Twenty-two years after the release of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," director Robert Wise ("West Side Story," "The Sound of Music") has been able to do additional work that he didn't have time to complete the first time around.
Back in 1979, says Wise, 87, "I didn't get everything done exactly the way I wanted to in terms of the balance of sound and the music and a couple of effects shots. I had to get it done [in a rush] for the premiere in Washington, D.C. It's the first film I ever directed I didn't have a sneak preview of."
This week, Paramount released the DVD ($30) and the VHS ($15) of "The Director's Cut" of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."
Wise says that during the production of the movie, he was constantly under the gun to have it completed for its early December release date, which was set in stone. "[Paramount] didn't know how complicated it was going to be to get everything done ... properly. I got it done the best I could ... but I was happy to have a chance to go back to it now and do something I wanted to do originally, but didn't have a chance to do because of time pressure."
Notes David C. Fein, producer of "The Director's Cut": "We consider the 22 years the film has been out the longest preview screening in history."
"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was the first of six films based on Gene Roddenberry's 1966-69 NBC sci-fi series. In this adventure, Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) leads the crew of the Enterprise into a series of structures surrounding something called V'Ger, a powerful mechanical being that has been destroying the Starfleet. After a sojourn on his planet of Vulcan, Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) joins his old crew for the adventure.
The film's original running time was 130 minutes. When it premiered on TV in 1983, the movie was expanded to 143 minutes and included scenes that Wise wanted left on the cutting-room floor. The "Director's Cut" is 136 minutes.
"So many director's cuts nowadays for video or otherwise tend to be an example of 'let's put everything in that was shot,"' Fein says. "That wasn't the goal here. The goal was to create the best film--Bob's best film."
One of the big challenges was to match the new computer-generated effects to the old ones. "It was difficult to find a group of effects people who understand that it shouldn't look polished," the producer says.
The new soundtrack is the reason the movie has gone from a G to a PG rating. "One of Bob's directives for us was that V'Ger has to be threatening and ominous and frightening. We believe we accomplished that," Fein says.
The first disc includes commentary from Wise, special effects director Douglas Trumbull, special effects supervisor John Dykstra and composer Jerry Goldsmith, plus a text commentary by Michael Okuda, coauthor of "Star Trek Encyclopedia." The second features three documentaries, TV spots, commercials, trailers, storyboard archives and deleted scenes.
Shatner and Nimoy chat about "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and much more in "Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime" (WillamShatner.com, $20 for VHS, $25 for DVD), a fun, gossipy 70-minute chat between these two old friends on the effect of "Star Trek" on their lives both professionally and personally.
Shot in the lush backyard of Nimoy's Bel-Air home, "Mind Meld" finds the two talking about everything from Nimoy's alcoholism to Shatner's marital problems. The DVD features the conversation in wide screen, biographies and a "making of" featurette. Available through http://www.WilliamShatner.com.
Everyone's favorite doll, Barbie, gives a highly "animated" performance in her first film, "Barbie in the Nutcracker" (Artisan, VHS and DVD, $20).
Recently voted best animated video premiere of 2001 by the Video Premiere Academy, the computer-animated romance finds Barbie playing Clara, the famous heroine of E.T.A. Hoffmann's classic story about a girl's adventures with the Nutcracker, the Mouse King and the Sugarplum Princess.
Although it is set to Tchaikovsky's beloved score, there isn't a lot of dancing in the piece. Little girls, though, will fall in love with it. The DVD includes both wide-screen and pan-and-scan versions of the movie, and a lovely little documentary following several young girls training to be ballet dancers at the School of American Ballet in New York.
Bada bing! The second season of HBO's acclaimed series "The Sopranos" has just arrived on video and DVD (HBO, $100 for both formats). The DVD features 13 episodes of the series in wide screen, and audio commentaries on several episodes supplied by directors Henry J. Bronchtein, Allen Coulter, John Patterson, and Tim Van Patten, and producer Ilene Landress. Also featured are interviews with creator David Chase and stars James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco and Michael Imperioli. A mini-documentary, "The Real Deal," features former FBI agents, critics and shrinks talking about the reality of the series.
"Funny Girl," the old-fashioned 1968 musical drama for which Barbra Streisand won the best actress Oscar for her turn as Fanny Brice, has been beautifully restored. The William Wyler-directed classic, which features such standards as "People," looks and sounds scrumptious on the new DVD from Columbia TriStar. It's just too bad that there aren't many extras on the disc ($25).
Besides the wide-screen version of the film, which also stars Omar Sharif and Kay Medford, there are talent files, production information, two slick vintage featurettes, a trailer and song highlights from the movie.