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‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Motion Picture Collection (4K review)

Paramount Pictures

Star Trek: The Next Generation lights up screens like never before in the new Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection on 4K UHD for the first time.

The collection includes all four TNG movies— Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)— on 4K Ultra HD, as well as fully remastered on Blu-ray, plus all legacy bonus content and access to digital copies of each film. Each title is also available individually.

This new release presents these classic adventures with a crisp clarity unavailable previously. The visual effects and costumes appear in sharp, colorful detail not seen since the films’ big screen premieres.

The most dramatic visual improvement lies in the resolution and contrast of low-light interior scenes.

Star Trek: Nemesis, which mostly plays out in darkened starship interiors, was difficult to follow in previous releases as scenes unfolded in muddied shadows. The 4K UHD treatment adds definition and contrast to these scenes that make Nemesis in particular more visually dynamic and easier to follow.

While the 4K UHD treatment offers an unbeatable viewing experience, the movies themselves remain a mixed bag of quality more than two decades after their original theatrical release.

Generations passes the Star Trek cinematic franchise torch from the original cast to The Next Generation cast, straight off their seventh season at the time. These characters transitioned to film more fully developed both individually and as an ensemble than their TOS predecessors. Their first big screen adventure centers Captain Picard and the android Data as the central focus of this and subsequent cinematic outings but maintains the strong supporting presence of Riker, Worf, LaForge, Troi, and Dr. Crusher.

Generally considered the best of the TNG movies, and among the high points of the franchise, First Contact showcases the best parts of TNG: action, humor, and the comradery of its ensemble. Directed by series actor Jonathan Frakes, this installment was well received by critics and audiences upon release and took in $146 million at the box office. Picard and the crew travel back in time to foil a Borg plot aimed at preventing the founding of the Federation in a fast paced, satisfying adventure.

After peaking with First Contact, the franchise begins to flounder with Insurrection, in which Data uncovers a plot against a peaceful planet which causes the crew to confront a conspiracy at the highest levels of Starfleet. This entertaining outing never reaches the stakes or intensity of its predecessor, instead playing out like a big budget episode of the television series. Moreover, Insurrection fails to make full use of the ensemble, with some characters merely providing plot service. This problem becomes even more pronounced in the franchise’s next installment.

The wedding of Will Riker and Deanna Troi brings the crew together one more time in Nemesis, featuring a new foe with a familiar face and a familiar cast in uncharacteristic situations. Poorly received upon release, the film features several thrilling action sequences and stunning visuals but suffers from ill-conceived character moments and serious emotional beats that fail to fully land.

Extras are plentiful with each of the 4K discs offering multiple commentary tracks and the Blu-rays included share the same tracks, as well as a cornucopia of supplements including featurettes, deleted scenes, storyboards, trailers, galleries, interviews, and more.

The improved visual clarity of this Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-movie set makes it a solid consideration for Star Trek fans and collectors alike. But even the glossiest restoration is not enough to alter the uneven quality of the individual films. Casual viewers looking to revisit the franchise or see them for the first time would be better served by the individual releases.

 

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