Paramount unleashes The Wrath of Khan

One of the most lauded and celebrated releases from Paramount Home Entertainment has been the fully restored and retooled Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition. Now the film’s first sequel, and arguably the best installment in the franchise is preparing to follow suit with the extensive new DVD release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – The Director’s Edition.

It is the 23rd century. The Federation starship U.S.S. Enterprise is on routine training maneuvers, and Admiral James T. Kirk seems resigned to the fact that this inspection may well be the last space mission of his career. But Khan is back. Aided by his exiled band of genetic supermen, Khan – brilliant renegade of 20th century Earth – has raided Space Station Regula One, stolen a top secret device called Project Genesis, wrestled control of another Federation starship, and now schemes to set a most deadly trap for his old enemy Kirk… with the threat of universal Armageddon!

Although not as precedent setting as the “Motion Picture” set, the new two-disc set for “Wrath of Khan” has just about everything a fan of the film could hope for. Disc one contains the film with an anamorphic widescreen transfer and audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0 and French Dolby Stereo. The film will be accompanied by a new audio commentary from the film’s director Nicholas Meyer and a text commentary by Trek tech guru Michael Okuda. The most important piece of information is that the film will in fact contain the expanded 116 minute version of the film as overseen by Meyer incorporating footage previously only seen on the original television broadcast of the film. This new footage will be reintegrated into the film allowing viewers to see this footage for the first time in widescreen. Completists should consider hanging onto the original bare-bones DVD however, as the new release will unfortunately not incorporate branching to give the option of the original theatrical version of the film.

Disc two carries all the extras. A theatrical trailer and storyboard archives will be supplemented by over four hours of documentaries. The Captain’s Log features new interviews with Nick Meyer, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban and producer Harve Bennett. Designing Khan explores the overhaul of Trek’s visual style between the first two films including interviews with Meyer, Bennett, graphic designer Lee Cole, costume designer Robert Fletcher and production designer Joe Jennings. The Visual Effects of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” goes in depth with the designers at the then young ILM on the creation of the film’s effects. Original interviews from the film feature promotional clips from Shatner, Nimoy, Montalban and DeForest Kelley add some taste of the film’s original promotions. Finally, The Star Trek Universe – A Novel Approach by Authors Julia Exklarand Greg Cox discusses the expansion of Trek into novels with emphasis on the books stemming from “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”.

Whew. If Paramount has this kind of commitment ready to put towards all of the Star Trek films, Trek fans will have a lot to be happy about in the coming years. “Wrath of Khan” will come much sooner than expected on August 6th with a suggested retail price of $24.99.

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