Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray Disc September 10th, 2013

Posted in Blu-ray, Commentary, Paramount on September 9th, 2013 by Dave

Star Trek Into Darkness

Tomorrow sees the Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D release for one of the summer’s hottest movies, Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount Home Entertainment.

This is the second film in the Star Trek movie series reboot for the new millennium and is the twelfth Star Trek movie.

Into Darkness takes place one year after Star Trek, where Star Fleet is suddenly under attack from former Starfleet member John Harrison.

Star Trek Into Darkness the Movie

Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Screen Shot

The film opens on the planet Nibiru, where the Enterprise has been sent to study the development of primitive cultures.

Captain Kirk and Spock have devised a plan to save the planet’s inhabitants from a huge volcanic eruption.

When plan begins to unravel and Spock’s life is endangered, Kirk violates the Prime Directive to rescue him, revealing the existance of the Enterprise to the primitive peoples.

Kirk loses command of the Enterprise as a result of his actions and blames Spock for giving a truthful report of events.

Admiral Pike is reinstated as the commanding officer on board.

However when Starfleet is attacked repeatedly by former agent John Harrison, no effort is spared to find him.

When it is discovered that Harrison escaped by transporting to Kronos, the Klingon homeworld, Admiral Marcus reinstates Kirk as the Enterprise’s captain with orders to kill Harrison.

Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Screen Shot

The plan is to bombard the planet with prototype photon torpedoes, and Scotty resigns in protest when his request to inspect the weapons is denied.

While their orders are clear, things take a strange turn when Kirk decides to to capture Harrison instead of simply wiping him out.

Star Trek Into Darkness is the second of the new century Star Trek reboot films, and the series’ popularity continues.

This new version of the movies has reset the effective history of Star Trek, and as such the film makers have a lot of room to play.

That said they decided to do a new twist on an existing story-line, which no doubt delighted some fans and irritated others.

I for one loved the twist and am now eager to go back and watch the original again!

If you don’t know and don’t want to know which story it is, avoid the spoilers in the extras!

Whether you think of these new Star Trek movies as great science fiction or just action movies with recognizable characters set in space, the movies are certainly a lot of fun to watch.

Don’t expect the laws of physics or probability to be even close to obeyed in this film, but do enjoy the implausible ride!

The cast includes Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch and Anton Yelchin.

Star Trek Into Darkness was directed by J.J. Abrams, who was behind TV shows like Lost and movies including the ‘first’ Star TrekSuper 8, and Mission: Impossible III.

Reviews for the movie were excellent, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 87% and an IMDb score of 8/10.

Star Trek Into Darkness had a great run in the cinema, reaching $228.8M at the US box office, and close to the same in international markets.

Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray Disc

Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Screen Shot

The video on the disc is an AVC 1080p encode at 26.5 Mbps, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1.

The movie was shot partly on IMAX format film, and looks great!

While the standard Hollywood ‘peach and teal’ colours and incessant lens flaring are a bit much for some, overall you are going to really love this Blu-ray transfer.

Find full resolution PNG screen captures taken directly from the disc at the details page for Star Trek Into Darkness.

The main audio is lossless Dolby True HD with 7.1 channels – 24 bits resolution at 48 kHz.

This is another film that is a 7.1 downmix from Dolby Atmos, and if the 7.1 is any indication, this would have been an amazing film to catch in Atmos.

Crossing my fingers that we will eventually get a 4K video, Dolby Atmos sound home theater release for films like this!

The disc is a dual layer BD50, with 45.4 GB used and is coded for All Regions.

Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray Disc – The Bonus Features

The supplemental features are essentially a set of seven behind the scenes featurettes, each with a specific focus.

Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Screen Shot

Creating the Red Planet covers the creation of the alien world from the opening sequence of the film.

They discuss how they ended up practically building the greater part of set for this big opening scene.

Naturally computer generated effects were also needed.

The design and implementation of the alien characters is also covered here, as well as the fire effects used for the volcano.

The second sequence to get an in depth look is the Attack on Starfleet scene.

This sequence featured a lot of action, stunts and effects that had to come together for the final product.

Again a lot of it was done practically rather than in CGI, creating a lot for the actors to work off.

It is amazing that it can all be done safely, with such a chaotic scene and so much debris flying around!

The Klingon Home World covers the creation of Kronos and the designs for the Klingon characters.

Care was taken to ensure that while a new vision was presented, it still honours the essential characteristics of the Klingons from Star Trek lore.

The character of Khan is introduced in The Enemy of My Enemy.

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch brings new life to the character of Khan, and getting the balance just right is covered.

The other ‘bad guy’ in the movie, Admiral Marcus, is also discussed in this segment.

Ship to Ship is an in-depth look at the filming of the space jump sequence.

This was certainly one of the big special effects sequences, largely shot on wires against green screen.

The lack of practical elements make this hard on the actors and those planning the sequence.

That said there were some interesting practical stunts performed too.

Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Screen Shot

The final showdown between Spock and Khan is covered in Brawl by the Bay.

Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch revisit their preparation for and the shooting of the climactic sequence.

Continuing the Mission is a little different and looks into the partnership between the film’s crew and the organization that assists returning veterans to find meaningful ways to continue to serve their country.

There is also another public service announcement that covers the work of The Mission Continues.

While this appears to be a fairly comprehensive set of featurettes, one has to wonder if this is all there is?

The short answer is No!

It appears that there is a director’s commentary that is exclusive to iTunes, and an additional set of featurettes that can only be found at the likes of Target and Best Buy.

Certainly some fans will find it irritating to have to buy from specific retailers in order to get all of the behind the scenes materials.

This release also includes a DVD Copy for legacy players, and an UltraViolet Digital Copy code that can also be used for iTunes.

Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray – Final Thoughts

Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Screen Shot

Star Trek Into Darkness is a fun movie that is no doubt expanding the fan base for the franchise.

Paramount Home Entertainment has put together and excellent transfer for the film along with a decent set of featurettes.

The retail price is $39.99, though right now it is half off at Amazon for only $19.99.

For the Blu-ray 3D version, the retail price is $54.99, and Amazon has it for $25.99, saving 53%!

Extras:

  • Creating the Red Planet – Experience the creation of a never-before-seen alien world, as featured in the action-packed opening sequence of the film.
  • Attack on Starfleet – Go behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers and witness the creation of the shocking attack on Starfleet Headquarters.
  • The Klingon Home World – Discover the stunning world of Kronos, and see how the filmmakers reinvented the Klingons for a new generation.
  • The Enemy of My Enemy – Find out how, and why, the identity of the film’s true villain was kept a mystery to the very end.
  • Ship to Ship – An in-depth and thrilling look at the filming of the iconic space jump sequence, which both defied the laws of physics and pushed the limits of visual effects.
  • Brawl by the Bay – Sit in with Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch as they revisit their intense preparation for the film’s breathtaking climax.
  • Continuing the Mission – An inspiring look at the partnership between the film’s crew and the organization that assists returning veterans to find meaningful ways to contribute on the home front.

Synopsis:

The year’s best-rated blockbuster is nothing short of “spectacular” (Rolling Stone). When a ruthless mastermind known as Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) declares a one-man war on the Federation, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the daring crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise set out on their most explosive manhunt of all time. It will take everything in their arsenal to defend Earth and eliminate Khan’s deadly threat in J.J. Abrams’ “clever, exhilarating action adventure.” (USA Today).

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