Saturday, March 5, 2011

To Not So Boldly Go..........

There is a strange but well documented phenomena taking place at the moment when it comes to releasing older movies on Blu-ray, it would seem that after the complaints of an ignorant few ( and sorry if this offends but you are ignorant ) various studios are using excessive digital noise reduction on their films in order to remove film grain from movies often severely compromising picture quality in the process, this is nothing new and it doesn't look as though it's going to stop any time soon.

Unfortunately this has happened to the Star Trek movie franchise, with the exception of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn which for some reason actually received a proper restoration, now I have no idea why only Star Trek II received this treatment but the result were impressive, the movie looked great for a production of it's age and at times looked absolutely stunning, the detail and quality of the model work ( remember when they used models to make movies, those were the days ) was outstanding, this is an example of restoration work done right.

Recently I was ably to buy the Star Trek Movie Trilogy Boxset for cheaper than I could buy Star Trek II alone on Blu-ray so I though I'd get the boxset and see if things were as bad as I'd read.

As I'd mentioned earlier the restoration of Star Trek II was impressive, it was easily the best looking version of the movie I'd ever seen, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, wasn't too bad, there were scenes where the attempt to remove film grain did indeed compromise picture quality but as far as I could tell it was fairly minimal but the places where it did occur had me feeling a little nervous when it came to viewing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, as that was a movie that was fairly grainy in places and sure enough this movie suffered a lot more as a result of attempts at noise reduction, in places towards the end of the movie I'd go so far as to say the result was an image quality in certain scenes that was of a lower quality than the original DVD release.

I've seen some people say the movies are unwatchable and that is simply not the case but it is very disappointing and at times jarring to go from high quality visuals to sub-standard picture quality which often didn't remove the apparently offending film grain anyway.

The Star Trek II Blu-ray is well worth purchasing but I think I'd only bother with any of the other Trek films on Blu-ray if the were extremely cheap of if the powers that be realised the error of their way and commissioned the proper restoration the movies deserved in the first place.