Captain Kirk and Co time travel back to 80s America to save the whales in the most popular instalment of the Star Trek movie series. One of the film's best features was the rapport between William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, a double act who also prove the star entertainment on this brilliant double-disc DVD release.
Picture It looks like the same transfer from the old DVD has been used here, but that's not bad news as the colour tones are natural and surprisingly fresh looking given the age of the film.
Sound Apart from the odd effect and swelling moments in the music score, don't expect too much from the 5.1 mix apart from a powerful front speaker soundstage.
Disc One Special Features
Audio Commentary Fans have been waiting for some time for a Shatner/Nimoy commentary, and they won't be disappointed. In fact, this pairing should become compulsory for future audio tracks.
Nimoy proves methodical and, at times, ruthless in analysing his direction on the film, while also recalling clever solutions used to compensate for the tight budget. Shatner helps lighten things up with a masterful touch of sarcasm, which provides for many laughs along the way.
Plot changes are also discussed, which then branch into alternate ideas for the film, and sequels that could have been made with the original crew. We're not likely to see those stories ever get much further, though, with stalwarts such as DeForest Kelley no longer with us, and both Shatner and Nimoy take some time out to talk about Kelley's legacy in the Star Trek universe.
Text Commentary As with the previous three 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. Fans will love the obsessive detail, but for those of you not in the know, there's a humorous slant to the subtitles that also point out bloopers and in-jokes that all will enjoy.
Disc Two Special Features
Time Travel: The Art of the Possible Three quantum physicists attempt to explain to us mere mortals how time travel could, in theory, work. Hilarious animations accompany serious ideas, with the upshot being that we need to keep an eye out for friendly smiley wormholes if we wish to jump in time. A regular black hole simply won't do as it'll just squish you, so be careful!
The Language of Whales Get the A-Z of whales here in this informative featurette that's a handy crash course in these monsters of the sea. Did you know a blue whale can be up to 100 feet long?
A Vulcan Primer Margaret Bonanno, author of several Star Trek books, gets deadly serious while talking about Vulcans. Her knowledge base will certainly be of interest to fans, but someone needs to tell her that Vulcans don't exist.
Kirk's Women This featurette sounds racier than it is, so don't expect an exposé on Shatner's loves and lusts. What we do get are short interviews with Kirk's squeezes over the decades, with all actresses concerned lustily recalling the old Shatner magic.
Future's Past: A Look Back Running at nearly half an hour, this is an entertainingly comprehensive look back at the making of the film. As with similar featurettes on previous collector's editions, there's some cute editing between comments that Shatner and Nimoy make. Shatner huffily concludes that, "I never liked time travel in science fiction." Nimoy admits that, "Bill didn't want it," only for Shatner to concede with a wry smile that, "They turned out to be right... this one time." Add to that such comments from Shatner as "I gave him his career" when talking about Nimoy, and you're in for plenty of laughs.
On Location There's plenty of behind-the-scenes footage here, including some amusing outtakes.
Dailies Deconstruction Here's a chance to watch scenes filmed from the perspective of camera A and B.
Below the Line: Sound Design Mark Mangini discusses how delighted he was to be working with a director like Nimoy, who thinks sound design is a crucial component of movie-making.
From Outer Space to the Ocean It turns out that the most difficult effects to get right were not those set in space but rather the everyday stuff, as you'll discover here. No real whales were used in the movie, and here we get to glimpse the technology used to such good effect that animal rights groups were convinced that the crew had harassed whales for the shoot.
The Bird of Prey Check out the plans of the Bird of Prey ship and the effects used to create it.
Original Interviews In this section you'll find some rather dry but sometimes amusing interviews conducted on set with Nimoy, Shatner, and DeForest Kelley.
Roddenberry Scrapbook Eugene Roddenberry, son of the late Gene, gives a revealing interview about the man he could divide into two categories: "a fairly standard father", and a "great bird of the galaxy".
Featured Artist Actor Mark Lenard is profiled here in a touching tribute to his work on both the original TV series, the movies, and spin-off TV shows.
Additional Extra Features Also on the DVD is a comprehensive archive section with images and storyboards, and a trailer.
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Audio Tracks: Multiple languages
Subtitles: Multiple languages
Menus: 3D animations, with music
Special Features Subtitles All of the special features come with subtitles apart from the trailer.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.