Star Trek: The Motion Picture is about to boldly go where it’s never gone before: through a massive restoration.
Robert Wise’s “Director’s Edition” of the 1979 original Star Trek film will soon be “prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack,” according to the official Star Trek website. The whole process will reportedly take between six to eight months and will then debut exclusively on Paramount+, which has basically become the home for most things Star Trek these days. Now, in an ideal world, the film’s director would oversee something like this. However, Wise—who won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars twice for The Sound of Music and West Side Story—passed away in 2005 at the age of 91. In his place, Paramount has tapped producer David C. Fein, restoration supervisor Mike Matessino, and visual effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman, who all worked with the Hollywood legend.
Preserving a film of this cultural importance and making it crisp and clear for a modern cinema experience feels long overdue, despite the fact it’s one of the more polarizing entries in the entire Star Trek franchise. “The Motion Picture’s existence is paradoxical,” wrote our own James Whitbrook on the occasion of the film’s 40th anniversary. “It’s both an important moment to be remembered, and a movie so cosmically overwrought and forgettable that to contemplate seeing it again in the dark environment of a movie theater once more is to challenge your eyelids to an existential test of endurance.” While some Trek fans may not share this opinion, there’s no doubt things changed drastically with the films after Wise’s entry and the enduring legacy of the original film is more of the spark than the full fire.
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