Paramount Home Video
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Archives, Stroyboards, Trailers
Every franchise has its highs and lows, and the Star Trek feature film series hit one of its lows in 1989 with the fifth movie exploration, ’The Final Frontier.’ The effect may even be compounded by the fact that ’Star Trek IV’ was an incredibly strong entry in the series, leaving many fans disappointed at the somewhat incoherent and lack-luster follow-up. While the story surrounding Spock’s outcast half-brother Sybock contains plenty of intriguing potential, the movie never lives up to the potential. Still, it is an entertaining movie with great effects and the cast of characters we all came to love.
Paramount has created a new transfer for this release to improve on the previous DVD release of the film, and the improvements are significant. The presentation is devoid of any notable defects or blemishes, rendering an image that is rich in detail and full of vibrant colors. Never oversaturated, these colors manage to bring to life the outer space quest of the Enterprise and the fascinating worlds it visits. Black levels are very good, creating deep shadows that are well-delineated, yet never break up. No distracting edge-enhancement is visible, and the compression has also been handled very well to make sure the presentation looks the best it can.
As is Paramount’s tradition, the audio has not been remastered, though. Nonetheless, the 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track of the movie is well-balanced and dialogue is always integrated without being drowned out my music or sound effects. The frequency response is generally good, but some dialog elements are audibly harsh with some slight distortion. The bass extension is also fairly weak as a result of the film’s age and could have used some improvement. Overall however, it is a solid presentation without major flaws.
Being a Collector’s Edition, the DVD contains a number of supplements, such as a commentary by star/director William Shatner and his biographer, daughter Liz. Unfortunately the commentary track is not very enlightening and contains far too many gaps and pauses for my taste. Little relevant information is relayed – hardly anything technical at all – and in many instances simply falls back on the habit of commenting what we see on-screen.
A Trivia Track is also included once again, but it is equally disappointing, never really touching upon any of the juicy issues surrounding the production.
A series of featurettes is also included on the 2-disc set, covering some production aspects and paying tribute to some of the people involved in the production. Only the featurette ’The Journey’ however ever touches upon the tribulations of the troubled production in any sense, making it the most intriguing one. Still it is always politically correct and never seems to tell the real, real story.
We also find four deleted scenes on the release, which have been excised for obvious reasons – meaning they were dragging and did little to help the story. A self-running gallery of production still is also included, as well as trailers and some storyboards.
After going through the contents of this disc I couldn’t help but notice how much the release avoided to tell the real tribulations the film went through. It was reportedly an extremely troubled film that would have lent itself to countless enumerations of event and occurrences, but nearly none of them are recounted. It almost seems as if some lawyer stood beside the DVD production threateningly to ensure that everything remains politically correct and that no one’s images will be tainted in the process. That is a shame. Nonetheless, Trekkers will undoubtedly have their fun with this release.