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Featured Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: The Compendium

September 7th, 2014

Star Trek: The Compendium - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray Box Set

Star Trek fans are never at a loss for things to buy. The studio seems to know the fans will buy everything they put out, so they put out a lot of otherwise questionable releases. Is this one of those questionable releases? Or is there real value here?

Star Trek

The film is essentially an origin story for the original crew of the USS Enterprise and begins with the birth of James Kirk. Kirk's birth is a rocky affair, because it happens during the evacuation of the USS Kelvin, after it has a run in with a huge futuristic ship. Kirk's father sacrifices himself to allow the crew to escape, including Kirk's mother's who gives birth to Kirk during the chaos. We see Kirk grow up to be a brat of a child and eventually a douche nozzle of a young adult. One day, Kirk hits on Uhura in a bar, gets into a bar fight, and gets the snot beat out of him. Despite this, Captain Christopher Pike thinks he would make a great Starfleet officer and asks him to join.

Meanwhile, we see the young Spock grow up on Vulcan being tormented by other kids, because he is only half-Vulcan and therefore has emotions. ... except taunting him is a very emotional thing to do. Despite this, he grows up and becomes an excellent scientist and is accepted into the Vulcan Science Academy. However, those who made the decision say having a human mother was a disadvantage, so Spock rejects their offer and joins Star Fleet.

These two threads merge when Kirk tries to take the Kobayashi Maru test, for the third time. No one has ever passed this test and Kirk is determined to be the first. While taking the test, he acts like a complete douche nozzle, again, ignoring the Klingon vessels approaching his ship . Then suddenly there is a glitch in the program and Kirk easily wins. ... The administrator of the test is puzzled at what happened. Kirk clearly cheated. That's what happened, you moron. I was really looking forward to seeing what clever way the writers came up with for Kirk to cheat at the test but not make it look like he was cheating. In one of the novels, what happened was he changed the program so he could intimidate the Klingons into backing off. Kirk figured by the time he was a captain, he would have such a strong reputation that he could do this. This is a great solution, because it feeds into Kirk's ego, while it doesn't make the cheating aspect so incredibly obvious.

Kirk's cheating is discovered and he is brought up for punishment. However, before that gets anywhere, the disciplinary hearing is interrupted by the plot.

As you can probably tell, I don't like the new Kirk. I find his attitude grating and while the screenwriters obviously want him to be seen as an amazing leader, I see no evidence on the screen to back that up. I see a lot of ego there, but it is unwarranted. This is a huge problem for the movie, but sadly it isn't the only one. First of all, it's a time travel movie, sort of, and those have a tendency to get mucky really quickly. For instance, the time travel aspect destroys the main villain motivations. Spoilers ahead... In the future / alternate time line, Romulus is destroyed by a supernova. Spock tried to save the planet, but is too late. The attempt sent him and Captain Nero back into the past / into an alternate dimension. Because of this, Nero wants to kill Spock, instead of trying to help Spock stop the supernova in the future. The dumb motivation wouldn't be a problem, if the villain was able to hold our attention, but he's not. The best villains in Star Trek's decades-long run command your attention while they are on screen. Khan is a perfect example of this. You couldn't ignore Khan while he was on the screen. This is not the case here, as the villain is a plot point, not a real character. This is the third time I've seen this movie and I think it would have been better if the "villain" were a supernova or something similar. That way we could have concentrated on the crew of the Enterprise without wasting time on a villain.

The Extras

There are a ton of extras on the two discs for Star Trek, but none of them are new to this set.

Star Trek into Darkness

I previously reviewed this movie and I have nothing more to add at this moment. It does include extended IMAX sequences, but that doesn't change my overall opinion of the movie.

The Extras

There are new extras here, most notably an enhanced commentary track. I've reviewed similar tracks with Waiting... and uses a Telestrator to allow participants to pause, rewind, and write on the screen. Disc two has nearly two-dozen featurettes; however, many of them are from the previous release and the average length is between five minutes and six minutes, so they are not very in-depth. That said, the new material runs to nearly 75 minutes long, so it is not insignificant. There are also five minutes of deleted / alternative scenes.

The Verdict

The only things new to the Star Trek: The Compendium Blu-ray Box Set are some additional IMAX scenes in Star Trek into Darkness, a Telestrator commentary track, 75 minutes of featurettes, and five minutes of deleted / alternative scenes. That's not enough to justify spending $30 if you have the previous Blu-ray releases. If you don't have them, you still might want to wait for a box set with the 3D releases.

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Filed under: Video Review, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek, Bruce Greenwood, Chris Hemsworth, Ricardo Montalban, Jennifer Morrison, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana