Release Date: September 9, 2014
Blu-ray Disc • 4 Discs
Video / Audio
The Compendium is a (mostly) complete set of all material produced for the two JJ Abrams Star Trek films -- and it should have been released a year ago, when Paramount was focused on things like the one-off "Meteor Edition" of Into Darkness, rather than offering fans a truly substantial home media release.
While the 2009 film was released as a comprehensive 'special edition' years ago, Trek fans were forced to purchase -- at minimum -- three separate copies of Star Trek Into Darkness if they wanted to get their hands on all the behind-the-scenes bonus material created for last year's film, much to just about everyone's dismay.
This new Compendium set does a fairly good job of rounding up all the disparate features put out in 2013, and presents them in one all-encompassing new Blu-ray release.
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The Compendium comes in a matte-finish, DigiPack-style cardboard book that doesn't offer much in the way of design past the embossed front cover. There's no interior or back-cover artwork, and the set should probably have come with at least a slipcover to protect the casing.
Additionally, this book is about 1cm taller than standard plastic Blu-ray cases, which means you'll need to account for the extra height in your storage plans.
Aside from Ultraviolet / iTunes Digital Copy codes for each movie, there's no additional physical material included with this release.
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Paramount has put together a four-disc release which pulls together all material from 2009's Star Trek three-disc special edition Blu-ray set along with the myriad features distributed across retailers for the 2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray release. Aside from the new disc artwork, the 2009 discs are completely identical to the original release -- right down to the commercial for Fringe, which has been off the air for nearly two years.
But for Star Trek Into Darkness, the Compendium set includes both the iTunes enhanced commentary -- presented here as a 'branching' playback option on disc -- and most of the elusive Into Darkness deleted scenes relegated to the XBOX Video release have been included as well, here on disc for the first time.
Check out our previous Into Darkness media reviews, covering all these features:
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The biggest addition to the Into Darkness release is the long-awaited, shifting-aspect-ratio IMAX version of the film, previously only available in 720p as an iTunes-exclusive video download. Several scenes in the film were shot with large-format IMAX cameras, which ended up being cropped to a standard 1.78:1 aspect ratio for all other media releases.
We've selected a number of examples from the approximately thirty minutes of IMAX footage included in this release; while some shots simply appear to have been cropped for the theatrical release, others are reframed to center the action within the reduced frame height.
Theatrical Version vs. IMAX Version
In addition, Paramount has also included several theatrical trailers, two new featurettes, and a full-length gag reel not available on any previously-released Blu-ray release -- perhaps an attempt to sweeten the purchase a bit more for fans debating whether or not this new release is one to add to their collections.
Fitting the Future (5:03)
This new feature focuses on costume designer Michael Kaplan's work dressing the principle and extras cast for the second outing of the rebooted Enterprise.
Much of the focus is aimed at the difficult creation of the color-coded Starfleet wetsuits seen at the beginning of the film, but time is also given to the new spacesuits worn by Khan and Kirk when they space-jump from the Enterprise, the blue-and-black uniforms of the Vengeance crew, and the various looks worn by Benedict Cumberbatch throughout the movie.
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Property of Starfleet (4:53)
Andy Siegel, the Star Trek films' prop master, leads a whirlwind tour of several Into Darkness props, including the newly-designed tricorder, Khan's portable transporter unit (inspired by a frequently-used vacuum cleaner), Spock's volcano 'ice cube' machine, Khan's giant gun used on Kronos, Klingon disruptors, and the enormous Section 31 photon torpedo device.
The cast and crew speak at length about the realism and practicality of having physical props in such a futuristic environment, and how keeping things 'grounded' allows the audience (and actors) to connect with the world of the 23rd Century.
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Gag Reel (5:48)
This lengthy blooper video covers on-set goofing around from all aspects of the shoot, from fight scene mishaps to prop malfunctions to loads of laughing, dancing, and general foolishness from just about all of the cast and crew. While somewhat standard gag reel fare, this one is without any 'set up' bloopers or practical jokes, like the "Neutron Cream" prank seen in the "Safety First" Best Buy featurette.
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Perhaps the most controversial "missing piece" to this collection is the exclusion of the 3D IMAX edition of Star Trek Into Darkness. While the 3D market may represent a small portion of overall consumer purchases, this version of the movie is one that should be available for those 3D aficionados who which to experience the most immersive version of the film possible.
There are also a few other bits still left out for unknown reasons, including:
- Two deleted scenes from the XBOX Video release:
- The "MTV First" roundtable interview series, totaling approximately 30 minutes
- Several minor behind-the-scenes clips and VFX pre-vis videos released via XBOX Video
- The six different Port of San Francisco music cues
- The Into Darkness 'B-Roll' video
- The nine-minute IMAX preview cut of the film's introduction, released with the first Hobbit film
If you haven't purchased either film on Blu-ray yet, there's no debating that Star Trek: The Compendium is the ultimate release to add to your home collection.
If you already have one of the other releases, you'll need to decide if the additional Into Darkness features (now totaling over two hours, plus the nearly three-hour commentary track) -- or the exceptional IMAX edition of the film -- is incentive enough to upgrade your existing Blu-ray set. Be sure to check out the $5 rebate program good towards the purchase of this release.
Finally, we have confirmed that The Compendium is going to be a North America-only release, at least for the foreseeable future. Like other Paramount releases, however, this is a region-free set, so international shoppers can feel free to import the Blu-ray set from either of the Amazon links below.