Monday, August 12, 2002

Normally, I'd be up late on a Sunday night, but tonight I'm really tired. I went to bed around 4:30 AM this morning, after staying up late watching Star Trek II on DVD, then Superman on the Sci-fi Channel. Even after I went to bed, the cats kept me awake for a while longer, and then I was up again by 11. So now I feel about ready to collapse. But I did want to post the following review of the STII DVD. I e-mailed this to a bunch of friends, some of whom may not be aware of this blog. If you've already read this in an e-mail, you can go do something else, but please stop by again. There will be new, original content here soon.

I just finished watching the best ST movie on DVD, and let me tell you: you all must buy this set, even if you don't own a DVD player yet. Build one yourself, borrow a friend's, steal one from your neighbor, watch the movie, and enjoy. The greatest movie in the ST series looks fantastic on the screen, sounds outstanding (every utterance from Khan and Kirk is clear and ready for you to recite along with the actors, as I did many times), and there are several scenes restored to the original movie print that flesh out some plot details and enhance the story. (Scenes like the dialogue between Kirk and Scotty's nephew, the young engineer who dies after Khan's first attack on the Enterprise. Some of these scenes appeared when the movie aired on TV in the 1980s, and they're integrated here.) There's also audio commentary from the director (haven't listened to it yet) and a bunch of interviews and effects features on the 2nd disc. Some old interviews from 1982 (great pinstripe suit on Leonard Nimoy) and some new (lots of inside info on how the film came together), plus a 30-minute geek-fest interview with two ST authors that's uneven but entertaining.

But the best feature on the disc, and one that I want in all my DVDs, is the text commentary running at the bottom. Michael Okuda, author of the ST Encyclopedia, provides what is best described as "pop-up Star Trek." He discusses the set construction and dressing, the way footage from ST:The Motion Picture was reused to cut costs, tells you where the director's cut scenes are re-inserted, makes jokes about plot holes, and generally gives insight into how the movie was made and what makes it so good. It's cute at times but never annoying, and can be enjoyed without disrupting the movie too much. It helps that I've seen this movie so many times that I was able to read the comments without missing any action. But the best part is that since the comments are silent, you can still listen to the movie. To my annoyance, I noticed that this feature is also on my 2-disc DVD of ST:TMP, and I didn't use it when I watched that movie last winter. Now I've got a reason to kill 2+ hours watching that one again. Which leads me to end with ...


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