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Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection Review: The Definitive Way To Experience These Classics

Are they worth the upgrade? Let’s take a look.

Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection Review: The Definitive Way To Experience These Classics

Review: Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection

Watching Star Trek movies in the best currently available display options – 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) – has been a long time coming. 4K Blu-ray discs have been around for a few years now, but classic Star Trek movies have lacked any 4K presentations, save for the Director’s Cut of The Wrath of Khan from 2016. Now in time for the franchise’s 55th anniversary, Paramount Home Entertainment is gracing us with 4K/HDR versions of the first four Star Trek movies, meaning this is the first time you can watch The Motion Picture, The Search for Spock, and The Voyage Home in 4K.

It’s a great milestone to celebrate, but what’s equally worth celebrating is that these transfers do a remarkable service to these movies.

What’s in the box?

Let’s start with what’s in the package. The Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection includes three ways to watch these movies:

  • Four 4K/HDR Blu-ray discs (you’ll want to make sure you have an 4K/HDR-compatible TV and Blu-ray player)
  • Four Blu-ray discs (meaning these movies are displayed in 1080p with no HDR)
  • Digital copies of these movies
Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection packaging
Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection packaging

It’s worth noting that The Motion Picture in this collection is the theatrical cut, not the Director’s Edition. You’ll have to wait for the upcoming remastered Director’s Edition if you want to see that version in 4K. This collection does include the Director’s Cut of The Wrath of Khan as well as the theatrical version, so you get to choose which one you want to watch. Star Trek III and Star Trek IV are presented in their original theatrical cuts.

Our main question upon slipping these movies into our Blu-ray players: how does the visual quality of these releases compare to the existing versions of these movies? Well, we’re happy to report that these films look great. Of course, you expect a quality increase because you’re seeing more visual data than ever before, but the addition of HDR, assuming you have an HDR-capable TV, adds so much more depth to these movies. After all, you’re seeing a wider gamut of colors than previously possible. In our opinion, seeing these movies in HDR is just as important as seeing them in 4K.

Since we here at TrekNews.net have a soft spot for The Motion Picture, we’d like to point to that movie as a fantastic illustration of how these films have transferred to 4K/HDR. For example, we found ourselves enthralled watching some of the slower, previously nap-inducing V’Ger approach sequences because V’Ger’s model work and visual effects just look amazing. The surface detail on the ship itself is much sharper than we remember it being on the DVD or even the previously released 1080p Blu-ray, and the increase in color gamut really shows off the trippy 1970s, 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque sci-fi aesthetic.

Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection packaging
Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection packaging

Additionally, surface textures for the movie’s various sets and costumes stand out more than ever – rest assured that your eyes will be plenty busy absorbing all the movie’s detail, especially from some of the larger sets. While the increased resolution is overall a welcome improvement, it does mean that a staple of pre-CGI visual effects – matte lines – stand out a bit more. You’ll notice these lines as black outlines around ship models. We totally don’t mind the slightly distracting presence of these outlines, as they are a somewhat nostalgia staple of classic television, but don’t be surprised if you notice them a bit more.

The other perk of this release is that you can toggle the Dolby 2.0 isolated score at any time, which means you can watch the movie and hear only the soundtrack. Audiophiles will love this feature, and it’s a special treat in The Motion Picture thanks to Jeffrey Goldsmith’s classic, epic score. This feature is only available for The Motion Picture. We should note that this isolated score is the only new extra in this 2021 release for any of the included movies. Every other special feature was previously released (including the commentary, which is still super interesting if you haven’t listened to it), so if you’re looking for new special features, this package isn’t for you.

2009 vs. 2021 comparison

Please note: The 4K screencaps have not been captured

Star Trek: The Motion Picture from the 2009 HD scan
Star Trek: The Motion Picture from the 2009 HD scan
Star Trek: The Motion Picture from the new 4K 2021 scan
Star Trek: The Motion Picture from the new 4K 2021 scan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan from the 2009 HD scan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan from the 2009 HD scan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan from the new 4K 2021 scan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan from the new 4K 2021 scan

What about the extras?

Here’s a list of all the included special features in this collection, which you can see is pretty inclusive:

The Motion Picture 4K Blu-ray:

  • Isolated Score (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Commentary by Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman

The Motion Picture Blu-ray:

  • Isolated Score (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Commentary by Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Daren Dochterman
  • Library Computer Viewing Mode 
  • Production: The Longest Trek: Writing the Motion Picture 
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Special Star Trek Reunion 
    • Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 001: The Mystery Behind V’Ger 
  • Deleted Scenes 
  • Storyboards: Vulcan; Enterprise Departure; V’Ger Revealed
  • Teaser Trailer 
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots 

The Wrath of Khan 4K Blu-ray:

  • Commentary by Nicholas Meyer (Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version)
  • Commentary by Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto (Theatrical Version)

The Wrath of Khan Blu-ray:

  • Commentary by Nicholas Meyer (Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version)
  • Commentary by Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto (Theatrical Version)
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (Director’s Cut)
  • Library Computer Viewing Mode (Theatrical Version)
  • The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan 
  • Production; Captain’s Log; Designing Khan; Original Interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and Ricardo Montalbán; Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; James Horner: Composing Genesis 
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics
    • A Novel Approach
    • Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 002: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI 
  • Farewell
    • A Tribute to Ricardo Montalbán 
  • Storyboard Galleries (HD)
    • Main Title Concept
    • Kobayashi Maru
    • Ceti Alpha V
    • Regula I
    • Chekov and Terrell Find Khan
    • Admiral’s Inspection
    • Khan’s Revenge
    • Kirk Strikes Back
    • Finding the Genesis Cave
    • The Mutara Nebula
    • Sneak Attack
    • Genesis
    • Honored Dead
  • Theatrical Trailer 

The Search for Spock 4K Blu-ray:

  • Commentary by Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Charles Correll, and Robin Curtis
  • Commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor

The Search for Spock Blu-ray:

  • Commentary by Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Charles Correll, and Robin Curtis
  • Commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor
  • Library Computer Viewing Mode 
  • Production
    • Ken Ralston on Models and Creature Effects Easter Egg 
    • Captain’s Log 
    • Terraforming and the Prime Directive 
    • Industry Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek 
    • Spock: The Early Years 
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Space Docks and Birds-of-Prey 
    • Speaking Klingon 
    • Klingon and Vulcan Costumes 
    • Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame 
    • Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 003: Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer 
  • Photo Galleries 
    • Production
    • The Movie
  • Storyboards 
    • Main Titles
    • The Klingons Attack
    • Entering Spacedock
    • Search for Life
    • Finding Spock
    • The Destruction of the Grissom
    • Stealing the Enterprise
    • Self-Destruct
    • Kirk Fights Kruge
    • The Katra Ritual
  • Theatrical Trailer 

The Voyage Home 4K Blu-ray

  • Commentary by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy
  • Commentary by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

The Voyage Home Blu-ray:

  • Commentary by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy
  • Commentary by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
  • Library Computer Viewing Mode (HD)
  • Production
    • Future’s Past: A Look Back 
    • On Location 
    • Dailies Deconstruction 
    • Below-the-Line: Sound Design 
    • Pavel Chekov’s Screen Moments 
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • Time Travel: The Art of the Possible 
    • The Language of Whales 
    • A Vulcan Primer 
    • Kirk’s Women 
    • Star Trek: The Three-Picture Saga 
    • Star Trek for a Cause 
    • Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 004: The Whale Probe 
  • Visual Effects
    • From Outer Space to the Ocean 
    • The Bird-of-Prey
  • Original Interviews
    • William Shatner 
    • Leonard Nimoy 
    • DeForest Kelley
  • Tributes
    • Roddenberry Scrapbook 
    • Featured Artist: Mark Lenard 
  • Production Gallery 
  • Storyboards
    • Encounter with the Saratoga
    • The Probe Approaches Earth
    • Time Warp
    • Mind Meld
    • The Whaling Ship
    • Return to the 23rd Century
    • Communication
    • NCC-1701-A
  • Theatrical Trailer 

While we’ve spoken highly of the first movie, it’s not just The Motion Picture that benefits from increased visual clarity (but it does perhaps benefit the most thanks to its age). Watching the classic The Wrath of Khan and seeing the Enterprise and Reliant fight in the Mutara Nebula is better than ever thanks to HDR; the escape sequence from Spacedock in The Search for Spock is even cooler to watch when both the Excelsior, Spacedock, and Enterprise are seen in such exquisite detail; and seeing 1986’s San Francisco in The Voyage Home in 4K pulls you more into the setting than ever before.

The release of these films also feature a strikingly different color grade than previous releases. If you compare the 2009 Blu-ray release of these movies with this new package, you’ll notice colors take on a more natural tone than before. Whoever mastered the 2009 discs clearly favored a more purplish and bluish color grade, leading to some scenes looking cold or out-of-place. A notable example we found when doing our watch-through was at the end of The Voyage Home when the Enterprise comes out of Spacedock. Do you remember the ship looking like it was almost totally cast in shadow, and the deflector dish looking a bit too acutely blue? That shot is totally different now thanks to the more normalized color grading. Rest assured that Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection presents these films’ colors in the best, most natural way we can hope for.

Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection does a great service to these classic movies and accomplishes admirably what the project set out to do: bring these films into the 4K-era. If you want the definitive way of watching these movies, this collection is for you. If you were picking this up hoping for a refreshed selection of special features, you’ll be disappointed, as the only new feature is the aforementioned isolated track for The Motion Picture. Moreover, if we’re waiting for Paramount to release a definitive collection of all the TOS-era films, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. While no announcement has been made about the last two TOS films getting the 4K/HDR treatment, we imagine that it has to happen at some point. After seeing the first four movies shine in 4K/HDR, it’s hard to imagine Paramount wouldn’t complete the collection. For now, definitely add this release to your home media collection.

Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection is now available on Amazon.


Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for all the latest news on Star Trek media releases, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Picard, and more.

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Written By

Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan, and isn't ashamed to admit that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis are his favorite Star Trek movies. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @khady93.

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