Updated: Oct 3, 2022
The Enterprise like it’s never been seen before (on any screen) comes home in stunning 4K with the newly remastered STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE - The Director’s Edition available now to add to your collection!
The Final Frontier was anything but limitless in 1979, the year that Gene Roddenberry’s epic wagon train to the skies, Star Trek made the leap from the small screen to the multiplex. Studios across all of Hollywood were in search of their own franchise to take on that other upstart set in a galaxy far, far away. Paramount didn’t have very far to look. Among the crown jewels in its position was the television series that ran for three seasons on NBC and revolutionized the genre for all science fiction to follow, but what Star Trek achieved in syndication was unprecedented!
The series gained an entirely new audience when it was sold to play across versatile markets in every major local network in the US and across the seas. Fans rallied behind the series and their devotion to its crew of explorers that braved the outer reaches of space in search of new life and new civilizations gave rise to a following that opened the doors to fan gatherings that would become today’s fan conventions. Star Trek was more popular than ever, and the studio was ready to bring it back to television in a “Phase II” iteration that would bring back many of the original cast.
At the eleventh hour though, the studio execs decided, that instead of going to episodic television the franchise should go bigger, wider, and premiere in theaters with a blockbuster budget to boon. The expectation was that here they had something that could go toe-toe with Star Wars and that’s how STAR TREK: The Motion Picture launched into new territory. It was an ambitious effort and to make it happen, Paramount wrangled Hollywood legend Robert Wise to direct this opus based on a script idea by Gene Roddenberry himself.
The theatrical release of the first Star Trek film left many people at the time scratching their heads. The film’s story didn’t have the epic highs and lows of a space opera like Star Wars and the adventure mostly took place aboard the one set piece which encompassed the newly refitted and reimagined USS Enterprise. It was based on a story by science-fiction best-seller Alan Dean Foster although was very true to the Star Trek DNA established by its creator, the narrative was a bit too high brow for most audiences. Fans rallied behind the film and were thrilled to see the TV cast reunited on the big screen.
A Wise Man
The film was not a runaway success, and even though its production was wrought with problems, it proved a profitable venture. Paramount felt that they had successfully found a new franchise and a sequel would immediately follow. It’s no secret that filmmaker Robert Wise, who was known for his extraordinary ability to take on unsurmountable odds when it came to his pictures, wasn’t entirely satisfied with the 1979 theatrical release. Wise felt it was rushed, mostly unfinished and that in order to meet the studio deadlines for a Christmas release, he made too many compromises.
The man who got Star Trek on the big screen was given an opportunity to revisit his film and immediately brought a team together in 2000 to proceed with his first “Director’s Edition”. Released on home video, digital technology allowed Wise to expand on many of the special effects shots, re-edit his film, and restore it to what he felt was a better interpretation than what was seen previously. 22 years later the technology has been pushed even further giving filmmakers another pass at further bringing Star Trek: The Motion Picture closer to Robert Wise’s original vision of the film.
Incorporating 4K enhancements the film has been given an entirely new sheen, remastered and restored, and able to meet the majesty of the franchise it would inspire. Many of the film’s original special effects have been carefully recalibrated, giving the film a spectacular feel. The audience can now more effectively experience Robert Wise’s vision in the way he had always imagined it. The soundtrack is also hitting a whole new level as Dolby ATMOS gives the motion picture cinematic depth and audio detail that it so richly deserved, all along.
This release for 2022, features newly discovered and deleted scenes, and all-new footage that needed to be restored and integrated to complete the Enterprise’s adventure. The newly restored Motion Picture debuted as a special premiere event on the Paramount+ streaming service and is now available on 4K Ultra HD and Digital to be experienced the way it was always intended.
I saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture on opening weekend in a theater in 1979. My mom dropped me off at the multiplex like she had done hundreds of times before. She handed me some money and waved to me, smiling as I headed on up to the box office to buy my ticket. Mom had already started driving away, when I turned, waving frantically to get her attention. I ran back to the car and asked if I could have just a couple more dollars. I wanted to purchase the “Official Souvenir Program” that was being sold (and would often be sold exclusively at theaters in the 70s and 80s).
She handed me some extra cash and reminded me she’d be back to pick me up in a couple of hours.
I grabbed my goodies at the concession stand and made my way into the appropriate auditorium. I found a seat relatively in the center of the house; the theater was largely empty so I had my pick. I settled in and before I knew it the Overture had begun. Two hours and some change later, the picture ended and I watched the credits roll. I exited the theater and my mom was waiting just as she’d promised outside the multiplex.
- “How did you like it?”, she asked.
- “I enjoyed it just fine,” I replied as I settled into the passenger seat.
- “What was it about?”, my mom wanted to know.
- “It was about finding God; the search for one’s creator.”
She looked at me a little perplexed and said, “Didn’t you go see the new Star Trek movie?”
“Yes,” I said. “Now can we go to Howard Johnsons? I’m starving!” Mom made me explain the movie to her while we ate. I can remember how fascinated she was by how I was interpreting the film for her; I was about eight years old and she was astounded by the complexity I described. It was a good thing I had the souvenir program. It helped to share some pictures. She thought William Shatner looked spectacular!
To complete the series of films that star the Original Series crew, the remaining two films that brought their adventures to theaters are now also available in 4K Ultra HD releases. Joining the newly restored The Director’s Edition is STAR TREK V: The Final Frontier and STAR TREK VI: The Undiscovered Country. Both films look and sound incredible and include many of the previously released legacy Special Features that have accompanied them before. The Undiscovered Country remains one of the most popular in the series of films and signals the final time the Original Crew were featured together.
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE - The Director’s Edition | starring William Shatner, DeForest Kelly, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nicelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, James Doohan, and directed by Robert Wise is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Combo Packs, and on Digital Download platforms.