December 04, 2007
| by Marshal Rosenthal
No apologies for liking Star Trek - I watched the original series as a kid, met most of the actors and still want all that cool tech. So being able to watch the first season all over again in HD is exciting - and the transfer to the screen looks about as good as you could ever hope for. The strong primary colors and the film-style lightning all stand out, as does the texture and design of the costuming and the many little details making up the sets (ever wonder if Spock got sleepy from that “hypo-eye” pattern at his console on the bridge?). Check out the lines around Kirk’s eyes or how Spock is slightly yellowish in his skin color compared to the other actors. And I’m fine with replacing some of the tacky backgrounds, fixing special effects and inserting CG for the Enterprise herself and others - sure it’s a bit disconcerting to those who want to keep things as is but you get used to it real fast. Besides it makes the characters “pop” even more, and can spend more time watching female guest stars getting the benefit of the best lighting and softest focus schemes. Just be glad there’s no attempt to “stretch” the standard TV format into wide-screen.
Audio also gets a huge leg up - from the enhancements to the opening/closing themes and creation of surround effects, be they doors opening/closing or the dramatic audio accompanying another red shirt biting the dust. The clarity of the dialogue and the music is very clean and just fits into the visuals so much better now.
Extras take advantage of what the format can do; being found attached to some of the episodes as picture-in-picture video commentaries, encyclopedia data and comparisons of the old to new remastered effects. There’s also a separate disc with CG interactive tours of Enterprise, a look at the upcoming online game and featurettes as you’d expect: one involving extra Billy Blackburn’s home movie-type footage really pulls the nostalgia strings here. But not having web-enabled additions is disappointing when you consider how it could further the ST community over the ‘Net. Still, all in all this is one really fun ride that justifies any Trek fans purchase of a HD DVD player.