on 25 May 2013
STAR TREK  [Blu-ray] The Future Begins! Action Movie of the Year! Spectacular Action!
The future begins in J.J. Abrams “high-octane hit” ‘STAR TREK’ that has taken audience by storm. When the Romulan Nero comes from the future to take revenge on the Federation, rivals Kirk and Spock must work together to stop him from destroying everything they know. On an “exhilarating” journey filled with “spectacular action,” comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits of the U.S.S. Enterprise will voyage through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before. “Even if you’ve never seen ‘Star Trek’ before, this movie is for you!”
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 2009 BAFTA® Awards: Nominated: Best Sound for Anna Behlmer, Ben Burtt, Peter J. Devlin, Andy Nelso and Mark Stoeckinger. Nominated: Best Special Visual Effects for Burt Dalton, Russell Earl, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh. 2010 Grammy Awards: Nominated: Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for Michael Giacchino. 2010 Hugo Awards: Nominated: Best Dramatic Presentation in Long Form for J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. 2010 MTV Movie Awards: Nominated: Best Breakthrough Performance for Chris Pine. Nominated: Biggest Badass Star for Chris Pine. 2010 Academy Awards®: Won: Best Makeup and Hairstyling for Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow. Nominated: Best Sound Editing for Alan Rankin and Mark Stoeckinger. Nominated: Best Sound for Anna Behlmer, Peter J. Devlin and Andy Nelson. Nominated: Best Visual Effects for Burt Dalton, Russell Earl, Roger Guyett and Paul Kavanagh.
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban, Zoë Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison, Rachel Nichols, Faran Tahir, Clifton Collins Jr., Tony Elias, Sean Gerace, Randy Pausch, Tim Griffin, Freda Foh Shen, Kasia Kowalczyk, Jason Brooks, Sonita Henry, Tavarus Conley, Jeff Castle, Billy Brown, Jimmy Bennett (Young James T. Kirk), Greg Grunberg, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Zoe Chernov, Max Chernov, Jacob Kogan (Young Spock), Lorenzo James Henrie, Colby Paul, Cody Klop, Akiva Goldsman, Anna Katarina, Tyler Perry, Ben Binswagner, Jonny Rees, Scottie Thompson and Majel Barrett (Starfleet Computer voice)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Producers: Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, David Baronoff, David Witz, J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Chernov and Roberto Orci
Screenplay: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Gene Roddenberry (original television series "Star Trek")
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Dan Mindel
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English: 5.1 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio Description, German: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish
Running Time: 127 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Rebooting old film franchises, especially sci-fi films is all the rage in Hollywood these days. When a once-popular film series starts to lose its lustre and outlive its usefulness, the time may come to hit the Reset button and start over fresh. This strategy worked wonders for both Batman and James Bond. Superman really could have benefited from the same, but unfortunately the non-reboot quasi-sequel we got instead disappointed on many levels. Still stinging from that one, the studio behind it is currently discussing the reboot option for its next attempt.
But when is a reboot not really a reboot? Is it possible for a movie to be a linear sequel, a prequel, and also a reboot all at the same time? That's the conundrum posed by the newly-revamped 'STAR TREK.' The title alone boldly declares its intentions. This isn't 'STAR TREK XI'. It's just 'STAR TREK' full stop. Start over. Reboot. And yet, it's also not. Can a film have it both ways? In this case, amazingly, yes.
Truth be told, it took a lot of cajoling on Paramount Pictures part to even contemplate the prospect of rebooting its venerable 'STAR TREK' franchise. Undeniably, 'Trek' was on pretty shaky ground in recent years. The last sci-fi film, 'NEMESIS,' was its first outright box office bomb. And the most recent TV series, 'Enterprise', was cancelled due to poor ratings. Nevertheless, 'STAR TREK' still boasts an enormous and famously ill-tempered fan base that doesn't take easily to change or to disruptions in the series' labyrinthine canon, and starting over. Could any film manage the near-impossible task of appeasing old fans while attracting new ones? That was the challenge laid out for director J.J. Abrams and his writers. The solution they came up with is really quite ingenious.
Plans for a prequel film that would revisit younger versions of the "Original Crew" characters James T. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and others during their Starfleet Academy days had been in discussions at least as far back as 1990. For various reasons, the project was scrapped. For their reboot, J.J. Abrams and company decided to revive that concept, but also cleverly tied it to the original continuity via the convenient excuse of time travel. In the new story, a villainous Romulan named Nero [Eric Bana] from the 'Next Generation' era has travelled back in time to the early 23rd Century and set in motion a chain of events that will change history and directly affect the life of young James T. Kirk. Thus, all of the events of the 'Star Trek' that fans have followed for four decades still happened, while this new sci-fi film creates an alternate, parallel timeline. "Whatever our lives might have been, if the time continuum was disrupted, our destinies have changed," Spock explains. This avoids the pitfalls of a typical prequel, in which the fates of all the characters are already set in stone. Anything can happen in this new timeline. The entire history of 'Star Trek' has just shot off in another direction.
The opening scene sets the tone. From out of nowhere, the Federation Starship U.S.S. Kelvin is set upon and attacked by a gigantic Romulan vessel of superior technology. The ship's captain is taken prisoner and executed, leaving First Officer George Kirk in command. Meanwhile, George Kirk's pregnant wife is in the throes of labour on a lower deck. This culminates in a huge battle simultaneous with the birth of their son James. The scene is epic in scope, operatic in emotions, and immediately declares the sci-fi film's agenda to wilfully break with 'STAR TREK’ tradition, because it is utterly fantastic. From that point, the film jumps ahead to show the rebellious James T. Kirk’s youth in Iowa and enlistment in Starfleet Academy, where he meets important characters such as McCoy, Spock, and Uhura. Eventually, he winds up on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise right as Nero returns to launch the second phase of his diabolical plan. Naturally, out of all of Starfleet, only our crew of fresh-faced cadets will have what it takes to oppose this threat.
In a project like this, casting is critical. If the audience can't believe that these young actors are portraying the iconic characters they've known and loved for decades, the entire film will fall apart. It's in this regard that J.J. Abrams takes his biggest risk and scores his greatest coup and I don't know where the director found Chris Pine, but it was a really smart decision and Chris Pine makes a conscious decision to avoid any overt William Shatner impressions, which would almost certainly come across as terribly corny. And yet, without at all seeming like William Shatner, he very much embodies all the characteristics of James T. Kirk and his charisma and his cockiness, his smug self-satisfaction and his irresistible magnetism, his hot-headed temper and brilliant tactical mind. If Chris Pine's performance had at all missed the mark, he could have derailed the movie. Somehow, it just works. When I first heard that Karl Urban, the tough-guy villain from 'The Chronicles of Riddick' and 'The Bourne Supremacy,’ had been cast as Leonard "Bones" McCoy, I couldn't imagine how he'd pull it off and I'm glad to say that I was completely mistaken and Karl Urban absolutely nails the character's acerbic wit and homespun charm. He couldn't possibly be better.
This new 'Star Trek' is almost all about the action. It is mostly well-plotted and has excellent character development, but lacks the philosophical depth of the best 'STAR TREK' outings. The film does the seemingly impossible and it makes 'STAR TREK' a great deal of fun and relevant again in the 21st Century. Paramount Pictures big gamble paid off. The sci-fi film was a huge box office hit and the biggest in the STAR TREK franchise's history. Unlike some of 2009's other big money-makers, it scored widespread praise from both critics and audiences. And of course the sequel ‘STAR TREK: Into Darkness’ in 3-D which has now been released and will be reviewing this also. Let's just hope that the franchise series can keep up the momentum for many years to come.
Blu-ray Video Quality – As if there had been any reason to doubt, 'STAR TREK' looks totally brilliant on Blu-ray. Personally, I think it looks better than several other recent high-profile releases. Some viewers may take issue with the director's overuse of lens flares shining directly into the camera, but there's little denying that the 1080p transfer captures all of his stylistic affectations just as he'd want them. Likewise, a number of close-ups on the Enterprise Bridge were shot with wide-angle lenses and appear slightly stretched. That's not a transfer flaw. It was evident in cinemas as well. For the most part, the 2.40:1 image is very sharp and detailed. Many close-ups are amazingly vibrant. However, in certain parts of the movie, especially during the first half, shots with visual effects seem slightly less detailed than those without. This probably has to do with the resolution at which they were rendered and composited. It's never a dramatic drop-off, but is somewhat noticeable on a large screen. That problem works itself out as the film goes along. By the last hour, just about everything looks virtually flawless. The picture has vivid colours and great contrast throughout. The black of space is suitably inky, yet shadow detail is well defined. A little bit of film grain is apparent and appears unprocessed. 'Star Trek' is a good-looking movie that will make terrific home theatre eye candy, even on large projection screens. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – I've been watching a lot of high-octane action and sci-fi pictures lately, the type of sci-fi films where loudness is valued as the most important aspect of sound design, and deafening cacophonies are used to bludgeon the audiences' senses. I'd seen 'STAR TREK' in the cinema and knew it to be another action-packed sci-fi film. Firing it up via my home theatre set-up, I set my expectations and my Pioneer A/V Receiver's volume accordingly. Listening in the home environment, what struck me the most about this soundtrack is just how well balanced it is. The mix certainly has plenty of dynamic range, but never does the dialogue sound suppressed in comparison to overly-loud music or sound effects. All of the levels are appropriate, not obnoxious. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack features bold and brassy music that swells up very nicely. Directional effects and bass rumble are smoothly integrated. Sound effects like the “phasers” are crisply recorded. Listen closely, and you'll also hear plenty of classic 'STAR TREK' noises and effects subtly integrated into the soundscape. The action scenes build up to tremendous power. The surround channels buzz with excitement, and the subwoofer gets a workout as well. This is just a brilliant soundtrack all round.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelot and Robert Orci: Director J.J. Abrams, producers Bryan Burk & Damon Lindelof, and writers Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci and all recorded together and have a great rapport in this fast-paced, information-packed commentary. Among the topics discussed is the script development of the ‘STAR TREK’ film and the continuity, last-minute editorial changes, and tailoring the sci-fi film to appeal to women. This is a consistently interesting and a very engaging audio commentary track.
Special Feature: BD-Live Feature: NASA News: With this feature, viewers may access an RSS news feed from the NASA web site.
Finally, this brilliant 'STAR TREK' reboot accomplishes the nearly-impossible task of resetting the dial on a widely-beloved franchise that was clearly past its prime, while both respecting old fans and inviting new ones. If not a perfect film by any means, it's a tremendous amount of fun. The Blu-ray excels in every area, from video and audio, but sadly with this Region B/2 Blu-ray the supplements are far too sparse, compared to the Region A/1 Blu-ray disc 'STAR TREK.' But despite this, it is still a fantastic Blu-ray disc and I have viewed it several times and I still get excited watching it, as there is so much going on, you miss stuff and it has now gone pride of place in my ‘START TREK’ Blu-ray Collection. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom