Star Trek: The Original 4-movie Collection (1979-1986) | 4K Blu-ray Review


Star Trek fans rejoice! Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and more of your original cast favorites are now out in glorious 4K quality. Paramount has issued the first four remastered versions of the original movies (The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home) on the Ultra HD format, along with their companion Blu-rays. Why they stopped at 4 instead of doing the first 6 is an answer only Paramount knows, but this is not a judgment of their distribution decisions, and instead is a focus on whether or not these 4Ks are worth adding to your Star Trek collection.


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Star Trek: The Original 4-movie Collection, 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (4x BD-66)
Blu-ray (4x BD-50)
Digital code
Released By:Paramount Pictures
Release Date:September 7th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Resolution:4K: 
Native 4K, 2160/24p 
(3280 x 2160 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)

BR: 
Full HD, 1080/24p 
(1920 x 1080 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from 35mm negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1, 2.40:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K): Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English (BR): Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Additional tracks also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese
Subtitles:English, English SDH, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Packaging:2x 4-disc snap cases w/ slipbox
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region-free

Video Review:

For this process, Paramount went back and remastered all 4 of the films and presented them to us on both 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and a standard 1080p Blu-ray. It is clear care was taken during this process with all 4 films absolutely making a leap ahead in visual quality especially compared to the 2009 Blu-ray releases. Before you jump ahead and think this means they are absolute, flawless stunners, that’s not the case as there are definitely still some flaws in the presentation (especially in the latter 2 of the 4 film collection).. But it is the case that these movies have never looked better. There is a big increase in detail and sharpness on all 4 films (although Wrath of Khan is still a bit soft, but that was how it was intended). The grain structure throughout the films is pretty well handled, but can be a little heavy at times. So if you are arain-phobic then these films are going to irritate you at times. The only slight downside, is that while the enhanced detail is great, it really does expose some of the imperfections in the VFX, especially in the heavily composited scenes.

Color and contrast are definite winners here with both Dolby Vision and HDR10 making these films look worlds better. Colors are richer and more vibrant, without being comically oversaturated, whether or not it be the uniforms, the warp trails, the phaser and photon torpedoes, all get a nice upgrade. The lights and darks of these films are also vastly improved. While many of the space scenes in the 2009 transfers were often pretty gray, the blacks here are right and the contrast between the lit elements and the blackness of space is absolutely enhanced. No serious artifacting was observed across the 4 films.

The package here also includes the remastered Blu-rays (1,3 and 4 being new with the Wrath of Khan remaster coming out for its 35th anniversary in 2016, and repackaged here). These are also a huge step forward over the 2009 releases with everything improved in details, color, etc that was noted above on the 4Ks, but just not quite as good as the UHD counterparts.

Overall, the quality of these remasters from best to “worst” (and worst just means lesser, not that it was in any way bad) is The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, and the Search for Spock. 

Video Score (4K): 4.4 / 5

Video Score (BR): 4.2 / 5

Audio Review:

If you have heard the 2009 releases on Blu-ray, then unfortunately you have already heard these tracks. There are no new audio tracks on these discs. We have the same TrueHD 7.1 mixes, and while they are good, they are not perfect. Given the sci-fi and space of these stories, it seems like they missed the opportunity to do something special with an Atmos track.

Action and dialog well presented in the front stage, with dynamic effects getting a decent run around the room in the surrounds. The musical score is strong, and well presented with the main theme coming to life in your viewing space and get your ready to enjoy the stories ahead.
LFE, while present, is certainly not doing to sound like a modern blockbuster. But what does come through is good and present with only the Wrath of Khan sounding a little anemic in the low end. While all 4 films could have used a bit more oomph down low, what we did get was good.

Now, I will say that while we did not get a new object-based mix, the commonly available upmixers do an admirable job with the information in the 7.1, it’s just not as good as I think it could have sounded.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 3.9 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

Much like the audio mix we are handed the same slew of special features that we have had since 2009. While it’s all really good (and one of the reasons my score is as “high” as it is), it was a bit sad we didn’t get anything new, not even something on the remastering process. The one exception is a new isolated score track found on The Motion Picture 4K. For the most part all features are found on the BR, with the exception of the audio commentary tracks that were also duplicated onto the 4K discs.

For the Wrath of Khan you do get both the Theatrical and the Director’s Cut on both the 4K and the standard BR. Unfortunately for folks who are a fan of the Director’s Edition of the first film, while Paramount is doing a 4K remaster, as of now it appears it will be solely available on Paramount+ when it does come out. I do hope they change their mind on that and throw that on a disc as well, otherwise it’s just the DVD version on my shelf.

Packaging is a bit uninspired. The slipbox artwork is fine, but nothing to write home about, and the case art, while differs from the box, is exactly the same as each other on both included snap cases (only difference being the color of the case and the 4K and BR logos). There is no artwork on any of the discs with us getting solid black and solid blue for the 4K and BR, respectively. Overall the artwork and packaging here is very mediocre. I can only be thankful that the discs themselves are fairly well protected in the multi-disc cases.

Features Score: 3.2 / 5

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

If you are a fan of these movies and the franchise, then this package is definitely worth picking up. It’s a nice increase in quality on the visual side and that alone makes this worth owning. It should be noted that Paramount did also release solo-versions of the remastered Blu-rays, so if you are not 4K enabled yet, and prefer the Blu-ray those are the versions to get (or even upgrade) over the older 2009 releases. Hopefully with enough support on these, Paramount will do the last two of the original cast movies and even move on to give the upgrade to the TNG films as well.


Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

Star Trek fans should be happy we started getting the films on 4K. While I hope for the rest of them to come out in the not too distant future, what we did get is a nice upgrade over what was available in the past. These releases are still not perfect, with  still some flaws in the video, but much closer to the way they should be presented, and with a miss on upgrading the audio tracks, but even with that, this is still a much-appreciated release and one to get your hands on. 

Experience Score**: 4.1 / 5  (Very Good)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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