Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a classic film among science fiction fans – and this April 5th, we’ll be celebrating a lot more than just First Contact Day. This year, the Director’s Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture will be released in absolutely stunning 4K on Paramount Plus the very same day. The original release of the Director’s Edition was in 2001, and since then it has undergone a restoration process to give fresh life to this landmark film…and its digital release is only the beginning.
Originally produced in 1979, ten years after the end of the original Star Trek, the release of the first Star Trek motion picture was the foundation of a six film series and a thirteen film franchise consisting of the continuation of the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the three film reboot that serves as the successor to the first run.
Now, the 2001 Director’s Edition has been carefully restored, struck from the original negatives, which includes the original special effects from the 65mm film in Paramount’s archives. Using the Director’s Edition as a guide, these original special effects have been upgraded and the film features a brand new Dolby Atmos sound mix.
For those unfamiliar, the plot of Star Trek: The Motion Picture features a powerful alien entity known as V’Ger approaching earth in the 23rd century, destroying everything in its path. Assuming command of the newly refitted Enterprise once again, now Admiral James T. Kirk to lead its crew, both new and old, on a mission to save Earth from V’Ger, determining its origins along the way and furthering its mission to seek new life and new civilizations in an unexpected fashion.
The restoration comes after a six month process of meticulous assembly by producer David C. Fein, film preservationist Mike Matessino, and a team of special effects experts led by Daren Dochterman. Through their expertise, hard work, and unprecedented access to the Paramount archives, the film features special effects in Ultra High Definition (UHD).
It helps that both Fein and Matessino both worked on the original Director’s Edition DVD release in 2001 alongside Robert Wise. The Director’s Edition was not just an effort to add value to the film, but to complete it. The original, rushed into theaters with many problems in both shooting and continuity that gave it mixed reviews when it opened, the Director’s Edition fixes those issues. The result improved the pacing, the quality of both story and effects, and changed the film into a far more finished product without sacrificing Wise’s original vision. Wise was said to have considered this film his “final cut.”
First Contact Day is a fannish holiday celebrated to honor both the warp 1 flight of the Phoenix and first open contact between Humans and Vulcans on April 5 th, 2063 in Bozeman, Montana.
The trailer that’s been put together for this re-release shows many of the improvements that have been made to the Director’s Edition during the restoration process, and a new key art poster has even been released for this event. However, the fun doesn’t end on First Contact Day – fans who want to see the newly restored film on the big screen can do so in select theaters on May 22nd, 23rd, and 25th via Fathom Events. Tickets go on sale April 8th for these special screenings, and this special event will be followed by the home release of the movie on 4K UHD Blu-Ray and digital some time in September.
Excited for this release? Will you be seeing this in a movie theater, or indulging strictly at home? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for release dates of the physical media and other updates, here and on our social media.
The pacing issues were so bad on initial release that fans referred to it as “Star Trek: The Motionless Picture” , “Star Trek: The Slow Motion Picture” and “The first V’Ger Length Motion Picture” in roughly equal measure. – ed.
Liz Carlie (she/her/he/him) is a regular book, TV, and film reviewer for SCIFI.radio and has previously been a guest on ‘The Event Horizon’. In addition to being an active member of the traditional fandom community, she’s also an active participant in online fan culture, pro wrestling journalism, and spreading the gospel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She resides in Southern California with her aspiring superhero dog, Junior, enjoying life one hyperfixation at a time.