Star Trek: Into Darkness, the second adventure in J.J. Abrams rebooted Star Trek franchise, is out on Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday…is the Blu-ray worth it? I’d say a conditional Yes. What may be a deciding factor is how much you like special features.
First, some of the technical details…I will talk about the film later for those who would still like to avoid the “big spoiler” that is probably widely known across the interwebs by now…
The Blu-ray version of the movie comes on a single disc, with the 3D version on another disc, and both come with the feature alone on separate DVD…there is no additional special features disc included. The feature is in full 1080p, with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track (no DTS-HD track), as well as Dolby 5.1 English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, plus English Audio Description. It is also captioned in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
The feature looks amazing on Blu-ray…and that is very important to this film, because the visuals are top notch, and there are a LOT of them. Spectacular scenes abound. The audio quality is good, although when listening just through my TV set was a little unbalanced volume-wise. At times the audio had to be turned way up to hear dialog, but then blasted the ears during fight scenes. I think this may be fairly typical however of most Blu-rays through my TV system, however, but I’m still on the search for a new HD-capable receiver.
The special features are quite limited. Where usually there would be alternate audio tracks with commentary, deleted scenes, etc. there are none. The only extras included on the Blu-ray are six short making-of featurettes:
Creating the Red Planet (8:28) – Creating the planet of Nibiru and filming the volcano scene
Attack on Starfleet (5:25) – Filming the “chopper” assassination scene
The Klingon Home World (7:30) – Not just the filming of the scene, but the design of the Klingons
The Enemy of My Enemy (7:03) – The Enterprise crew meets Benedict Cumberbatch, and his presence
Ship to Ship (6:03) – The CGI-intense scene flying between ships and debris
Brawl by the Bay (5:44) – Filming the Big Brawl in the skies, as well as surrounding scenes
The lack of extras are a bit disappointing. I hear though that different vendors may be supplying different supplemental material, however. I don’t have much in the way of details on this.
As for the feature itself…stop reading if you don’t want to be spoiled…
…you have been warned…
Overall, the storyline was decent and moved fairly well. In this alternate universe story line (let’s call it the “Trek-2” universe), the events of the first movie has caused an aggressive search of nearby space that didn’t originally happen, so the “5 year mission” has not yet occurred. However, things that would have been there still were there, and a few were encountered…leading to a completely different sequence of events that lead up to the events of this movie – and the ultimate encounter with Khan.
What was rather confusing was Khan’s motives for what he was doing. He switched from foe to ally and back fairly quickly, but I never understood the reasons. And although Benedict Cumberbatch can certainly play an imposing villain who really does give the sense that he really is better, “in every way,” I just thought something wasn’t right about him as Kahn. I probably, as a personal preference, wanted someone a little more foreign.
As mentioned, the visuals were pretty spectacular. However, a number of them seemed superfluous. Abrams seems to like set designs more for the scene than for making sense. In the first movie, it was the “factory” engineering set (which is quite different in this movie) and Niro’s video game platformer ship. In this, it is the impracticality of the ship-to-ship scene (way to much debris to just swish around and not slice them to bits), and the long, long, LONG Airlock Corridor of No Purpose. There is some explanation of that set in the extras, however. Made for a cool scene though.
Oh, and one movie since Scotty “discovers” the transwarp beaming formula, and we’re beaming from Earth to Kronos already?!? So why doesn’t everyone have an emergency transporter button? “Falling to your death? Press your TransAlert Emergency Transport button, and be safely transported to the nearest soft bed…”
And I hope they don’t keep dipping into the “Spock Prime” well.
Ok, enough snarky-Doc…
Anyways, I really liked the movie just for fun. I know plenty who refuse to let their minds play in Abrams Trek-2 universe, but I certainly don’t mind it and feel that it can be kept completely separate from the “prime” continuity, allowing for some retelling of the story with a “what if” flavor. I’d still prefer original stories – but can this be argued as an original story but playing with established characters and to some degree established canon?