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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Star Trek aka Star Trek XI [Blu-ray]

 

(J.J. Abrams, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount Pictures

Video: Paramount Home Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:06:50.269

Disc Size: 41,537,681,136 bytes

Feature Size: 39,570,505,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.69 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 17th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

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

 

Extras:

Disc 1
Commentary: By director J.J. Abrams, writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Bryan Burk.
NASA News (BD-exclusive): This BD-Live feature gives viewers access to the latest NASA news about real space exploration. Learn about new mission developments and check out featured imagery from around the universe.
 

Disc 2
To Boldly Go: Taking on the world's most beloved science fiction franchise was no small mission. Director J.J. Abrams, writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof, and executive producer Bryan Burk talk about the many challenges they faced and their strategy for success. (16:41 in HD!)
- Branching Pods:  The Shatner Conundrum / Red Shirt Guy / The Green Girl / Trekker Alert!
Casting: The producers knew their greatest task was finding the right cast to reprise these epic roles. The cast, for their part, talk about the experience of trying to capture the essence of these mythic characters. The piece concludes with a moving tribute to Leonard Nimoy.  (28:53 in HD!)
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. (19:31 in HD!)
- Branching Pods: Savage Pressure
Starships (BD-exclusive): Abrams and production designer Scott Chambliss were careful to pay tribute to the design of the original Enterprise, but they also wanted to make it futuristic and cool for a modern audience. This chapter focuses on the unique stories behind the creation of the film's starships. (24:33 in HD!)
- Branching Pods: Warp Explained / Paint Job / Bridge Construction Accelerated / The Captain's Chair / Button Acting 101 / Shuttle Shuffle / Narada Construction Accelerated
Aliens: Designers Neville Page and Joel Harlow talk about the hurdles they faced creating new alien species, recreating the Romulans and Vulcans, and designing the terrifying creatures on Delta Vega for the new Star Trek. (16:29 in HD!)
- Branching Pods: The Alien Paradox / Big-Eyed Girl / Big Bro Quinto / Klingons / Drakoulias Anatomy 101
Planets (BD-exclusive): From the frozen landscape of Delta Vega to the desert plains of Vulcan, Scott Chambliss and the art department had a number of radically different planets to create. Abrams' desire to shoot on real locations whenever possible led the production team to a number of strange and surprising locations. (16:10 in HD!)
- Branching Pods: Extra Business / Confidentiality
Props and Costumes (BD-exclusive): Property master Russell Bobbitt had the unique challenge of designing props that were both true to the original series and pertinent to today's technology. Likewise, costume designer Michael Kaplan talks about how he designed costumes that paid homage to what came before yet were relevant and timeless. (9:22 in HD!)
- Branching Pods: Klingon Wardrobe
Ben Burtt and the Sounds of Star Trek (BD-exclusive) : When famed sound designer Ben Burtt was hired to create sounds for the first Star Wars film, he took his inspiration from the original "Star Trek" series. Burtt jumped at the opportunity to pay tribute to the sounds that sparked his career with the sounds he created for the new Star Trek. (11:45 in HD!)
Score: As a fan of the original series, composer Michael Giacchino embraced the challenge of creating new music for Star Trek while preserving the spirit of Alexander Courage's celebrated theme. (2:28 in HD!)
Gene Roddenberry's Vision (BD-exclusive): J.J. Abrams, Leonard Nimoy, previous Star Trek writers and producers, and scientific consultant Carolyn Porco describe and commend the optimistic and enduring vision of Gene Roddenberry. (8:47 in HD!)
Nine deleted scenes with optional commentary
Starfleet Vessel Simulator (BD-exclusive): Explore extensive data on the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Romulan ship, the Narada. Submerse yourself in breathtaking 360 views and close-ups and review detailed tech information.
Gag Reel: Bloopers featuring the entire principal cast. (6:22 in HD!)
 

Disc 3
Digital Copy
Star Trek D-A-C Free Trial Game for XBOX 360
Weblink to the Star Trek D-A-C free trial game for PC
Weblink to the Star Trek D-A-C free trial game for PlayStation Network

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

 

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.

[....]


Despite these visions, the flashing lasers and latex aliens, “Star Trek” is fundamentally about two men engaged in a continuing conversation about civilizations and their discontents. Hot and cold, impulsive and tightly controlled, Kirk and Spock need each other to work, a dynamic Mr. Abrams captures with his two well-balanced leads. Mr. Quinto lets you see and hear the struggle between the human and the Vulcan in Spock through the emotions that ripple across his face and periodically throw off his unmodulated phrasing. Mr. Pine has the harder job — he has to invoke Mr. Shatner’s sui generis performance while transcending its excesses — which makes his nuanced interpretation all the more potent. Steering clear of outright imitation, the two instead distill the characters to capture their essence, their Kirk-ness and Spock-ness.

Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the story has plenty of chatter, but Mr. Abrams keeps the talk moving, slowing down only intermittently, as when Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) or the wryly smiling Leonard Nimoy (!) unload some paternalistic advice on Kirk. A television veteran (“Lost”), Mr. Abrams handles the action scenes better than he did in his only other big-screen outing (“Mission: Impossible III”), largely by not lavishing too much time on them. By far his finest moments take place on the brightly lighted deck of the Enterprise, where against the backdrop of limitless space, Kirk, Spock and the rest of the young crew fumble with roles that — much like the young actors playing them, including Anton Yelchin as Chekov and John Cho as Sulu — they ultimately and rather wonderfully make their own.

Excerpt from Manhola Dargis at the NY Times located HERE

 

 


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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I don't know anyone who didn't enjoy this film in the theater. You can easily appreciate the incredible work put into Star Trek - but there is some real flair too. Star Trek is part of our culture now and it's not going anywhere - for many it never left. This franchise must surely exceed Bond's and nothing else is really close with the TV lore and series of films that will continue to perpetuate. Roddenberry's wonderful positive view of the future is the greatest asset that Star Trek has and you don't have to wear rubber pointed ears and attend the conventions to still love it. This Blu-ray package is one of the best of the year and include in that the very reasonable price. Paramount certainly aren't gouging. For Home Theater devotees this is another essential that we highly endorse. Enjoy! 

 

Gary Tooze

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 HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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