A stipulation of William Shatner's contract to return to the cast of Star Trek: The Voyage Home was dependent on him being allowed to direct the next film, which would become known as Star Trek: The Final Frontier, much like Leonard Nimoy's contract to direct both The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home. Unfortunately this didn't fair as well as they did; to this day the film well and truly divides fans and casuals alike and signaled the beginning of tiredness for the original franchise, despite the boon that for the first time a Star Trek film was being released concurrently with a Star Trek TV show: The Next Generation.
Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) brother Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill) is exiled from Vulcan, taking diplomats hostage in a devious plan to seize control of a Starship (you guessed it: the USS Enterprise), to visit a God-like entity whom has been plaguing his dreams, with the hope of obtaining his power and knowledge. Meanwhile, an ambitious Klingon commander Klaa (Todd Bryant) has his sights on capturing Captain Kirk (William Shatner) dead or alive.
Saddled with a terrible story, overly hammy acting (especially Shatner, whom only had himself to reign his acting in; yeah right) and terrible special effects, Star Trek: The Final Frontier is undoubtedly the worst of all the Star Trek films and the 20 years in between has done little to improve its reputation.
After the disappointment of the transfer afforded The Voyage Home, it's certainly good to see things back on track. Here we have a very film like transfer, similar to the first three films, which is very pleasing. Film artifacts have been lessened over previous releases and there's been a little colour correction. The transfer is sharp and well defined, with plenty of fine detail on offer. There appears to be slight horizontal stretching in the opening Paramount logo, but the film itself seems fine - still curious.
What hasn't been improved is the horrible matte lines over composited special effects scenes, but that is a complaint in regard to the special effects and nothing to do with the transfer.
A pleasing effort, I just wish that effort had been put into the The Voyage Home rather than this one.
The main audio track is encoded in Dolby TrueHD 7.1, at 24 bits.
Just as consistent as previous mixes Star Trek: The Final Frontier certainly sounds a treat. There were no problems with audio sync or dialogue. The surround mix is just a little better than previous mixes - there are a few moments of really nice 360 degree panning effects and reverb. A good example is "we have travelled far" shouted by Sybok and the speech of the God. I suspect as technology improved, the condition of the individual audio stems improved, making it easier for modern audio engineers to remix.
The subwoofer is fairly active when called upon.
The score by the legendary Jerry Goldsmith is quite good, but far from his best work. It's integrated well into the mix.
Overall, a very good audio mix - probably the best yet.
The first of the two Audio commentaries are provided by Director/ actor William Shatner and his daughter, Liz Shatner which is bought over from the previous DVD release. The second commentary is a new track, featuring Star Trek experts Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman. They are gracious about what the film does right, but are honest about the "film not coming together for the audience".
The Library Computer feature returns again. Presented in the same method as for The Motion Picture; it's a cool BD-Java infused extra which overlays text information whilst watching the film. However, what makes it different to previous in-film text features is that users can select the information they want to view by pressing the enter button when the subject prompt jumps on the screen.
New to the Blu-ray release are the following Featurettes: Star Trek Honors NASA which looks at how Star Trek has inspired the real world NASA and vice versa,Hollywood Walk of Fame: James Doohan, a quick newsreel on the honour extended to the now deceased actor shortly before his death, Starfleet Academy: Nimbus III, a continuation of the info-mercial series.
As per most of the Star Trek Blu-rays, a complete archive of the DVD's Featurettes are included, starting with The Journey: A Behind-the-Scenes Documentary, which serves as a 30 minute documentary on the making of the film, with some refreshingly honesty appraisal of the final productHerman Zimmerman: A Tribute to the production designer of The Next Generation and a few of the feature films, including this one.
Original Interview: William Shatner features a slightly less arrogant William Shatner talking about the added complexity of being not only in front of, but behind the camera, Cosmic Thoughts waxes theology and how it works in with the Star Trek universe, That Klingon Couple features recent interview footage with Todd Bryant and Spice Williams whom play the Klingon couple, A Green Future talks about the filming at the Yosemite National Park - it's good to see it's still around in 400 years time, Harve Bennett's Pitch to the Sales Team features the producer talking up the film as better than the predecessor. Makeup Tests consists of a collection of still photos, concept art and some on camera footage, without sound. Pre-Visualization Models maps out some scenes with crude models, which serves as a precursor to the digital pre-viz work which occurs today. Rock Man in the Raw is a few minutes of concept images and the only surviving test footage of the finished suit which was ultimately cut from the film. And finally the Star Trek V Press Conference trots out the cast and crew to the throng of media. Ignore the horrible fashion, there's some good stuff in here.
The collection of Deleted scenes are in fairly rough standard definition and amount to only 4 minutes. These would have added little to an already bloated film.
Lastly, we have two original Theatrical Trailers, presented in HD and a bunch of TV Spots.
Review Equipment Used:
Display: Sony KDL52X3100 LCD (1080p resolution/ 24p playback)
Player: Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, PlayStation 3 (24p playback)
Sound: Sony STR-DA5400ES Receiver (7.1 configuration), Sony SSX70ED front speakers (x2), Sony SSCNX70ED center speaker, Sony SSFCR7000 surround speakers (x4), Sony SAW3800 Subwoofer (Front), Sony SAWM500 Subwoofer (Rear)
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