DVD Review: Star Trek: The Trilogy

The Wrath of KhanIt takes a little bit of head scratching to figure out what Paramount is talking about when they refer to the Star Trek trilogy, as I’m pretty sure there are eleven films released one after the other with no proclamation of a trilogy. But when it comes down to it, there is a three-part story arc beginning with Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and that goes on to include The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home.

The Wrath of Khan, as many people would agree, is the best Star Trek movie made (and yes, that includes 2009’s film). In it, an exiled Khan uses his strength and intellect to overwhelm a Star Fleet ship, but his one weakness – the need for vengeance – is what Kirk and a crippled Enterprise takes advantage of. I’ve never been a fan of The Search for Spock, as it all seems like an endeavor just to bring the title character back from the dead with uninteresting villains, led by Christopher Lloyd of all people. Lastly, The Voyage Home, though featuring a story I would generally find cheesy, is a funny and entertaining way to round things out.

If this truly were a trilogy, The Voyage Home would have a bit more bang and a little less time travel, but if Paramount wants to call it a trilogy, then so be it. Released a little under a month ago to coincide with J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek (I was supposed to write and publish this article way back then), the DVD set – valued at Amazon.com at $19.99 – contains a few new special features, including:

  • Audio commentaries for all three movies
  • James Horner: Composing Genesis – I had never thought about the music all that much, but after watching this featurette, I have new-found respect for Horner, who really did enhance Khan with some spectacular scoring.
  • Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics – a featurette for the fan boys, this one looks at some costumes and props that a guy has collected over the years. Mildly entertaining.
  • A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban – who just died in the last year
  • Three “Starfleet Academy” training sessions – which are all stupid and a complete waste of time.
  • Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects – given how Star Trek has evolved over the years and usually functioned on a small budget, this featurette is pretty interesting.
  • Spock: The Early Years – if you want to see a child actor all grown up and reminiscing about his one brush with fame, this is unintentionally quite funny.
  • Star Trek/Sci-Fi Hall of Fame Museum – given that I live in Seattle just five minutes from the EMP, where the Sci-Fi Museum is housed, I found this one pretty interesting. The featurette really isn’t about the museum at all but actually is an interview with the writer of The Wrath of Khan, who goes on to say he doesn’t like sci-fi, thought the first movie was boring and so forth. Definitely worth watching.
  • Pavel Chekov’s Screen Moments – title says it all
  • The Three-Picture Saga – as I write this, I’m thinking I missed this featurette. Might be worth going back and checking it out.
  • Star Trek for a Cause – looks at the environmental messages the filmmakers were trying to get across.

All in all, there are some surprisingly decent special features to be found here, but for the ordinary Trek fan, who probably owns all these movies anyway, the value-add is minimal. The DVD set does boast digitally remastered picture and sound, but I don’t know how much of a difference that really makes.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases
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