Way back in 2001, Star Trek fans were delighted to receive a director’s cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with enhanced visual effects, on DVD. For a film that director Robert Wise originally felt was rushed to theatres — and definitely had incomplete visual effects — the remasters version of the movie was a godsend. Now, more than 20 years later, Trek fans can rejoice again, because the director’s cut is finally making its way to 4K Ultra HD — and that’s not all.
That includes the aforementioned visual effects, which have been recreated in 4K thanks to producer David C. Fein, preservationist Mike Matessino, and returning visual effects supervisor Daren Dochterman, who assembled a team of special effects experts to comb through the Paramount archives for the task. It took more than six months to assemble (or reassemble, I guess), but the result is the best-looking version of the first Star Trek movie ever.
What’s especially cool is that this new version of the Director’s Cut will include deleted scenes from the movie that were once thought lost forever. “There’s a deleted scene that we wanted to have back 20 years ago,” Fein told StarTrek.com. “This was Ilia and Scotty and Decker in engineering. We found some of the footage 20 years ago, but there was no audio, so there was really no point in showing the scene. But it’s three or four scenes that people have wanted to see forever. So we re-transferred that footage… and we found out that [director] Bob [Wise] looped the dialogue for the scene. Now that scene’s going to be included in the physical media release and others, because he looped a few. And we found other key scenes that are just fantastic.”
Fans who subscribe to the Paramount+ streaming service will have the first chance to check out this enhanced version, as the remasters movie will premiere there on April 5, less than a month away, in celebration of Star Trek’s “First Contact Day.” Not a subscriber? Luckily, the film will also be returning to theatres on May 22 and May 25, with assistance from Fathom Events. Can’t make it to a theatre either? Well, you’ll be able to purchase the movie in Blu-ray form in September, with a host of extras that are yet to be announced.
Director’s Cut or no, Star Trek: The Motion Pictures has its issues — the biggest one being it’s basically a rehash of the TV episode “The Changeling,” just starring a sentient version of a 20th-century Voyager space probe — but the movie revitalized the franchise so thoroughly that it led to The Next Generation and the umpteen Trek TV series currently airing now. It’s worth a rewatch, and if you’re going to do so, this is clearly the version you need to be watching.