In fact, as far as the special features are concerned, I compared each movie's special features to the previous ultimate collection of films (here it is on Amazon), and with a few exceptions, anything found on these older DVDs (released in 2005), was present on this new collection, plus some. Along with added documentaries for each movie, there are also a few Blu-ray exclusives to be had. Each disc features a BD Live-based IQ test focused on that movie (with some pretty tough questions at times) as well as a pop-up menu HUD-style trivia feature for each menu. This feature, called the Library Computer, gives notes divided into sections like Culture, Science & Medicine, Life Forms, People, Technology and Planets & Locations. As an item of note becomes available, the list of things to read about on the right side of the screen gets a new icon, and you simply have to navigate to it in order to read the blurb. I will talk about the added special features for each movie as I talk about the movie itself, and afterwards, I will discuss the bonus, seventh disc in this collection, "The Captain's Summit." But first, the Star Trek movies.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) takes place several years after The Original Series ends and the Enterprise is just about done being refitted and upgraded. Kirk (William Shatner) has been promoted to Admiral, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Bones (DeForest Kelley) have left Starfleet and the crew of the Enterprise has a few new faces. These faces include Captain Decker (Stephen Collins) and Lt. Llia (Persis Khambatta). But when a strange alien ship appears to be on a collision course with Earth with the intent to destroy everything in its path, Kirk sees this opportunity to get back into the captain's chair and gets permission to take control of the new Enterprise. Decker is demoted to Commander (much to his chagrin), and Bones and Spock eventually rejoin the crew all before they encounter the strange being known as V'ger.
Returning with the three big names are Lt. Cmdr. Sulu (George Takei), Cmdr. Scotty (James Doohan), Lt. Checkov (Walter Koenig), Lt Cmdr. Uhura (Nichelle Nicholes) and Dr. Chapel (Majel Barrett Roddenberry). A careful observer will notice a few rounds of promotions in the lot including, but not limited to Nurse Chapel's new M.D. title. And as far as movies go, I've always felt that The Motion Picture is one of the weakest of the Star Trek movies, but as an attempt for Paramount to answer Star Wars, it did a fair job and succeeded in getting the franchise restarted (something that the next three movies solidified). These points are mentioned several times in this movie's specials features which covers everything from the many incarnations of this movie plot, to the failed second TV series, to bringing some of the Star Trek fans back together that were in the briefing scene early in this film.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982) not only has Ricardo Montalban reprising his role as one of the most memorable bad-guys in the Star Trek franchise, but it also kicks off the three movies that are interdependent and have been known as an accidental trilogy (especially since no one was sure if there would be a third film while wrapping up the second). Here, the genetically advanced humans that Kirk and the crew encountered in the first season of their show reappear and successfully take over another Starfleet ship. This ship's goal is to search out viable planets for a process called Genesis, that can turn a lifeless moon or rock into a habitable space. Kahn, of course, sees this new process as the ultimate weapon and does whatever he can to get his hands on it. Meanwhile, Kirk finds out that someone is trying to take Genesis, so he and the Enterprise crew head off to the science station to find out why his old flame, Dr. Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch) and her son, Dr. David Marcus (Meritt Butrick) think he trying to steal Genesis. These events collide into one of the most memorable space-battles in the franchise, as well as Kirk's classic "Kaaaaaahn" yell. But before Kahn is stopped and the ship is saved, one of their numbers will be lost, Spock.
Special features for this movie include a tribute to Montalban, a long featurette about collecting props from the shows and movies, tons of interviews as well as a featurette about the visual effects of Wrath of Kahn. There is a lot here, both old and new.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) shows that dead isn't always dead in this universe. As The Wrath of Kahn ended, Spock laid down his life to make sure the ship was out of danger, but before he did, he apparently performed a little known Vulcan technique that stores his soul and mind in another person, McCoy. Now they just need a body. Interestingly enough, when the Enterprise crew shot his coffin at the newly created Genesis planet, it safely landed there and has apparently started regenerating Spock's body. At least, that's what David and Saavik (who was played by Kirstie Alley in the previous movie and Robin Curtis in this one) discover when cataloging the new life on Genesis. So, even though Genesis is quarantined and completely forbidden, Kirk and his main crew get together, steal the Enterprise (despite the damage it received while fighting Kahn) and fly off to find Spock's body and reunite him with his Katra. Of course, the group will not only have to deal with the new planet's self-destructive properties, but also a band of Klingons hellbent on taking Genesis for themselves. Funnily enough, this ship of Klingons is led by Commander Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), and the crew will have to make a few more sacrifices in order to get out of this bind alive. This time, it will cost them the Enterprise itself. But that's okay, they get a Klingon Bird of Prey out of the deal.
Star Trek III's special features include a featurette about Industrial Light & Magic's work on these movies and how much effort went into each visual effect, as well as information about both Klingons and Vulcans (both races are prominently featured in this film). One of the new features I enjoyed was the interview with Stephen Manley (Spock, Age 17). His interview talks about everything from getting the part to being able to Pon Farr with Curtis' character on screen -- something not seen to this extent before. Other features of note talk about terraforming, the ship models and costume design.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) rounds out this three-movie arc with the crew trying to return home (with a Spock who is mostly whole mind and body) to face their eminent court marshal (they did disobey orders and steal a Starfleet ship, after all). But on their way home, Earth is attacked by a strange probe that is sending out signals no one can understand. After some analysis, Spock realizes it is the song of humpback whales and that apparently this probe is trying to communicate to them. Too bad they have been extinct for many years. So the crew, in their Bird of Prey, slingshot themselves around the sun, go back to San Francisco in the 1980's to find a pair of whales and take them back with them. For the most part, this movie just feels like a nice, long time-travel episode from the show. The crew try to accomplish their goal while not messing with the past too much. It has always been counted as one of my favorite of the movies (and not just because it was the first one I was able to see in theaters either). In their attempts to find these whales, Kirk and Spock meet up with a biologist named Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks). This movie is noticeably lighter than the previous films, and there is a good bit of humor added in, especially when Chekov and Uhura try and find out where they can find nuclear materials to fix their ship. But this movie also has a serious side as it constantly tells viewers how hunting whales is bad and we need to save the environment.
In fact, one of the special features for this film is about just that. "Star Trek for a Cause" talks with Greenpeace about the message this movie is putting forth. There is also a featurette about the three-movie saga in general and one that interviews Koenig about Checkov and the many great scenes he had in this film. Other features from previous releases include making-of's, information about Vulcans, the language of whales and original interviews with Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley, all of it really good.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) goes in a slightly different direction as a strange Vulcan who is apparently very in-touch with his emotions, Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), seems to have the ability to brainwash people and get them to follow his cause. When he gains control over the Enterprise (newly rebuilt as the NCC 1701-A and captained by the demoted Kirk), he starts piloting it towards the center of the galaxy where no ship is known to survive. He claims his goal is to find God, for he has been given a vision that he and whatever ship he brings will survive the journey. This film brings up quite a few interesting subjects. Besides the obvious topics concerning creation and what God is, it also focuses a lot on personal pain and it's necessity, since revealing and relinquishing that pain is how Sybok gains control over people.
The special features for Final Frontier features the late Doohan's star being added to the Walk of Fame (mere months before his death), NASA talking about Star Trek's influence, a tribute to Herman Zimmerman, deleted scenes and the standard fare of making-of featurettes.
The last film in this collection, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), goes a long way to setting up the universe for how it is when Star Trek: The Next Generation kicked off a few years before Final Frontier's release. The biggest of these are the peace-talks between the Klingon Empire and the Federation of Planets. When an explosion of a Klingon moon causes serious atmospheric damage to the Klingon home world, the warrior race is forced to sue for peace. Negotiations are started and Kirk's crew is asked to escort Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) to the summit. Surprising to all, two torpedoes appear to launch from the Enterprise and two Starfleet personnel beam aboard the Klingon ship and assassinate the Chancellor. Because of Kirk's prejudices towards the race, he is arrested by the Klingons and put on trial for the assassination, or at least for being behind it even if he didn't pull the trigger itself. While Kirk and McCoy try to stay alive on a frozen prison planet, Spock and the rest of the crew investigate exactly what happened and who committed the murder. This movie's main antagonist is the Klingon General Chang (Christopher Plummer), a formidable foe who knows his Shakespeare and spouts off line after line in order to make his point.
In fact, one of the special features for this movie talks about the acting troupe who translated Hamlet into Klingon and the work that went into making the stage production. This featurette includes a snippet from the play, Hamlet's soliloquy (with subtitles, of course).
The final disc contains "The Captain's Summit," which I found really exciting and interesting. Appropriately hosted by Whoopi Goldberg (among other things, Guinin from Star Trek: The Next Generation), this round table discussion features Shatner, Nimoy, Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard from TNG) and Jonathan Frakes (William Riker also from TNG) talking about everything Star Trek. As is pointed out early in the round table, this is one of the few times (if ever) that all five of these people have been in the same room together at the same time. Nimoy and Shatner tell tons of stories about blazing the trails of Star Trek, while Stewart and Frakes talk a lot about what it was like to carry the torch. A few shocking revelations come about like Shatner confessing to Stewart (who have apparently become good friends over the years) that he has never watched a full episode of The Next Generation, and even being shocked that they filmed 178 episodes before they moved to the movies. A lot of discussion also go into just how Nimoy became the director for The Search for Spock, and when it was decided to make the second, third and fourth movies a trilogy. This hour+ long feature is just great for any Star Trek fan, especially when they talk about how to approach these stars without annoying them too much (apparently money is the best option). This seventh disc really rounds out the boxed-set nicely and like I said earlier, the only thing that could have really made this collection better is if it contained all 10 movies and not just the ones focusing on the original crew. Either way, it is definitely worth the purchase for any Trekkie who has a Blu-ray player. Heck, depending on how much of a fan you are, this boxed set, combined with The Original Series: Season One that was just released, might be enough to warrant the purchase of a Blu-ray player.