Follow me on Twitter for even more observations, including the other UHD masters!
The Director’s Edition (2022 Streaming)
Presenting the Star Trek: The Motion Picutre – The Director’s Edition Visual Comparison 4K v1.0! This gallery compares the 2021 master (using the Blu-ray release) of the Theatrical Edition (top) with the 2001 DVD release of the Director’s Edition (middle) with the 2022 Paramount+ streaming version (1080p SDR) of the Director’s Edition (bottom). The images are presented in Full HD, with The Director’s Edition DVD stretched in Adobe Premiere to fill the frame.
Version 1.0 is going to cover the major changes between the 2001 and 2022 versions of The Director’s Edition. Version 1.5 will be available later encompassing all of the changes I can find of the promised 1500.
Where required, I also utilize the 2009 master to compare the actual original effects that were presented theatrically, as the 2021 master attempted to fix things that should not have been fixed. I also use the 2009 streaming version to show the original theatrical alien subtitles.
The Director’s Edition (2001 DVD)
In celebration of the announcement of the 4K recreation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition, I started a side project to try to log all of the changes made for that edition when it originally was released on DVD in 2001. I have completed my comparison and you can find the link by clicking the picture below:
Now this is nowhere close to the “over 1000 visual edits” and “over 100 visual effects shots” that have been publicized by the Director’s Edition team, but these are what I could find! Just know there are a lot more even more subtle changes/fixes that I haven’t pointed out.
The 2021 “Theatrical” Version
It turned out to be extra fortuitous that I started my comparisons when I did because just over a month before the 4K release of the theatrical cut was set to come out, the new master was released on iTunes. And I immediately noticed some changes.
While the transfer is great, without the overabundance of Digital Noice Reduction (DNR) that was present on the previous transfer and much better color grading, it does have some poorly done “fixes”. As this is supposed to be a preservation of the “theatrical edition”, there is no reason for them to fix any effects, let alone such poorly done ones. They should let the original film lie and let The Director’s Edition handle the fixes as it’s supposed to be the final cut Robert Wise always wanted. There are also some errors introduced by what looks to be some kind of automated cleanup, which should be fixed as they were not present in the original.
The major “fix” is the covering of where the support arm of the Enterprise model crossed in front of the dry dock model, which were both physically filmed together. In the newest master, they have taken the first frame of the shot and pasted the covered section of the dock with this frame, without any stars moving, lights flashing, or even film grain moving. Towards the end of the shot parts of the Enterprise disappear! It looks bad, and if it was blown up and shown on a theater screen, it would look worse than the original version! Nevermind the fact that the entire shot looks soft now, as if it was rendered in the wrong resolution by whomever made the fix!
The other “fix” made is a star field has been composited behind the first 8 frame shot of the Asteroid exploding in the wormhole, replacing the stage ceiling visible in the test shot used in the original edit. Note that the star field is moving in the second shot of the explosion, so it should be assumed it should move in this one.
There’s no reason this should have been fixed in a preservation of the Theatrical cut! The Director’s Edition removed this shot completely, so “fixing” it is not what the director wanted.