4K ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition’ Coming to Paramount+ and Blu-ray

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Paramount The cast of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Somewhere, Star Trek: The Motion Picture director Robert Wise is smiling. Wise, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 91, was never entirely satisfied with The Motion Picture. The film was rushed into production, plagued by script issues and visual effects problems, and then dashed into theaters to make its December 6, 1979 release date. Back in 2001, Paramount Home Entertainment released Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition, a standard-definition DVD set that included, as Wise wrote in the accompanying booklet, a version of the film that offered “a proper editorial balance,” completed “effects shots and scenes we had to abort in 1979,” and “a proper final sound mix.”

And now fans will be able to enjoy the next generation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition, as Paramount Home Entertainment will release a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in September. Can’t wait that long to revisit the final frontier? The upgraded Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition will debut on Paramount+ on April 5, 2022, as part of the Star Trek franchise’s celebration of First Contact Day. Additionally, Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures have announced that the new version of The Motion Picture will run in theaters as part of a two-day event on May 22 and May 25. Tickets will be available at FathomEvents.com starting on Friday, April 8. In the meantime, a trailer has just been released.

According to a Paramount Home Entertainment press release, the 4K Ultra HD version of The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition has been restored by producer David C. Fein and preservationist Mike Matessino, both of whom worked with Wise on the initial Director’s Edition. Specifically, “the film has been prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and a new powerful and immersive Dolby Atmos soundtrack.” Fein and Matessino also teamed up with returning VFX supervisor Daren Dochterman and other tech wizards who worked on the initial Director’s Edition and spent half a year recreating the effects and even adding a few surprise elements. Paramount Home Entertainment also teased that the upcoming Ultra HD Disc and Digital releases of The Motion Picture will be accompanied by “extensive” new and legacy bonus content.

The Importance of ‘TMP’

Many younger Star Trek fans, who’ve possibly gotten on board through Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Lower Decks, or Star Trek: Prodigy, may not be aware of the importance of The Motion Picture. Paramount initially planned to produce a new television series reuniting the cast of The Original Series but switched to a feature film following the success of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, both released in 1977. Several directors were considered before Robert Wise got the nod. The late, great filmmaker directed such classics as West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Haunting, and The Andromeda Strain, and he edited Citizen Kane, widely regarded as one of the best movies – if not the best movie – ever made.

The Motion Picture in its original form was a mixed bag. It was gorgeous to look at, with some remarkable, visually stunning sequences, and a reasonably sound sci-fi story. Plus, it was great to see William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and the old gang together again. On the other hand, the story was repetitive (echoing a TOS episode), there wasn’t much action or character development, and the very expensive movie felt long and slow at two hours and 23 minutes. Still, it performed well enough at the box office to warrant a sequel, and that follow-up, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, cost much less and wowed fans and critics alike. The TOS crew continued to make several more movies, and the franchise grew from there, with Star Trek: The Next Generation paving the way for Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, the J.J. Abrams films, Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and Prodigy, not to mention endless videogames, toys, theme park rides, and other tie-in products and projects.

Everything Comes Full-Circle

It all came full-circle in 2001 with the release of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition DVD, which, beyond its technical improvements, quickened the film’s pace and restored some important character moments that make it a more fulfilling experience. And now it’s all coming full-circle again with the Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition 4K version arriving on Paramount+, in theaters, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray.