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Star Trek Into Darkness - 4K

Paramount // PG-13 // June 14, 2016 // Region 0
List Price: $47.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted June 28, 2016 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

While not perfect, director J. J. Abrams reboot movie Star Trek
(2009) was undeniably entertaining. In 2013 he released the second
in the new series, Star Trek Into Darkness, which like the
first was flawed but still a lot of fun. Both have now been released
on 4K BR (you can read my review of the first movie href="">here)
and they both really look and sound amazing.

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A year or so after the events in the first film, James T. Kirk
(Chris Pine) is captain of the starship Enterprise and the ship is
still crewed by the familiar names including Spock (Zach Quinto),
his sort-of girlfriend Uhura (Zoe Saldana), the medical officer
Bones (Karl Urban), the chief engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), and the
bridge staff including Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin).
Kirk is still a brash young upstart, and when he breaks Starfleet
regulations to save Spock's life, he ends up nearly getting kicked
out of the fleet. He doesn't instead he just loses his command, and
is demoted to being first officer on the Enterprise under Admiral
Pike (Bruce Greenwood).

Things take a turn for the worse when a Starfleet Archive is blown
up by an ex-Starfleet officer, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Fleet Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) calls a meeting of Starfleet
captains and their first officers to hatch a plan to track down
Harrison, when the man attacks the meeting and kills Pike along with
several other officers and then teleports to the one place where No
Starfleet ship can go: the Klingon Homeworld. Marcus reinstates Kirk
to the Enterprises helm and allows him to go after Harrison. The
Admiral does give him some strict orders however: the Enterprise is
to go to the edge of the Klingon Neutral Zone and fire newly
developed stealth torpedoes to kill Harrison and then skedaddle back
to Earth. Of course things aren't quite what they seem, and Kirk was
never really good at following orders.

This is a movie that does have some problems, from the twist in the
plot (that a surprising number of reviewers revealed, but that I
won't) which is only a surprise if you know the original series, to
the fact that many of the crew have little more than glorified
cameos, to the silly plot points that are hard to swallow
(communicators working across a many light year span (and with no
delay!), someone waltzing into a top secret military base with no
planning and not getting caught, and teleporters that only work when
the plot demands it ('If you can't beam him up, why don't you beam
me down!') and the list goes on.

Having said that, this movie is a lot of fun if you can hold back
your desire to pick apart the plot. It starts with an Indiana
Jones-style flight from savage natives, goes to an adventure inside
an active volcano that's about to explode, and we get to see the
Enterprise emerge from an ocean... and that's just in the first ten
minutes. The film is filled with spectacle and some really beautiful
space scenes, and that's all supported by a plot that is strong
enough to allow viewers a good time. If you go in expecting to have
a good time, you will.

The Ultra HD Disc:

This release comes with both a 4K Ultra HD disc and two Blu-rays
discs in a single-width keepcase. Unfortunately, the 3D version is
not included. Since the majority of 4K displays (as well as the only
4K BR player that has been released so far) support the format, it's
a little disappointing that the 3D version isn't included too.


A majority of the movie was filmed on 35mm but some sequences were
captured on 65mm IMAX cameras. The result was scanned at 2K and that
file was then upscaled to 4K for this release. The movie shifts
aspect ratios between 2.39:1 and 1.78:1 as it was originally
intended to do (the IMAX shots are in the latter aspect ratio). The
images was then enhanced with HDR and the resulting picture looks
really good, with the IMAX portions looking astounding, even though
they went through a 2K intermediate. The colors are bright and
accurate, with the red trees and white-skinning natives of the
opening sequence really popping nicely. The level of detail is also
very good. For example the streams of 'smoke' that the Enterprise
leaves behind when it shoots off at warp speed have texture and fine
detail that really looks great. You can definitely add this disc to
the pile that you head to when you want to show off your system. (I
can only imagine what it would have looked like if the whole thing
was mastered in 4K.)


The film arrives with a Dolby Atmos track (which plays as a Dolby
TrueHD track if you don't have an Atmos setup like yours truly),
and like the 4K release of the earlier film, the results are very
impressive. They really went to a lot of trouble to fill the room
with directional sound. This is not like the big action scenes that
immersed the viewer in audio that seemed to come from everywhere,
something that first impressed me when DVD was a new technology
(though there is some of that). This mix is more refined. Sounds are
emitted from all corners of the room, with beeps from computers
coming from behind the viewer while the scene is on the bridge and
phasor blasts panning from one corner to the other. It's quite
impressive and a lot of fun to listen to. Needless to say there are
not audio defects that my ears could detect. A very impressive mix
that accents the picture wonderfully.


The only extra on the 4K disc is a 2-minute PSA, The Mission
. The first BR disc includes an 'enhanced commentary
track.' I actually liked this; it's a different way to do a
commentary. Different sequences of the film are discussed by various
members of the production. They can stop the action to point out
something in the frame, draw on the screen, or even rewind the
action to give viewers a better look at something. It's pretty neat.

The second BR disc is filled with bonus material. As is the tendency
nowadays, instead of having a making-of feature that lasts between
30-60 minutes, they break up the information into a dozen short
featurettes. I really prefer the longer format, but I'm happy that
they're still taking the time and effort to make supplemental
material. The featurettes are:

The Voyage Begins...Again - 2 min

Creating the Red Planet - 8 min

Introducing the Villain - 2 min

Rebuilding the Enterprise - 6 min

National Ignition Facility: Home of the Core - 5 min

Attack on Starfleet - 5 min

Aliens Encountered - 7 min . The Klingon Home World - 8 min

The Enemy of my Enemy - 8 min

Vengeance is Coming - 5 min

Mr. Spock and Mr. Spock - 4 min

Down with the Ship - 6 min

Kirk and Spock - 6 min

Brawl by the Bay - 6 min

Fitting the Future - 5 min

Property of Starfleet - 5 min

Unlocking the Cut - 5 min

Visual Affection - 9 min

The Sound of Music (and FX) - 6 min

Safety First - 3 min

Continuing the Mission - 2 min

Gag Reel - 6 min

Deleted Scenes - 6 min

Theatrical Trailers

Final Thoughts:

There have been several 4K releases that really show off the latest
technology, and this is one of them. The scenes filmed with 65mm
IMAX cameras look amazing and really show off a system. The movie
itself is good, but not great, but fans of the reboot will be happy
to add this to their 4K disc shelf. A strong Recommended rating.

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