it's doesn't just look better - it looks fantastic.

This is a teaser and contains only three episodes: The first Episode 'Encounter at Farpoint'), 'Sins of the Father' (from series 3), and 'The Inner Light' (from series 5). Whether the choice of episodes is the right one to showcase ST:TNG is always going to be a matter of debate amongst fans, but including the pilot seems to be a natural choice to show how it all began, Sins of the Father depicts how we view Klingons has changed since the days of Captain Kirk (though not completely) and The Inner Light is probably one of the best episodes from the TV series - very thought provoking and a great bit of drama/Sci-Fi.

The first thing to hit you is the level of detail - these were originally captured on film and it shows - I thought the increase in resolution would be wasted and would reveal only minor improvements but I was wrong. Electronic displays look absolutely superb, fabrics have textures, and you can even see the few hairs on Picard's head! Colours seem boosted but not unnaturally so, the whole thing looks vibrant and the visual effects which have been improved have been done subtly and in-keeping with the series. The bridge of the enterprise is more colourful than I remember it and even the quite ropey uniforms of the first series look better with their more striking reds, blues, and yellows. This is clearly a labour of love rather than an automated process designed to synthetically upscale the picture, the original 4:3 aspect ratio has been maintained rather than cropped - I don't understand why some have complained about this, I appreciate that we are used to 16:9 TV series now, but to artificially create a 16:9 image by distorting the image or cutting bits off it, is crazy. There aren't really any extras on this disk other than trailers and promotional material (which is available online) - but I suspect the actual releases will document how this remastering was achieved. Film grain is present but never hinders the enjoyment, it's not intrusive and simply shows how the smooth picture we've seen before now was a smeared and overly soft transfer of the original medium.

In a nutshell: It feels like I'm watching this for the time - and to be honest I am in some ways as I can see things now which were never visible before. I was cynical about this new transfer from film but I'm more than happy to have been proven wrong. I was going to give this 4 stars as it is a bare-bones release, but for the budget price I feel I can give nothing less than 5. I can't wait to see the Borg cube in high-definition, make it so!
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