[22 September 2009]
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)
Continuing the journey to the final frontier, “Star Trek: The Next Generation Movie Collection” (Paramount, $69.99) and “Star Trek — The Original Series: Season Two” (Paramount, 1967-68, $118.99), top this week’s list of new titles arriving on the Blu-ray high definition format.
“The Next Generation” set includes all four movies starring the cast of the first spin-off series from the original “Star Trek.” The time is the 24th century, several decades after Captain Kirk and company explored the stars, and a new Enterprise is carrying out more missions under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart).
The series premiered in 1987 and ran seven full seasons; it was followed by the four films in this collection. They include:
“Generations” (1994): Malcom McDowell plays Dr. Torian Solan, who wants to destroy the Enterprise and millions of other people. Capt. Picard is out to stop him and he gets help from an unlikely source — Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner), who supposedly has been dead 78 years.
“First Contact” (1996): Picard and crew take off after the Borg through time in hopes of stopping them from doing something that could affect the entire future of space exploration. Directed by Jonathan Frakes, who plays Commander Riker.
“Insurrection” (1998): Some members of the Starfleet as well as alien races attempt to take over a “magical” planet whose peaceful inhabitants live long and prosper. Picard and his crew are determined to protect the planet and its people. Directed by Frakes.
“Nemesis” (2002): Picard and his ship go to the planet Romulus on a peace mission, only to learn the Romulans are planning an attack on Earth.
This Star Trek movie collection is highly recommended.
As they did with the first season, CBS and Paramount have done another terrific job of bringing “Star Trek — The Original Series: Season Two” to Blu-ray. Again, the richness of the colors and the sharp detail are stunning.
The sound has been converted to 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio while the original mono has been retained. Fans have a choice of watching each episode with the outstanding new enhanced special effects or seeing them with original effects. Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest of the crew are back on board.
All 26 second-season episodes are included on the seven-disc set. One disc is devoted entirely to “The Trouble with Tribbles,” those cute and fuzzy but extremely dangerous little creatures. The disc includes the series episode as well as “More Tribbles, More Troubles” from “Star Trek: The Animated Series” and “Trials and Tribble-ations” from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Among the other notable episodes are “Who Mourns for Adonais?,” “The Doomsday Machine,” “Catspaw,” “The Deadly Years,” “Return to Tomorrow” and “Assignment Earth.”
Each episode is presented the way it was meant it be seen in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Highly recommended.
Other new Blu-ray titles:
“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season Two” (Warner, 2008-09, $79.98): The spinoff from “The Terminator” films continues with 22 episodes on this six-disc set. Mother and warrior Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) continues to try to help her 16-year-old son John (Thomas Dekker) stay out of harm’s way as the machines continue their search for him. If they find him, it could change the whole future for all humankind. This is a well-done sc-fi series that, unfortunately, has been canceled. Recommended.
“Observe and Report” (Warner, 2009, $35.99): In this comedy, Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) takes his job seriously as head of security at Forest Ridge Mall. He also dreams of being a real cop someday and fantasizes about his dream girl, Brandi (Anna Faris). Didn’t Kevin James just make a movie (“Mall Cop”) like this?
“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” (New Line, 2009, $35.99): With the shadow of Charles Dickens hovering over this film, carefree Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) has a problem taking true romance seriously. Then, thanks to his deceased Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), he is visited by the ghosts of girlfriends past, present and future who help change his mind. Jennifer Garner co-stars.
“Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins” (Warner, 2009, $35.99): At last! Here is the story of how the Mystery Inc. gang first came together. Robbie Amell plays Fred, Kate Melton is Daphne, Hayley Kiyoko is Velma and Nick Palatas is Shaggy. Frank Welker provides the voice of Scooby-Doo.
“Hot Fuzz” (Universal, 2007, $26.98): In this highly enjoyable British comedy, deadly serious cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is transferred to a small town where he hooks up with new partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), who is about as smart as a piece of wood. The film pokes fun at just about every genre, from slasher movies to macho action films. Recommended.
“Adam Resurrected” (Image, 2008, $35.98): Jeff Goldblum stars as Adam Stein, a great Jewish comedian in Berlin prior to World War II. Although he survived a concentration camp, he could not save his family. Flash forward to 1961 when he is a patient at a special mental hospital built for Holocaust survivors. Hard to take at times but Goldblum turns in a fine effort.
“Shaun of the Dead” (Universal, 2005, $29.98): Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star in this British spoof of about every zombie flick you can think of.