Directors Cut of Star Trek: TMP 4K in 2022

Fascinating! Well, unless someone is winding me up with some elaborate geek scam (and I’ll be honest, it does feel a bit like a ‘pinch-me’ moment), this is a turn-up indeed, and one surely worthy of Spock’s raised eyebrows. Paramount have announced that a 4K restoration of Robert Wise’s 2001 Directors Cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is indeed coming after all. This is after the recent news of a set of the first four Star Trek films on 4K UHD being released this September as part of the franchises’ 55th Anniversary celebrations, the inclusion of the theatrical cut-only of ST:TMP seemingly shutting the door on the Directors Cut ever appearing in HD or UHD.

It transpires that a full restoration (i.e. rebuild) of the Directors Cut., originally created only in SD format back in the days of DVD, has been greenlit for a premiere on the Paramount+ network in 2022. Apparently the work hasn’t begun yet, and it is assessed that it will take between six to eight months to complete: on board  for the project are producer David C. Fein, restoration supervisor Mike Matessino, and visual effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman, all of whom worked previously with director Robert Wise preparing the original 2001 re-cut of his 1979 feature. So, a mid-late 2022 premiere over in the States followed by a disc release over here and in other international territories. Feels a lot like what happened with HBO Max financing Zack Snyder’s Justice League: maybe streaming is not the Great Evil after all –  it certainly seems good for SOMETHING. 

Anyway, if done right – and I certainly have faith with Matessino involved- this will be great indeed. I still watch my Blu-ray of ST:TMP from time to time and while its fine (oddly one of those films that seems to improve with age, for all its numerous faults) I always wish I could sometimes turn to Wise’s revised cut. Heck, with advances in CGI this could actually be a vast improvement over the 2001 edition (lets see those artists fully match their CGI Enterprise with the film’s gorgeous original model photography). So you know, the long wait looks like it has been worth it. 

9 thoughts on “Directors Cut of Star Trek: TMP 4K in 2022

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    This is good news, though I’m less excited about the directors cut than most.

    I rewatched it last year, and while it’s fine and it’s nice to see a few FX holes patched up, it doesn’t really replace the theatrical cut in any significant way for me. The pacing still slows to a crawl for the film’s last thirty minutes, and I have no problem with the length of the V’ger flyover shots etc in the original edit. And then there’s the matter of the original needing to be preserved – at least it hasn’t gone the way of Star Wars. Still – hats off to Paramount for providing the choice. I’ll buy it!

    However, the 4K box set is the real prize for me. The fact that it’s just the first four movies is absolutely perfect: I’ll never watch Final Frontier again, and I’ve cooled dramatically on Undiscovered Country since it came out – it feels way too self-congratulatory now, and a little like glossy fan fiction. Happy enough just to have the blu-ray of that one.

    And we now have all the Trumbull Eye Candy Classics in 4K! Wonderful!

    1. If I had the option, I’d much prefer to buy just ST:TMP in 4K. I don’t think I own WOK on Blu-ray (its on DVD somewhere, I think) and haven’t bought the others since my old VHS boxset. I used to love Search For Spock but have cooled on that over the years (maybe I watched it too often in the VHS days, I used to know the dialogue verbatim) and as for that Voyage Home abomination- I can’t deal with the music, its horrible I have a lasting repulsion to that guys music since that Bakshi LOTR cartoon and every film he scored just.. its such hard work for me even watching them, and its impossible to enjoy them.

      Which raises a quandary- so far I’ve resisted the Indiana Jones boxset because of the cost (waiting for a drop in a few months, I’m in no rush) and they have priced the Star Trek 4K box the same because, yeah, four films etc. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how good the restoration of TMP is -it sorely needs one, even the Blu-ray is marred by print damage (I suppose the opticals may have to wait for the DC restoration to be fixed properly, but I’d hope they’d have a pass at this edition too). If TMP looks gorgeous then I’ll bite whatever the price, and see WOK as a welcome diversion but ST IV would be my most expensive coaster yet. And THAT in 4K in my house when The Abyss etc are still AWOL. Mind boggles.

      1. Matthew McKinnon

        Ah, I think I’m more keen on the ST movies than you are then. I was never especially into the TV series but the movies are part of my growing up, especially I – III. Search for Spock actually marks the end of childhood for me – it came out as I turned 13 and almost as if by magic my interest changed dramatically. I almost stopped going to the movies, as I began spending my money on music, going out, girls, that sort of thing. I never saw IV or V in a cinema, staggeringly, so I must have been really busy and distracted with adolescence, considering what big part of childhood the first three were. And it was also, symbolically, the last film the big Art Deco ABC cinema in my town – the one I saw countless SF and fantasy films from the period in – played before it closed its doors forever.

        I think WoK is over-rated but still an excellent film, if that makes sense? At my time of life, as well, the themes of friendship and ageing and death are especially well-handled. I’m still very fond of III, I have to say. It’s not great by any means but historically it’s very underrated, and has really good things to offer: Shatner is still great, it has actual stakes, the effects are excellent, there are exciting set-pieces, and THAT SCORE!

        I actually like the first section of TVH, it’s actually not bad SF, the alien ship is genuinely alien. But as soon as the ‘comedy’ begins, I’m out. Even having been to San Francisco a couple of times and loving the locations doesn’t help – it’s dated still-com comedy. It’s possible I’ll never watch it again.

        So there’s three winners in the box for me. I’m sold.

        That Indiana Jones box… yeah. I bought it at that exorbitant price, but I think it was a] because I’d just got an amazing 4K TV at last, and b] because I happened to catch the intro to Raiders on TV a week or so beforehand and was marvelling at how wonderful the photography was. I have a feeling when the individual releases come out I’ll buy the first two and get rid of the box set – I’ve never had any interest in III or IV.

      2. So how does Raiders look in 4K? Pretty good? I actually really enjoyed Temple of Doom last time I watched that, I imagine that should look good with its vibrant colour scheme.

        I agree WOK is very good with how it depicts the characters getting old, it adds a sense of welcome reality, of added meaning. One of the things that annoyed me in hindsight re: Search For Spock is that the destruction of the Enterprise should have had weight, should have meant something, and bringing it back at the end of the next film felt a) too much of a reset and b) ruined the sense of sacrifice whenever I re-watched Search for Spock; I just felt one of the characters may as well have muttered “oh well, they’ll build another”.

  2. Matthew McKinnon

    Oh, I don’t know – the loss of the Enterprise isn’t glossed over. They do stop to eulogise it for a moment. And waiting until the end of the following film some three years or so later to bring out the replacement felt like a decent mourning period. If, as they teased, they’d gone with the Excelsior as a replacement, that would have felt cheap – setting up a new ship before the old one was gone.

    Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I went into III completely spoiler-free, and I FREAKED OUT when the Enterprise died. That shot of the saucer going up still elicits an ‘aw, no!’

    I haven’t watched or even looked at Raiders yet; I bought a lot of 4K discs over the last few years, so there’s a fair bit of catching up to do and I’m trying to avoid skimming through them to see what they look like.

    I’m as fond of ToD as I am of Raiders. It’s a sillier looser film, but I like the contrast and I like the fact that it does something different. I seriously dislike Crusade because it felt like a photocopy of Raiders. Give me glorious eccentricity with serious film-making chops any day.

    1. I’m not sure what to make of the 4K captures; detail seems to take a knock (esp. those Enterprise shots) and I don’t understand why they are messing with the colour timing- I can understand the latter with the Directors Cut matching new effects etc but not with the theatrical presentation; at its worst it looks like the 4K may be something in between that leaves nobody happy. Surely if we’re getting a ‘proper’ DC late next year, the point of this edition is to capture how the 1979 release looked, except perhaps some clean-up of dirty opticals (there is dirt on the Enterprise leaving Drydock sequence on the Blu-ray that is shameful). I’m having second thoughts regards my pre-order mind until someone clarifies what Paramount has done.

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