Fans will be pleased with the quality of special features on this two-disc DVD release of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock", but Paramount has missed an opportunity to restore the film to pristine condition.
Picture Unlike the collector's editions of the first two "Star Trek" movies, Paramount has not done any restoration work on "Part III". Indeed, this is the same transfer that was available on the old extras-free DVD. Colours are solid, but the print does need some attention. While good, this is no definitive DVD release for the movie.
Sound Again, the same 5.1 sound mix is on offer as on the previous DVD release. The surround speakers are well used for both music score and effects, though, and the Klingon ships get to wreak some serious bass damage for the subwoofer channel.
Audio Commentary A commentary track has been created with separately recorded thoughts from director Leonard Nimoy, writer and producer Harve Bennett, director of photography Charles Correll, and actor Robin Curtis (who plays Lieutenant Saavik).
Nimoy tends to dominate the proceedings and is a natural at speaking for a commentary track, littering it with amusing anecdotes. He has plenty of thoughts to share on this, his directorial debut, and also chats about his relationship with William Shatner.
Text Commentary As with the previous two collector's edition DVDs, Michael and Denise Okuda - authors of "The Star Trek Encyclopaedia" - have put together a detailed text commentary to accompany the film. While filled with facts mainly of interest to fans (quite right, too), there's a humorous slant to the subtitles that also point out bloopers and in-jokes.
Captain's Log This 26-minute look at the making of "Star Trek III" opens with the thoughts of writer and producer Harve Bennett, who looks back on a film cleared for production within days of the release of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan".
What Paramount desperately wanted was Leonard Nimoy back as Spock, and so begins a highly entertaining series of anecdotes from Nimoy and William Shatner. Bill is clearly in a playful mood and relates this extraordinary tale of the staff of Paramount bowing wholesale to Nimoy and begging him to come back.
Leonard's version of events is somewhat more sedate, but no less bizarre, as he recalls how Paramount agreed that he could direct, but would never meet to finalise this. As it turns out, complete confusion over Nimoy's contract and the assumption that he supposedly hated Star Trek (which wasn't true) held up production for weeks.
Terraforming One of the plot points of the third film is the creation of a new planet through a process called "Terraforming". In this 25-minute documentary, various experts discuss how this could be done with the planet of Mars, to make it habitable for humans.
Space Docks A slight budget increase from the second film allowed the ILM specialists on "Part III" to open up the Star Trek universe. New ships were created, including the impressive space dock. Supervising modelmaker Steve Gawley talks us through the creation of the space dock model, and reveals how it was lit, which may come as a surprise to some.
Speaking Klingon Some hardcore fans do like to indulge in a spot of Klingon, but this 21-minute featurette is unlikely to turn many people onto the language. Presentation is dry to the point of arid, and when one of the crucial questions raised is, "What to do with pronouns?", most will find themselves checking out of this part of the DVD.
Vulcan and Klingon Costumes This 12-minute featurette takes a detailed look at Robert Fletcher's costume designs for the movie, and the problems in realising them due to the limitation of rubber mould technology.
That Darn Klingon Dog Visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston chats about some of the spacecraft design in the movie, and the problems of dealing with a Klingon dog that was as stiff and convincing as a board.
Additional Extra Features Storyboard and photo archive, the original trailer, and a teaser for "Star Trek: Nemesis".
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Audio Tracks: English and German
Captions: None (English subtitles available)
Menus: Animated, with music
Special Features Subtitles: All of the special features come with subtitles apart from the trailers.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.