Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection 1-6

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m mentioning a set of DVDs that every geek with an interest in Star Trek has already got in one form or another. Or even several forms, if you happen to have bought them on VHS, then DVD. Well, I’ll tell you. This set contains digitally fiddled with versions[1] of the first six Star Trek movies in the versions that were shown in cinemas, rather than the director’s cuts/special extended versions that were on previous DVDs, with new commentaries, new special features, and an allegedly exclusive extra disc featuring a round table discussion with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Whoopi Goldberg. All very nice, but if you’ve already got the movies, probably not worth the full original price of £50. However, when I ordered it, Amazon were offering it at the bargain price of £14.98, which was enough to persuade me. At the time of writing, it’s still at that price, but that could change at any time…

For the uninitiated, the movies in this set are:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

After ten years, Star Trek returned, uniting the original cast with a refurbished Enterprise in an adventure that recycled elements from at least one classic series episode, and which is often criticised for being slow and plodding. Personally, I think that over 30 years on[2], it’s still nicely watchable. And without this, there’d have been no Next Generation, no DS9, no Voyager and certainly no Enterprise.

The Wrath of Khan

The one that originated the idea that the even numbered movies were the good ones. Bringing back an adversary from the classic series, and including some rather excellent for the time space battle scenes, it’s probably most fondly remembered for Bill Shatner’s cry of Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. Good stuff, with some nicely entertaining Klingons. (What the photon? How did I imagine Klingons in this one?) Oh, and a bit of heroic self-sacrifice, which leads us on to:

The Search for Spock

Bit of a silly title, as he was exactly where they left him. Perhaps a bit messy, but with a bit more heroic sacrifice, nearly everyone gets to live happily ever after. Oh, and there’s some even more entertaining Klingons.

The Voyage Home

After the relatively heavy third movie, the fourth is played with a much lighter touch. The Enterprise crew have to travel back in time to 20th century Earth to collect some whales. Their reactions to the primitive society they find themselves in are nicely silly. Lots of fun, though there is, of course, a menacing alien probe thingy to deal with.

The Final Frontier

Oh. Dear. This fifth movie has to be the one that really established that even-good, odd-bad idea. In a story which makes very little sense, and in which a trip to the centre of the galaxy can be done in much the same time as going to the shops rather than the years that previous (and indeed subsequent) stories would suggest, an emotional Vulcan causes all manner of trouble, and quite remarkably, it’s Kirk who’s the only one whose brain appears to be working…

The Undiscovered Country

Now this one (another even numbered one, you see) is actually rather good. Peace is in danger of breaking out between the Federation and the Klingons, and Kirk and Co are assigned to a diplomatic mission which goes a bit wrong. Loads of fun, including a Shakespeare-quoting Klingon, and a fiendish conspiracy.

Lots of fun to be had, and six movies for £15 can’t be bad. Well, if they were bad movies, it would be, but these are the classic Star Trek cast having loads of fun, and should be in every geek’s collection.

[1] Not fully remastered, but cleaned up to look better on high def TVs and the like
[2] Yup. That’s a lot of years…

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