This year’s Star Trek Day event brought with it a number of surprises and reveals for fans of the long running sci-fi franchise, and among them was a first look at the long awaited 4K Ultra HD release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The Director’s Edition of the first Star Trek outing on the big screen was originally released on DVD in 2001, but never had a Blu-ray upgrade. Now twenty years later, the definitive version of Robert Wise’s movie is coming home in a brand new 4K restoration with Dolby Vision’s HDR and Dolby Atmos soundtrack.
The unveiled Star Trek clip featured a CGI enhanced scene created for the original 2001, and included a comparison between the footage from its initial release and the new restored version. When the new transfer was announced back in July, the estimated work needed on the film would last up to eight months, so seeing something now was a bonus for fans and a good idea of the work going into the new release.
On completing the original movie, director Robert Wise always had a dissatisfaction with the final theatrical cut which was done to a very tight and restricting time schedule to allow the film to meet its release deadline. Being allowed to revisit the movie years later in the Director’s Edition meant he was able to rectify the annoyances he had and insert some abandoned scenes, lost special effects that hadn’t been completed on time and fully achieve his vision, which was then put out on VHS and DVD.
Although Wise was able to restore what he wanted to the movie, the director passed away four years later, but three people who worked on the original movie were an integral part of the restoration team for this release. They were producer David C Fein, visual effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman and restoration supervisor Mike Matessino. Someone who worked on the original movie was acclaimed visual effects artist Douglas Trumbull, who spoke about the film back in 2019 when Star Trek: The Motion Picture returned to theaters in celebration of the 40th anniversary.
Speaking to ComicBook.com, he said, “I think that everybody was on the same boat in that respect because there was a definite desire to elevate Star Trek to higher territory and epic territory. And that’s why it’s named Star Trek: The Motion Picture, not just Star Trek something else. They wanted to make sure it was differentiated from the television episodic series. That was why, I think, they hired Robert Wise, because he had done The Sound of Music and West Side Story, really important films that were epic in nature. And I think that’s what they wanted for Star Trek.”
There is currently no release date for the 4K version going on sale, but if you want to relive the original adventure as seen in cinemas, the theatrical cut is available on the Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection 4K UHD box set.