Blu-ray Review: ‘Star Trek: The Compendium’ Provides Victory Lap for Revitalized Franchise

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection. Even better, it’s a good choice for any “Star Wars” fans looking to feel a new hope about the choice of Abrams for the highly-anticipated “Episode VII” installment. Blu-ray rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

In just two films, Abrams and his filmmaking crew have successfully revitalized the “Star Trek” brand to the multiplex mainstream, adding a new edge to the previous elements that were in the “Star Trek” niche. The progression has certainly been gradual. In my book, the 2009 film “Star Trek” is a fun popcorn movie that pushes some expectations, but has a flat villain (Eric Bana’s Nero), and a more straightforward take on Luke Skywalker’s ascent.

What is more special is “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the 2013 sequel that cemented the series and showed that there is room for “Star Trek” in the busy blockbuster calendar, and that we would be missing out on some impressive sci-fi action without it. This film also has better twists as well, not just regarding you-know-who, but the drama for its characters, and their intertwining arcs. While “Star Trek Into Darkness” didn’t make me fall in love with the series, it provided me with a feeling that is fair within the busy world of Hollywood movies - that of comfort as to where this series could go, and that I’d be actively curious to check them out.

Nonetheless, aside from watching “The Empire Strikes Back” for a zillionth time, a great way to gear up for Abrams’ approach to “Star Wars: Episode VII” is to check out the special features in this lean yet loaded set. Worries about the usage of digital effects are assuaged especially by the revelation that much of what was achieved in “Star Trek Into Darkness” was created practically, and with incredible detail. Watching these special features I was reminded of the respect I have for Abrams as a filmmaker, and his collaborative process with such an extensive universe, even if I’m still a bit worried that “Star Wars” will look like his “Star Trek” films.

Either way, this Blu-ray set provides a nice victory lap for Abrams’ success with the franchise, a collection he could have in his own library to show off a job well done.

“Star Trek: The Compendium” was released on Blu-ray on Sep 9, 2014
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Compendium Synopsis:
This Blu-ray set features the two films from the new “Star Trek” franchise. 2009’s “Star Trek” follows the rising of a young man named Kirk (Chris Pine), as he becomes a member of Starfleet and helps battle the time-traveling tyrant Nero (Eric Bana). Its sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” elaborates on the friendship that Kirk has with fellow Starfleet member Spock (Zachary Quinto), while the two face a malevolent terrorist seeking to unleash endless destruction.

Special Features for “Star Trek”
o “Star Trek” in High Definition
o Commentary by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci
o 10 Featurettes, including 20 Branching Pods - An extensive exploration into the production of “Star Trek”
o 9 Deleted Scenes featuring Optional Commentary
o Starfleet Vessel Simulator
o Gag Reel
o 4 Trailers
o Digital Copy of “Star Trek”

Special Features for “Star Trek Into Darkness”
o “Star Trek Into Darkness” in high definition with approximately 30 minutes of scenes expanded to fill the screen
o Enhanced Commentary by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Michael Giacchino and others
o 20 Featurettes - A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Star Trek Into Darkness”
o Fitting the Future - A look at the film’s out-of-this-world costumes
o Property of Starfleet - Sourcing and tracking the film’s myriad props
o Gag Reel
o 7 Deleted Scenes
o 3 Theatrical Trailers
o Digital Copy of “Star Trek Into Darkness”

“Star Trek: The Compendium” was released on Blu-ray on Sep 9, 2014.

By Nick Allen

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