|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Star Trek aka Star Trek XI [Blu-ray]
(J.J. Abrams, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Paramount Pictures
Video:Paramount Home Video
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 41,537,681,136 bytes
Feature Size: 39,570,505,728 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.69 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 17th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3603 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3603 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
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
English (SDH), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none
Description: The greatest adventure of all time begins with Star Trek, the incredible story of a young crew’s maiden voyage onboard the most advanced starship ever created: the U.S.S. Enterprise. On a journey filled with action, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals. One, James Kirk (Chris Pine), is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy. The other, Spock (Zachary Quinto), was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before.
A bright, shiny blast from a newly imagined past, “Star Trek,” the latest spinoff from the influential television show, isn’t just a pleasurable rethink of your geek uncle’s favorite science-fiction series. It’s also a testament to television’s power as mythmaker, as a source for some of the fundamental stories we tell about ourselves, who we are and where we came from. The famous captain (William Shatner, bless his loony lights) and creator (Gene Roddenberry, rest in peace) may no longer be on board, but the spirit of adventure and embrace of rationality that define the show are in full swing, as are the chicks in minis and kicky boots.
J. J. Abrams 2009 film 'Star Trek' looks absolutely fabulous on Blu-ray. The director himself is noted saying "...for people who didn't catch Star Trek in the theater, I hope they do now, as Paramount has done an exceptional job with this release; the picture and sound quality are both excellent." This is hard to dispute. It has a fine sheen of grain to give it some texture and colors - blues, reds and Orion slave-girl greens, showing prominence. The camera wobbles a bit - I'll assume an intentional effect - and hence not every shot is pristinely detailed. There are plenty of obtuse camera angles - often starting a scene and effects are generally magnificent. The timing and flow of the film seem precisely obtained and this really benefits the visual transitions. The feature takes up almost 40 Gig with a strong video bitrate. This is a totally flawless transfer that has some desirable depth of field, shows a sturdiness through the thick image, limited gloss, is spotlessly clean, and has not even a hint of boosting, DNR, moiring or edge-enhancements - at all. The CG work is seamless. It is perfect and may very well be one of the best looking Blu-ray of the entire year.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The only English language option is a robust TrueHD 5.1 track at 3603 kbps. It stretches the confines of your surround system with aggressive bass and a crisp, sensitive high end. Effect noises are rife and come at you from all angles giving a healthy workout to every speaker. Dialogue never seemed drowned out by the action. Michael Giacchino's first composing work was in video games but he's developing an awesome resume including past films The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), and Speed Racer (2008). He's following some tough acts with the likes of Jerry Goldsmith and others helming some of the Trek tracks. While the score for Star Trek would never be called lilting - it has gentler moments as well as boisterous ones. I think it's a winner and the more I hear it - the more I like it. Like the film itself - this was no homage - but is 'boldly going...' in its own modern direction. The lossless rendering is, like the image, quite perfect. Some may recognize Beastie Boys 'Sabatoge' in there to give that scene it's own edge ('Is there a problem officer?"). The mix rises to meet each segment's occasion with explosive action and couched humanity. There are subtitles in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The commentary with director J.J. Abrams, writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Bryan Burk is good and you get a decent rating on how big a 'geek' each of these guys are (although they don't know what 'N.C.C.' stand for). One has to admit they are perfect for this film production - they have passion, knowledge and the desire to have created this marvelous piece of entertainment. Amusing one of them claims they have to see that 'Star Wars' one day - one has to reflect to 'Fan Boys'. It may be a bit dry at times for 2 hours worth of film but I certainly respect this group and hope this is only the start. Serious Trekkies will get the most out of the commentary which they joke is in surround - but in realty is only 2.0 channel. After that is an untested BD-Live function on disc one. It has the NASA News feature - exclusive to Blu-ray and it gives viewers access to the latest NASA news about real space exploration and you can check out featured imagery from around the universe.
The second disc (a 36.8 Gig dual-layered Blu-ray disc) supplements are fully listed and described above and I have no quarrel with the descriptions. I like them - they are relatively short pieces with Abrams, and the rest of the guys from the commentary all taking part to varying degrees. You get a strong sense of respect for Roddenberry's Star Trek vision - and this is an important cog in production and gives the tie-ins to the franchise so much 'meat' - often 'reverse engineering' the old plot points. My favorite pieces were To Boldly Go, Casting, the gag reel and the segment with sound designer Ben Burtt. There are nine deleted scenes also with optional commentary. I wouldn't expect too much from the Starfleet Vessel Simulator - as many seemed to highly anticipate. The more Trekkie types will enjoy the many 'Branching Pods'.
There is a 3rd disc with a Digital Copy for your portable device and some XBOX 360 samples for Star Trek D-A-C and a couple of weblinks.
NOTE: We don't get the comic book that they do in the Amazon Exclusive UK edition.
November 4th, 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze