Into the wild Blu-ray yonder

As a movie-lover, I have been enjoying DVDs for nearly ten years now. Once the whole HD DVD vs. Blu-ray format war was settled, my stance on upgrading to Blu-ray has been that I would consider it once either the Star Wars or Star Trek movies became available in that format.

With Star Trek, the eleventh movie in the series, ready to debut in theaters at the same time, May seems like a logical month for Paramount to release the previous films on Blu-ray. Indeed, there are strong rumors circulating the Star Trek world to that effect right now.

According to the rumors:

  • The first six Star Trek films, the ones I love the most, are set for Blu-ray release in May
  • The releases will include the theatrical versions of all six movies
  • Season 1 of Star Trek is set for Blu-ray in May, containing both the Remastered and original versions of the episodes
  • The four Star Trek: The Next Generation-era movies will be released on Blu-ray soon thereafter

For me, this is exciting news and has me taking my first serious look at Blu-ray players. Who knows if the rumors will actually pan out? I am waiting for official confirmation from Paramount before making a Blu-ray player purchase.

No Director’s cuts? Good!

This being the Internet, there has been some fan whining already. One of the main criticisms is that Robert Wise’s 2001 “Director’s Edition” of Star Trek: The Motion Picture will apparently not be included on this first Blu-ray release. In a rather shortsighted move, the new effects for that version were not created with high-definition in mind.

For years now, I have seen Star Trek fans fall all over themselves to compliment this director’s cut. For the most part, the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a boring movie. Do you know what? The “Directors’ Edition” is just as boring. It does nothing to improve the film.

If it is going to be boring either way, I would just as soon watch The Motion Picture as it originally appeared in theaters rather than a revisionist version. I have no problem with this “Director’s Edition” not being included.

What is funny about this is that certain people rake poor George Lucas over the coals for daring to release director’s cuts of his Star Wars movies, but Paramount will (likely) be raked over the same coals for releasing the true version of The Motion Picture rather than Wise’s 2001 attempt to improve a bad movie. The theatrical version of The Motion Picture never even received a DVD release, which I thought was a shame.

Ideally, I think all available deleted scenes (from the 1979 vintage, not newly created ones from 2001) should be on the Blu-ray – as an archive feature. The same goes for the other five movies. If they do not do this, I will not stay up at nights worrying about it, though.

People have also whined that Nicholas Meyer’s 2002 “Director’s Edition” of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan will apparently not be on that film’s first Blu-ray release, either. I was definitely excited to watch the expanded version of The Wrath of Khan back in 2002.

Over the years, though, I have gravitated back to the original 1982 theatrical version. That is the one I always watch now, so I do not mind this either. The theatrical cut of Star Trek II is a better movie. I really hope they include all of the deleted scenes in an archive for this one, though.

There has been fan ambivalence about the release of the theatrical version of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, rather than the 2004 “Special Collector’s Edition.” There are only a few second of difference, some people say. Actually, they are wrong.

In fact, if this Blu-ray rumor turns out to be true, this will be the first time that this version of Star Trek VI has been released in any home video format. From its initial home video release up until the present DVD versions, Star Trek VI has always featured about four minutes of additional footage that was not included in the theatrical version. These scenes are unnecessary, and one even leads to a “Scooby Doo” ending that detracts from the movie. I am definitely looking forward to seeing the true version of Star Trek VI again.

The original and the best

Perhaps best of all in the rumor, though, is that the Blu-ray release of season 1 of the Star Trek TV series will include both the Remastered and original versions of the episodes. As you may recall, the HD DVD release of Star Trek season 1 included only the Remastered versions.

I watch the three seasons of Star Trek on DVD more than any other TV series. I was leery about spending so much on that set (and this was even after their first price drop), but it has definitely been worth it. There is no question that I will re-buy the Star Trek movies, but will Blu-ray versions of the TV series be enough to convince me to buy the original series again?

If the Blu-ray release does indeed include both versions of each episode, I may actually be tempted to buy this set at a reasonable price – once CBS releases all three seasons. The HD DVD format collapsed before CBS could release seasons 2 and 3, and I am not going to get stuck owning just one season in High Definition like the poor HD DVD folks did.