Background on the film
The original release date of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” was on a tight schedule and what debuted in theaters in 1979 had many rough edges, most noticeably some essentially unfinished FX and a rough sound mix. Several important scenes were cut for time to accommodate often languid cutting for those scenes where effects were completed at the last minute.
The Director’s Edition of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” premiered in 2001. It was conceived of by its producers, Daren R. Dochterman, Michael Matessino and David C. Fein, who were longtime Star Trek fans and collaborators with the film’s director, Robert Wise.
Robert Wise described the new cut in the liner notes of the original DVD: “Thanks once again to Paramount’s support, we have been able to complete the film as “The Director’s Edition.” In addition to finding a new, and I feel, proper editorial balance for the film, we have also completed those effects shots and scenes which we had to abort in 1979, and have given the film a proper final sound mix. It has been an opportunity which I never believed would happen, and one for which I am grateful beyond words.”
The 2001 version was completed in SD, with new effect work by Foundation Imaging. Robert Wise closely supervised the film’s cutting, while letting the producers more freely tweak the film’s effects. While the 2001 effects cut in fairly successfully with the SD transfer of the film, the fact that it had not been budgeted for an HD master in 2001 limited it to a DVD release. After years of lobbying Paramount, the DE’s producers successfully got a greenlight to recreate the edit in HD/4K, working from the most recent 4K remaster of the film that Paramount completed in 2021. Robert Wise passed away in 2005, so this version of the DE was supervised by the producers who kept very close to the 2001 edit, but continued to freely tweak the film’s FX. Given their respect for Wise, it’s clear they feel these additional changes are within their remit: working from what Wise originally oversaw in 2001.
I strongly feel that the Director’s Edition of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” is the best version, giving it a necessary final editing pass and finished sound mix. However, the PQ on the 2022 DE is unfortunately quite inconsistent: most noticeably much of the film has been subjected to ugly, aggressive digital noise reduction. The new effects work is also very inconsistent, more understandably so considering their (lack of) resources, but some of it shouldn’t have been released as is if they couldn’t improve on what they had.
My fanedit syncs all the live action footage from the theatrical 4K master to the DE, eliminating as much obtrusive DNR as possible as well as the often revisionist and wonky color grading used for the DE. It also uses the new effects when needed, but prefers the original theatrical unaltered effects when I felt they were already fully realized. (This is a guideline that is not always strictly followed, both out of necessity as well as personal preference: for example I prefer, and have used, the new matte work on Vulcan). Further work (color-grading, further edits, added grain) has been done to hopefully meld this all together as best it can be. If you are familiar with my old effort to bring the 2001 edit to HD, this follows a similar philosophy.
This edit was completed in 1080p SDR as I do not have the ability to grade or monitor in HDR or 4K.
I worked from these sources:
2021 Theatrical Blu-ray (4K remaster).
2022 “Special Longer Version” UHD (the same 4K master, which I tone-mapped to SDR and matched its brightness with the 2021 Blu-ray).
2022 Director’s Edition Blu-ray
The theatrical/SLV master has generally nice quality live action footage, while the DE’s live action footage is often aggressively de-noised and features a very revisionist and awkward color grade (frequent use/abuse of power windows and such). The effects footage for both masters is very problematic. The theatrical master often uses a filter that smears all the frames of a shot together, which ruins detail for fast motion, while the DE uses a more traditional, though no less aggressive, temporal noise reduction method combined with sharpening. This often has less fine detail overall but retains detail much better on motion. I tend to prefer the theatrical master for slow-moving model shots as it often looks more natural, while using the DE for fast-moving shots and composite shots with live-action (which are often extremely smeary on the theatrical master). However, this is far from consistent, and many shots do not offer a good option and leave you picking the least bad option or compositing the shots together in various ways to try and minimize the flaws of each source.
Sample Frames and Release Details
Linked below is a general overview of the picture quality as well as some of my changes compared with the DE. This does not cover many of the changes made: nearly every shot is different from the DE, since most of the live action footage has been swapped out for the theatrical master with the special effects reviewed on a per-shot basis. I have also made further adjustments to many, many shots.
Sample frames: https://imgur.com/a/Cq8hwwu
Video: 1080p MKV - 30 GB
Both the video and audio are BD-compliant if you want to remux this for a Blu-ray. This edit runs in sync with the 2022 Director’s Edition and you can mux in any audio or subtitles that sync to it. Please support the official release and purchase the official blu-ray or UHD.
- TrueHD 8ch / Atmos Track [eng]
- Dolby AC3 6ch / Compatibility Track [eng]
- Dolby AC3 stereo / Commentary with David C. Fein, Michael Matessino and Daren R. Dochterman [eng]
- Dolby AC3 stereo / Commentary with Robert Wise, Stephen Collins, Jerry Goldsmith, Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra [eng]
- Dolby AC3 stereo / Isolated Score
- Forced Alien Subtitles - Theatrical “Translation” / These follow the original 1979 subtitles for alien languages with the original typeface. The DE had edited this in an attempt to further obscure that the actors were originally speaking English on set, but I’ve always found it to be too awkward.
- Forced Alien Subtitles - DE “Translation” / Direct from the DE Blu-ray
- English Subtitles
- SDH English Subtitles
- Commentary with David C. Fein, Michael Matessino and Daren R. Dochterman
- Commentary with Robert Wise, Stephen Collins, Jerry Goldsmith, Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra
- Text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda
Also included are an array of subtitles in multiple languages from the official release of the DE.
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