Director J.J. Abrams successfully revived Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi universe through a pair of blockbuster films. They arrive for the together in the Blu-ray set Star Trek: The Compendium (Paramount Home Entertainment, Rated: PG-13, $44.99).
Within a four-disk collection, a new generation of Trekkers can sit down and appreciate high-definition versions of “Star Trek” and “Star Trek Into Darkness” along with plenty of bonus features.
It’s worth noting that the 2009 film “Star Trek” offered a near-prefect origins story exploring the early years of the core characters of the original series and the steadily forming bond between James Tiberius Kirk and Mr. Spock.
The actors were brilliant throughout as they constructed younger versions of the legends including Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quito in a chilling tribute to Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock, Simon Pegg as the irascible engineer Scottie, Zoe Saldana as a tough as nails Nyota Uhuru and Karl Urban as the anecdotal hemorrhaging Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy.
Better yet, classic Trek permeates throughout the 127-minute effort nestled between some massive action scenes involving a time-warping, ferocious Romulan adversary.
Viewers can relish actor Leonard Nimoy playing the mysterious Spock Prime, learn how Kirk actually beat Starfleet Academy’s Kobayashi Maru impossible scenario test (set up by Mr. Spock no less) and find out more about the history of Capt. Christopher Pike, the fiery first captain of USS Enterprise (NCC-1701).
Even deeper, they get a wink from Mr. Abrams and his writers with “Trek” inside jokes such as watching Kirk almost get caught by Cadet Uhuru with Orion female Cadet Gaila (remember the green-skinned slave girl from the 1960 TV series?), or you can already guess what happens to red-suited crew member as he enters a hostile situation on another planet with Kirk and Sulu. It’s not pretty.
For the second film, Mr. Abrams let the writers get a bit too clever as they crossed the line between a potentially unimaginative rehash and committing some sacrilege within the “Star Trek” canon.
It’s worth noting that owners get the Imax version of “Star Trek Into Darkness” meaning about 30 minutes of footage that fills wide-screen televisions with no black bars displayed.
And that’s a good thing since the movie featured some massive battle scenes starring the Federation and Kirk’s legendary adversary.
Despite my uneasiness with the second film, “Star Trek: The Compendium” delivers a pair of highly entertaining blockbusters, exploding on high-definition screens, Both instilled new life in one of the greatest pop-culture franchise in the history of the entertainment medium
Now the one downside here is we are getting a third “Star Trek” film in 2016, making this compendium not really a complete “compendium.”
Also folks who bought the films separately on Blu-ray definitely got shortchanged on some extra features that were spread out over numerous versions of the original “Star Trek Into Darkness” release. Paramount is throwing them a bone by offering a $5 rebate by simply filling out a form with some UPC codes and including a Compendium receipt.