IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Monday, 09 September 2013 09:12 Written by  iamrogue
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IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

The final frontier is in your hands now.  Or, rather, the final frontier is now in your living room.

Star Trek Into Darkness, the twelfth theatrical adventure of the starship Enterprise, brings our spacefaring heroes of the Federation to high definiton Blu-ray this Tuesday, September 10th.

Gene Roddenberry's idealistic projection of the future has been a vital part of pop culture for almost half a century.  After several years in which the durable property laid fallow theatrically, 2009 brought Star Trek, a reboot in which time-travel shenanigans looped back to an origin story detailing James T. Kirk's ascension to the captain's chair of the Enterprise.  Director J.J. Abrams, along with screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, reinvigorated the franchise with added derring-do, big visuals, and action, while a temporal loophole also allowed the vast continuity to remain in place.

With this summer's Star Trek Into Darkness, Abrams and company, joined this time by Damon Lindelof as co-writer, rejigger the most famous of the Trek films, placing the rebooted young crew of the Enterprise against their most formidable villain.  This time, though, there's a conspiracy to undermine the exploratory ethos of Starfleet with a militarized galactic strike force.

Returning from a mission in which the typically cavalier Kirk disregards the Prime Directive, Kirk and Spock are swept up in the reaction to a devastating act of terrorism from within Starfleet itself.  Following orders, the crew sets out for Klingon space on a covert mission to assassinate the man responsible.  Once he actually captures the culprit, though, Kirk discovers that strange things are afoot in the Alpha Quadrant, placing his crew and his entire ship at grave risk.  In order to save his surrogate family, James Tiberius Kirk must summon the qualities of a truly great captain.

Abrams' immensely charming cast is back this time.  Chris Pine reprises his role as Kirk, with Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu, and Anton Yelchin as Chekhov, along with Bruce Greenwood as Pike.  Benedict Cumberbatch, meanwhile, joins the series as the mysterious bad guy John Harrison, with fellow newcomers Alice Eve and Peter Weller playing Carol and Admiral Marcus, respectively.

Starting this Tuesday, Star Trek Into Darkness will be available in two primary versions.  First, there's the two-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack, which includes the film on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as a digital copy so that fans can enjoy the adventure on a variety of portable devices.  For fans of the third dimension, there's also the three-disc 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, which adds a 3D presentation to the two-disc version.  And for mega-fans, Star Trek Into Darkness is also arriving in a Limited Edition Gift Set, which includes the 3D Combo Pack and a battery of goodies such as a full-size Phaser replica prop.

You won't find a sharper visual presentation than the the one given to this Star Trek sequel on Blu-ray.  As envisioned by Abrams, the future is packed with color, light, and detail in every single shot.  All of that is on display here thanks to a remarkable 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer of the film's gorgeous 2.40:1 picture.  From the barren ruins of the Klingon homeworld to the shiny corridors of the Enterprise, every second of Star Trek Into Darkness looks superb on on Blu-ray that will become a showpiece to flex the might of your home entertainment setup.  And the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack ensures that the sound, designed by the legendary Ben Burtt, is as varied and rich as possible.

As for special features, a host of additional material is spread across several retailer exclusives, so the version available at the nearest Best Buy isn't quite the same as the one sold at your local Target.

Even so, the broad retail version of the Combo Pack includes a heaping of featurettes that go behind the scenes of this blockbuster.  "Creating the Red Planet" details the construction of massive sets that bring the lush red jungles of Nibiru to life, as well as the interior of an erupting volcano in which Spock is confronted with his mortality.  "Attack on Starfleet" covers the pyrotechnic effects and stunts required to create a devastating assault on the fleet's brass.  Since  Star Trek Into Darkness reimagines Trek's most iconic alien race, the Klingons, "The Klingon Homeworld" covers the design and onscreen execution of the warrior-aliens and their planet.  Cumberbatch's villainous character takes center stage in "The Enemy of My Enemy."  "Ship to Ship," meanwhile, delves into an action sequence that finds Kirk and Harrison leaping from the Enterprise to the Vengeance, a sequence that involves green screen stunts, copious visual effects, and an entirely unique location.  Finally, "Brawl by the Bay" covers the climactic action scene, an elaborate chase that finds Spock and Harrison duking it out across San Francisco.

So boldly go where no one has gone before with Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray this Tuesday, September 10th.

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