Tuesday’s a big day for DVD releases – several things are coming out, including the previously reviewed MacGyver Season 2, tomorrow’s review of [sfs=532]Stargate Atlantis – Rising[/sfs], and more – see the store fo the full details. Also out Tuesday, the special edition of [sfs=208]Star Trek: Insurrection[/sfs], reviewed here, which leaves Nemesis as the lone movie to not get a Special Edition treatment.
This is my first opportunity to review a Special Edition of any Star Trek movies – I already have all of the originals either on VHS or DVD – and I might even have one on Laserdisc. So I’m not sure what makes each one necessarily special – I know some early ones include some reconstituted scenes and updated effects and such.
What makes this one special? Well, as far as the main feature goes, not much – its the same movie, although it does include a “text” commentary from Denise and Michael Okuda, which I first saw on some episodes in Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1. This provides a way to get information about the production, yet still hear the movie, although the pop-up boxes do obscure some of the screen. So its a toss up – lose some audio, or lose some video. I think I prefer these text commentaries personally. This one did repeat at least one bit of information I noticed – it referenced the “duck blind” concept appearing before in the TNG episode “Who Watches the Watchers”, including its consequences.
The rest of the “Special” is the extras, now on a completely separate second disc. It’s chock full of video features – it took me several hours to go through them all. Various behind the scenes features, including the location shooting (and very beautiful locations too), set design (the Ba’ku village was the single biggest set for any Trek movie), effects, and even features encompassing all of the Treks like “Star Trek’s Beautiful Women”, perhaps the most interesting feature (and not just because I’m a guy).
Also included are a storyboard and photo gallery, and deleted scenes. One is an extended scene with Riker and Troi in the ship’s library, showing more interaction (and flirting) between them while watched over by a stereotypical librarian, and even Max Grodenchik (Rom from Deep Space Nine) in a cameo as a Trill. The scene also explains a bit more about the Son’a’s predicament, which was probably deleted to be more of a surprise later, although I don’t think it would have hurt.
Also hidden on this disc are some easter eggs. I found three. All reveal short video segments – one is with Marina Sirtis talking about the food spread; a second shows Tom Morello from “Rage Against the Machine” in costume as a Son’a; and the third is Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis joking about the plot of the movie. I’ll leave it to you to find them.
Plot/Story: In general, a good story, not too heavy a dependence on action vs. character. However, I can’t help the feeling that too much is borrowed from other stories, such as the “duck blind” (and it being revealed), a renegade Data, etc. 3/5
Characters/Acting: Generally good all around. A little corniness regarding Troi and Riker, but not over the top. I generally didn’t notice too much of the “over the top” performances I’ve seen in previous features/episodes. Perhaps the worst was the “British Tar” signing, but even that was acceptable. 3/5
Effects/Visuals: The locations are spectacular – most Trek features have little if any location shooting. This one featured extensive shooting on location in beautiful locations such as the Mammoth Lakes, Lake Sherwood, and Thousand Oaks, with a very extensive Ba’ku village set. They even did night shooting, which is difficult and expensive, but well worth the results. 5/5
DVD Extras: A decent set of extras providing a lot of insight and various views on the production. 3/5
Overall: I think it as a good effort with the TNG cast within the Trek universe, yet broke away from the antiseptic Enterprise environment. 4/5
Total: 3.6 out of 5 – and excellent score. Probably the best overall of the three pure-TNG movies.