Monday, May 2, 2022

Random Thoughts On The Motion Picture Director's Edition 4K Remaster Refurbished Edition On The Paramount Plus Thing.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979 in a relatively unfinished state, owing to the fact that a lot of special effects fell short of what director Robert Wise intended at the time. So a couple decades later, he had the opportunity to finish the film as he intended, which gave us the Director's Edition, which featured some additional footage as well as a reworked sound mix and some additional visual effects created from CGI. The Director's Edition of the Motion Picture is often considered the definitive version of that first Star Trek film, but was done entirely in standard definition and without any regard for potentially migrating this over to a higher resolution; hence why all these years we had the Blu-Rays releases featuring the original theatrical release, which I had not seen until that Blu-Ray release, because up until the point, all home video versions of The Motion Picture - barring the Director's Edition in 2001 - was based on an extended TV cut that aired on ABC and featured additional footage; some of which eventually made it to the Director's Cut.

And so after a couple more decades, which seems to be the appropriately timed interval for such endeavors, the team who developed the Director's Edition got back together and this time, they had access to all the original film elements pulled from the Paramount Archives, they redid the opticals and CG effects to make them more consistent, and the end result, once again, is the most definitive take on The Motion Picture given the utmost care. Everything looks sharp, the new elements look better than they did before, it's a much cleaner looking film, and quite frankly, if director Robert Wise was still around today - he passed away in 2005 - but if he were around to see this, I think he'd be pleased that the film he originally envisioned had finally come to fruition in the best possible way. Like, if you want the best version of The Motion Picture, this is it. And I've always preferred this cut over the original or the TV edit. The TV edit was the one I grew up on and there're some cuts there I'd prefer over what ended up getting used, but this one feels like a nice balance and more refined.

Now make no mistake; at the end of the day, it's still Star Trek: The Motion Picture and you either call it one of the greatest sci-fi epics ever made or one of the slowest. And as a movie, I think I like it more now than I did back in the day. Yes, the pacing can be glacial at times. Yes, the acting as a whole feels somewhat artificial and lifeless. There's no joy to be had with this film and the few attempts at light humor feels contrived. But what this movie does is take you on a journey and is a visual feast. We get Klingons, we see their ship, their new bumpy heads, their weird hair that thankfully they ditched for Star Trek III and gave them the wigs instead. Get to see Vulcan, Earth, that starbase they'd recycle the model countless times and you realize all this time they had the thing hanging upside down. That two-minute overture with the Enterprise beauty shots that is either adored or ridiculed. And the latter half is nothing but weird visual effects, strange alien constructs... never before has a giant flying space dildo tickle the imagination as much as V'Ger did in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

See, the key word is picture; you look at the pictures and the visuals. That's the selling point. The wonders of space. Jumping from the TV show to this... anyway, whether you like the movie or not and The Motion Picture has its moments, and this new Director's Edition is the best version of the film you could watch.

And who knows? Maybe Shatner will get his wish and he can redo Star Trek V because that's also a movie which could benefit from a Director's Edition and honestly, I don't know that's never happened. Sure, it wasn't the best film, it has flaws, but it's the closest to feeling like part of the television show. There's a central theme that is evaluated. There's character moments. The ideas are there. The execution was lacking and it amazes me that there was never a desire on Paramount's part to redo the film with new visuals. And honestly, I'd like to see that happen. In an age where we just got a brand-new version of Rocky IV that is a similar but different film from what we got back in '86, the fact that we've yet to get some traction on a reworked Star Trek V confounds me. And... well, we'll see in that regard.

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