H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Star Trek: First Contact [Blu-ray]

 

(Jonathan Frakes, 1996)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Paramount Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:50:44.304

Disc Size: 44,014,065,698 bytes

Feature Size: 26,939,068,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.78 Mbps

Chapters: 31

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 22nd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3897 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3897 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English, English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

Commentary by Damon Lindelof and Anthony Pascale

Audio Commentary by Jonathan Frakes

Audio Commentary by screenplay writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore

Library Computers Mode

Production

Making First Contact (20:18 in SD)

The Story (15:30)

The Missile Silo (14:04)

The Deflector Dish (10:31)

From "A" to "E" (6:38)

Scene Deconstruction

Borg Queen Assembly (11:10)

Escape Pod Launch (4:58)

Borg Queen's Demise (3:12)

The Star Trek Universe

Jerry Goldsmith: A Tribute (19:46)

The Legacy of Zephram Cochrane (12:18)

First Contact: The Possibilities (19:31)

• Industrial Light and Magic: The Next Generation (12:17 in HD!)

• Greetings From the International Space Station (8:31 in HD!)

• Spaceshipone's Historic Flight (4:36 in HD!)

Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond - Part 2 (7:30 in HD!)

Trek Roundtable (12:51 in HD!)

Star Fleet Academy SCISEC Brief 008 Temporal Vortex (2:35)

The Borg Collective
Unimatrix One (14:15)
The Queen (8:31)
Design Matrix (18:10)

Archive

Storyboards

1930’s Nightclub
Hull Battle
Hull Battle - Alternate Shots
Worf vs. The Borg - Alternate Shots

Photo gallery

Trailers

Teaser Trailer (1:21)

Theatrical Trailer (2:22)

BD-LIVE enabled

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In their second big screen adventure, the year is 2373 and the crew of the Enterprise-E has learned the Borg has returned. Because of Captain Picard's past experiences with the Borg, Starfleet has ordered the Enterprise to stay out of the fight. Realizing too much is at stake, Picard disobeys orders and takes the Enterprise to Earth. His knowledge of Borg technology leads the Federation fleet to victory, but a Borg sphere escapes and opens a temporal vortex. The Enterprise pursues and travels back to April 4, 2063; the day before the first warp flight.

 

 

The Film:

"Star Trek: First Contact'' is one of the best of the eight "Star Trek'' films: Certainly the best in its technical credits, and among the best in the ingenuity of its plot. I would rank it beside ``Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home'' (1986), the one where the fate of Earth depended on the song of the humpback whale. This time, in a screenplay that could have been confusing but moves confidently between different levels of the story, the crew of the Enterprise follows the evil Borgs back in time to the day before mankind made its first flight at warp speed.

That flight, in 2063, was monitored by an alien race, the Vulcans, who took it as evidence that man had developed to the point where it deserved to meet another race. But now the Borgs, starting from the 24th century, want to travel back through a temporal vortex (how I love the "Star Trek'' jargon!), prevent the flight and rewrite history, this time with Borgs populating the Earth instead of humans.

The latest edition of the starship is the ``Enterprise E'' (and there are plenty of letters left in the alphabet, Capt. Picard notes ominously). It is patrolling deep space when it learns the Borgs are attacking Earth. The Enterprise is ordered to remain where it is--probably, Picard (Patrick Stewart) notes bitterly, because he was a prisoner of the Borgs some six years ago, and ``a man who was captured and assimilated by the Borg is an unstable element.'' These Borgs are an interesting race. They are part flesh, part computer, and they ``assimilate'' all the races they conquer into their collective mind, which organizes their society like a hive. There is even a queen (Alice Krige), although she is not fat and pampered like an ant or a termite, but lean, mean and a student of seduction. One of the movie's intriguing subplots involves Data (Brent Spiner), the Enterprise's android, who is captured and hooked up to a Borg assimilating machine--which fails, because it can't crack his digital defenses. Then the Queen tries some analog methods all her own.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

Star Trek: First Contact looks solid on Blu-ray from Paramount - a parsec leap above the SE DVD from 2005. Aside from what may be some very minor edge-enhancment the image is flawless on the dual-layered disc with the 1 hour 50 minutes feature covering almost 27 Gig of the 44 used. CGI effects are more prominently used in the film than in previous Trek flics and they have definitely benefitted from the move to 1080P.  Details is very strong and colors seem far more brilliant than SD although it never looked boosted. Skin tones seem true - contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels and daylight scenes the are most impressive showcasing some desirable depth. This Blu-ray gives a super presentation that Trekkie fans will no doubt appreciate.

NOTE: This is also part of Star Trek the Next Generation Motion Picture Collection.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The TrueHD 5.1 track at 3897 kbps does its job and then some. Separations stretched from the subtle to the demonstrative with the space battle sequences highlighting the more aggressive features. The Jerry Goldsmith score never overtakes the narrative - doing its job with rousing efficiency. The theme music sounds absolutely perfect and crisp with good range and bass. There are two foreign language DUBs, subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

 

Extras :

The supplements are endless with three optional commentaries - what I believe is a new one by Damon Lindelof and Anthony Pascale. The two-person ones do not seemed 'mixed' in very well with the film soundtrack but all are entertaining in their own right - the Frakes one is a bit underwhelming considering his status as director and actor in the film. Featurettes go on and on duplicating all from the SE DVD and about 30-minutes new material in HD. Under "The Star Trek Universe" we get Industrial Light and Magic: The Next Generation featurette - about the computer effects, Greetings From the International Space Station, Spaceshipone's Historic Flight - lasting 4.5 minutes and Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond - Part 2. where teh actor discusses his preference for First Contact as his favorite of the Star Trek films. The Library Computer feature runs along with the film allowing you to access a variety of infomation like "Assimilation" or "Counselor" dependant on the scene. It's a bit cumbersome to access and I can't see most people indulging. The disc is also BD-LIVE enabled.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Of the later ST films - this is certainly the best one available in The Star Trek the Next Generation Motion Picture Collection and very entertaining to revisit on Blu-ray. It certainly looks and sounds extremely impressive and it contains a good selection of scenes worthy enough to demo when you have Trekkies over. With less in the way of character development - this quick paced action-adventure is suited more to those familiar with the franchise than the causal viewer - but the latter can still appreciate First Contact in its own right. It's just a good all-around film and very much worth owning on Blu-ray. Yes - we surely recommend! 

Gary Tooze

September 15th, 2009

 

 

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

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