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Paramount finally makes the Trek Into Darkness BD right with Star Trek: The Compendium!

June 23, 2014 - 6:00 am   |   By 

All right, let’s get the new week started off right, shall we?

I believe I promised you a new column from our own Michael Coate, so here it is. Today being the official 25th anniversary of the original theatrical release of Tim Burton’s Batman, Michael has delivered the latest installment of History, Legacy & Showmanship column: Wings of Change: Remembering Tim Burton's Batman on its 25th Anniversary. It’s well worth a read, as Michael’s column always are, delivering not one but two fine interviews and a wealth of detail. So be sure to check it out today.

And now for that surprise title announcement we mentioned on Friday: Paramount is finally making good on the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray debacle with the 9/9 release of the 4-disc Star Trek: The Compendium Blu-ray box set (SRP $39.99)!  [Read on here…]

You can see what it looks like there on the left (and below).

A little bit of background before we continue… many of you will no doubt recall that, back when Star Trek Into Darkness was first released on Blu-ray, we here at The Bits were critical of the way all of the special features content was split up and given away as exclusives to different retail partners (see our column here and our review of the Blu-ray here), making it nearly impossible for fans to get all of the extras. A few weeks after our posts, I was invited up to Paramount to meet with the studio’s home video team to talk about the issue. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. They were honest, acknowledged that they’d made mistakes with the title (with the best of intentions, believe it or not – new people were in charge and they really didn't expect the fan backlash) and wanted my opinion on how they could make it up to Trek fans. And they really did want to make it right.

First of all, yes... I DID let them know that fans really want better special editions of the classic Trek films, with new, properly-remastered transfers and the director’s cuts. So please know that message was conveyed and the idea is under consideration.

Meanwhile, as relates to Star Trek Into Darkness, I suggested that the studio finally put together the true special edition that should have been delivered from the start, with all of the extras that got scattered around to different retailers, including the enhanced audio commentary, plus all-new content just for this release. I suggested that they might want to consider offering the IMAX version of the film (much like Warner’s The Dark Knight Blu-ray), as many fans have asked for it. And most importantly, I suggested that they offer fans who purchased the previous Blu-ray editions a discount of some kind.

I’m pleased to report today that this is exactly what Paramount has done.

The 4-disc Star Trek: The Compendium Blu-ray box set will include the original 2-disc Star Trek (2009) Blu-ray, with all of the great special edition extras that were on that original release, along with a new 2-disc Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray special edition. The first disc of the Star Trek Into Darkness SE includes the IMAX version of the film (in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with select IMAX scenes included in 1.78:1), plus the “enhanced” audio commentary (with director J.J. Abrams, VFX supervisor Roger Guyett, co-producer Tommy Harper, composer Michael Giacchino, editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, D.P. Dan Mindel and second unit D.P. Bruce McCleary, producer Bryan Burk and writer/producer Damon Lindelof) that was previously available only via iTunes. Then you get an entire Blu-ray of extras, including all 7 featurettes that were on regular SKUs of the Blu-ray (including Creating the Red Planet, Attack on Starfleet, The Klingon Home World, The Enemy of My Enemy, Ship to Ship, Brawl by the Bay, and Continuing the Mission), all 6 of the Target-exclusive featurettes (including The Voyage Begins... Again, Rebuilding the Enterprise, Vengeance Is Coming, Mr. Spock and Mr. Spock, Kirk and Spock, and Visual Affection) and the film’s trailers, plus all 6 Best Buy/Cinema Now-exclusive featurettes (including Down with the Ship, National Ignition Facility: Home of the Core, Safety First, Unlocking the Cut, The Sound of Music and FX, and Aliens Encountered). So that’s everything that was available previously but scattered around to different retailers. On top of that, you also get all-new deleted scenes, an all-new Gag Reel, and 2 completely new featurettes (Fitting the Future, which looks at the film’s costumes, and Property of Starfleet, which examines the film’s props). You also get UltraViolet digital copies of both films. Note that Paramount is working to set up a rebate offer for those who purchased the original Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray, the details of which will follow soon.

For the record, the standard 2.35:1 theatrical edition and 3D versions of Star Trek Into Darkness are not included in this set, but many of you probably already have those and they’re still available on Blu-ray separately at a significantly reduced price (the BD3D Combo is just $14 on Amazon right now, while the 2D Blu-ray is just $12). A few of you are probably thinking: “Well… I already own Star Trek (2009) on Blu-ray and I don’t want to buy it again.” Which we certainly appreciate. The Compendium may not be the perfect solution for every single fan, but then no solution is likely to be perfect for every single fan. It wouldn’t surprise us if – in a year or so – Paramount doesn’t break up this set and sell the new Star Trek Into Darkness discs separately. We don’t know that for certain, so don’t swear by it, but that’s usually how this kind of thing works.

At any rate, for those of you who want true special editions of both films in a single affordable package, this is it. Keep in mind, Amazon will probably have it for 30% off at least and there will almost certainly be great sales on The Compendium over Black Friday and through the holidays. Here’s a closer look at the packaging (NOTE: Amazon pre-orders are NOW ON by clicking on the cover art)

Star Trek: The Compendium (4-disc Blu-ray)

For those of you wondering what makes the IMAX version different, here’s a comparison of four scenes in IMAX (top) and theatrical versions (bottom). As you can see, you actually get more image via the IMAX…

Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX frame

Star Trek Into Darkness "Scope" frame

Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX frame

Star Trek Into Darkness "Scope" frame

Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX frame

Star Trek Into Darkness "Scope" frame

Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX frame

Star Trek Into Darkness "Scope" frame

And here’s the full text of Paramount’s press release for this title…

DIRECTOR J.J. ABRAMS’ PHENOMENAL BLOCKBUSTERS ARRIVE IN THE ULTIMATE BLU-RAY SET SEPTEMBER 9, 2014

STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM

Both Feature Films — Including the IMAX Version of Star Trek Into Darkness — Plus Previously Released Bonus Material and Additional Never-Before-Seen Footage Debut in Four-Disc Set

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Director J.J. Abrams’ global sensations Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness set a course for the ultimate home entertainment package in STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM, arriving September 9, 2014 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The set includes four Blu-ray Discs with both films in sparkling high definition and the IMAX version of Star Trek Into Darkness, Digital HD copies of both films, plus previously released bonus material, including the Star Trek Into Darkness director’s commentary. STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM also boasts never-before-released footage from Star Trek Into Darkness including a gag reel and new behind-the-scenes featurettes. This comprehensive four-disc set will be offered for the suggested retail price of $39.99.

The STAR TREK Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The four-disc set includes access to a Digital HD copy of each film, as well as the following:

Disc 1

  • Star Trek in high definition
  • Commentary by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci

Disc 2

  • To Boldly Go — Taking on the world’s most beloved science fiction franchise was no small mission. Director J.J. Abrams, writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof, and executive producer Bryan Burk talk about the many challenges they faced and their strategy for success.
  • Branching Pods:
    • The Shatner Conundrum
    • Red Shirt Guy
    • The Green Girl
    • Trekker Alert!
  • Casting — The producers knew their greatest task was finding the right cast to reprise these epic roles. The cast, for their part, talk about the experience of trying to capture the essence of these mythic characters. The piece concludes with a moving tribute to Leonard Nimoy.
  • A New Vision — J.J. Abrams’ vision was not only to create a Star Trek that was a bigger, more action-packed spectacle, but also to make the spectacle feel real. Every aspect of production—from unique locations to the use of classic Hollywood camera tricks—was guided by this overall objective.
  • Branching Pods:
    • Savage Pressure
  • Starships — Abrams and production designer Scott Chambliss were careful to pay tribute to the design of the original Enterprise, but they also wanted to make it futuristic and cool for a modern audience. This chapter focuses on the unique stories behind the creation of the film’s starships.
  • Branching Pods:
    • Warp Explained
    • Paint Job
    • Bridge Construction Accelerated
    • The Captain’s Chair
    • Button Acting 101
    • Narada Construction Accelerated
    • Shuttle Shuffle
  • Aliens — Designers Neville Page and Joel Harlow talk about the hurdles they faced creating new alien species, recreating the Romulans and Vulcans, and designing the terrifying creatures on Delta Vega for the new Star Trek.
  • Branching Pods:
    • The Alien Paradox
    • Big-Eyed Girl
    • Big Bro Quinto
    • Klingons
    • Drakoulias Anatomy 101
  • Planets — From the frozen landscape of Delta Vega to the desert plains of Vulcan, Scott Chambliss and the art department had a number of radically different planets to create. Abrams’ desire to shoot on real locations whenever possible led the production team to a number of strange and surprising locations.
  • Branching Pods:
    • Extra Business
    • Confidentiality
  • Props and Costumes — Property master Russell Bobbitt had the unique challenge of designing props that were both true to the original series and pertinent to today’s technology. Likewise, costume designer Michael Kaplan talks about how he designed costumes that paid homage to what came before yet were relevant and timeless.
  • Branching Pods:
    • Klingon Wardrobe
  • Ben Burtt and the Sounds of Star Trek — When famed sound designer Ben Burtt was hired to create sounds for the first Star Wars film, he took his inspiration from the original Star Trek series. Burtt jumped at the opportunity to pay tribute to the sounds that sparked his career with the sounds he created for the new Star Trek.
  • Score — As a fan of the original series, composer Michael Giacchino embraced the challenge of creating new music for Star Trek while preserving the spirit of Alexander Courage’s celebrated theme.
  • Gene Roddenberry’s Vision — J.J. Abrams, Leonard Nimoy, previous Star Trek writers and producers, and scientific consultant Carolyn Porco describe and commend the optimistic and enduring vision of Gene Roddenberry.
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
  • Starfleet Vessel Simulator — Explore extensive data on the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Romulan ship, the Narada. Submerse yourself in breathtaking 360° views and close-ups and review detailed tech information.
  • Gag Reel
  • Trailers

Disc 3

  • Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX Version in high definition
  • Enhanced Commentary

Disc 4

  • The Voyage Begins… Again — Go behind-the-scenes as filming begins on the next Star Trek adventure.
  • Creating the Red Planet — Experience the creation of a never-before-seen alien world, as featured in the action-packed opening sequence of the film.
  • Introducing the Villain
  • Rebuilding the Enterprise — See the design and construction of a bigger, interconnected Enterprise set.
  • National Ignition Facility: Home of the Core — Location shooting at the National Ignition Facility.
  • Attack on Starfleet — Go behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers and witness the creation of the shocking attack on Starfleet Headquarters.
  • Aliens Encountered — The design and application of alien makeup.
  • The Klingon Home World — Discover the stunning world of Kronos, and see how the filmmakers reinvented the Klingons for a new generation.
  • The Enemy of My Enemy — Find out how, and why, the identity of the film’s true villain was kept a mystery to the very end.
  • Vengeance is Coming — A comprehensive look at the design and production surrounding the black ship.
  • Ship to Ship — An in-depth and thrilling look at the filming of the iconic space jump sequence, which both defied the laws of physics and pushed the limits of visual effects.
  • Mr. Spock and Mr. Spock — Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo appearance and reflects on his history with Trek.
  • Down with the Ship — Discover the stunt & VFX work involved to make the Enterprise roll over.
  • Kirk and Spock — Explore the dynamic relationship between the film’s heroes.
  • Brawl by the Bay — Sit in with Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch as they revisit their intense preparation for the film’s breathtaking climax.
  • Continuing the Mission — An inspiring look at the partnership between the film’s crew and the organization that assists returning veterans to find meaningful ways to contribute on the home front.
  • Unlocking the Cut — A discussion with the film editors about their monumental task.
  • The Sounds of Music (and FX) — A discussion with film composer Michael Giacchino and sound designer Ben Burtt.
  • Visual Affection — A comprehensive look at the creation and implementation of visual effects.
  • Safety First — A prank pulled on the cast.
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • NEW! Deleted Scenes
  • NEW! Gag Reel
  • NEW! Fitting the Future — A look at the film’s out-of-this-world costumes.
  • NEW! Property of Starfleet — Sourcing and tracking the film’s myriad props.

The STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM Blu-ray set available for purchase includes Digital Versions of both films that can be accessed through UltraViolet, a new way to collect, access and enjoy movies. With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them — reliably and securely — to a variety of devices.

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All right, that’s it for now. Not bad for one day.

Again, hats off to Paramount for acknowledging the mistake with their previous Blu-ray release, for listening to the criticisms, and for taking real steps to make things right. That’s rare in the home video business these days and we certainly appreciate it.

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

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