Here’s some major news for all the Star Trek fans out there, myself included. Ten years after the cancellation of The Original Series, the very first Star Trek movie debuted in theaters. STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE reunited the original cast of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, and James Doohan for an adventure that found the U.S.S. Enterprise seeking to save Earth from a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud known as V’Ger. However, director Robert Wise always considered the film to be a rough cut that he was forced to abandon in order to meet the release date, but decades later, Wise was able to oversee a well-received director’s cut that was much closer to his original vision.
It’s been twenty years since since the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture Director’s Edition on DVD, and although the theatrical cut of the film made the leap to Blu-ray, the director’s cut wasn’t available because the new visual effects had been rendered in standard definition. Getting the film up to HD shape would have required going back to the drawing board and redoing many of the effects, which costs a hell of a lot more than a simple remastering. Fans have been begging for the film to receive a proper restoration for years, and it seems that day has finally arrived. Paramount Pictures have announced that an official 4K remaster of the director’s cut has been greenlit.
“The restoration will be undertaken by producer David C. Fein, restoration supervisor Mike Matessino, and visual effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman, all of whom worked previously with director Robert Wise,” reads the press-release. “The film will be prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision™ high dynamic range (HDR) and a new Dolby Atmos® soundtrack. The restoration is expected to take 6-8 months and will launch with an exclusive window on Paramount+.” While the Paramount+ debut means that fans will have to wait a little bit longer to actually hold a 4K copy of the film in their hands, it is finally coming.
Speaking of Star Trek on 4K, it seems that the first four films of the franchise — Star Trek: The Motion Picture (theatrical cut), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home — will be released on 4K Ultra HD this September. Paramount haven’t officially confirmed this release just yet, but leaks have suggested that subsequent sets will follow with the remainder of the films. If I was a betting man, I would put money on a larger 4K box-set with all the films (including the director’s cut of The Motion Picture) being released sometime next year.