Star Trek - Motion Picture Trilogy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Three films from The Original Series
run starting with... the second film? Sadly, I only have the DVD
at the moment. I hope the DVD will arrive soon.
The Wrath of Khan
After the events of Space Seed from The Original Series, we see Kahn Noonien Singh living on a desolate planet. It turns out the planet he was exiled on wasn't the paradise all were expecting, and an environmental disaster turned it into a waste. He blame his situation, including the death of his wife, on James T. Kirk, and the first chance he gets, he manages to hijack a spaceship to get his revenge.
This movie is widely considered the best of The Original Series, and the best of the run until First Contact, and now Star Trek. The story is top-notch, bringing back one of the greatest villains from TV series. The story of revenge is both powerful and dramatic. The performances are uniformly impressive, and the special effects, while dated, are still great to look at.
Looking at the extras, things star with an audio commentary track with the director, Nicholas Meyer, and Manny Coto, who was a writer and producer on Enterprise. Good information, perhaps not a lot of energy, but no real dead spots. Starfleet Academy: Scisec Brief 002: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI spends three minutes discussing the fate of Ceti Alpha VI. At just three minutes, it is too short to have much replay value. Collecting Star Trek Movie Relics is longer at 11 minutes, and talks the massive amounts props in a couple collections. James Horner: Composing Genesis talks about the score for the movie for close to 10 minutes. Finally, there's a 5-minute Tribute to Ricardo Montalban.
The Search for Spock
After the events of The Wrath of Khan, which I can't go into without reaching major spoiler territory, the crew of the Enterprise must return to the Genesis planet, which has been quarantined by Starfleet. To do so, they must break several Starfleet laws, including stealing the decommissioned Enterprise in what could be its final voyage.
A lot of people talk about the Star Trek curse. How odd numbered movies tend to do poorly compared to even numbered movies. Number one and five were weak, while two, four, and six were strong. Well, the third movie, The Search for Spock, was the best of the odd numbered movies (at least until the recently released Star Trek, which is technically number 11). It is the weakest of the three movies here, but it is still a rousing story with strong acting and more than enough action and drama to carry the picture.
Extras start with an audio commentary track, this time with Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor. Starfleet Academy: Scisec Brief 003 talks about the Vulcan Katra Transfer, which is of major importance in this movie. Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame spends 17 minutes talking about the franchises place in the universe of Science Fiction. There's a 14-minute featurette on the special effects of the franchise. Finally, there's Spock: The Early Years, which talks to actor who played Spock at age 17, Stephen Manley.
The Voyage Home
The final movie in this trilogy, it follows the events of The Search for Spock, but has the crew of the Enterprise returning to Earth to find an alien probe threatening to destroy the planet unless it can hear the song of a humpback whale, which has gone extinct. So it is up to the crew to travel back in time to rescue some of these animals so they can save the future.
The future meets the present with the crew interacting with 1980s San Francisco. This was Leonard Nemoy's second stint at director, and the first time as writer, on the franchise, and it was an improvement of The Search for Spock, but not as good as The Wrath of Khan. It did, on the other hand, have the best humor in the movie franchise, which helped add a more humor element to the story.
Extras are similar to the other movies starting with an audio commentary track with writer / producer Roberto Orci and writer / executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who helped created the latest Star Trek. Starfleet Academy: Scisec Brief 004 talks about the Whale Probe. Star Trek for a Cause spends 6-minutes on the environmental themes from the movie, which is a good theme. Star Trek - Three Picture Saga talks about how these three movies were true sequels and not just individual installments, like most of the movies have been. Finally, there's Pavel Chekov's Screen Moments, which spends six minutes with Walter Koenig, who clearly loves the movie.
Star Trek - Motion Picture Trilogy is a three-disc set that is great for the more causal fans of the show. However, if you can grab the Blu-ray, I would instead grab the Original Motion Picture Collection, which includes six movies and a bonus disc.