Where I Watched it: Paramount Plus
English Audio Description: Yes
Admittedly, I noticed this because Paramount reminded me it was leaving the service at the end of August, and I’m a little backlogged. So, this particular edition may no longer be on Paramount Plus, despite it being the unofficial home of everything Star Trek. Are you aware there are currently FIVE Star Trek series producing episodes? Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds, Lower Decks, and Prodigy.
Anyway, the only OG Star Trek film I’v actually seen is The Undiscovered Country before they passed it along to the Next Generation cast. So, this was a nice way for me to see what all the fuss was about. And a directors edition to boot!
Despite the age of the film, and me only being occasionally interested in Star Trek product, i found the first film in this franchise to be just alright. Granted, I went with this director’s edition, which has the distinction of having some of the worst audio I’ve heard in quite some time. There was no attempt made at preserving or restoring what I assume was added back in through this director’s cut. often, these rereleases focus heavily on the visual aspects, and leave the audio tracks alone. This shows a lot,a as some scenes have degraded to the point that it sounded at times like microphones weren’t present, and they just recorded in an ambient nature. Sort of like choral mics, for anyone who has ever dealt with live sound. I also have a background in theatre, mostly musical theatre, and there are some earlier recorded cast albums where the sound quality is similar to this, where perhaps the lead character has a microphone, but no one else does, and it sounds like the other characters are shouting their dialogue from another room.
So before I can even get to the story or acting, I’m already distracted by the audio track. And not the audio description, which was fine, in spite of the fact that it sounded much better than the actual audio track. And, that sound is also inconsistent. There are plenty of scenes where the audio is just fine for a film from this period, it’s just what was likely added back in, feels so badly degraded that even if those scenes could have strengthened the film, their quality is so poor it would be better to leave them out until Paramount can figure out how to fix that.
Perhaps that’s why this was leaving the service.
But, seeing Star Trek at its very beginning, with Kirk coming in, and growing into the Captain we know and love, was an interesting adventure. I’m not totally sure this is the best Starr Trek film, though I’m also sure fans won’t fight me on that. It seems like Wrath Of Khan or Search For Spock seem to be the ones I’m really supposed to pay attention to.
But, if you’re like me, blind and wanting to celebrate the life and performances of Nichelle Nichols, then you could do worse.
Final Grade: B