Is The Complete Adventure of Star Trek The Motion Picture worth it?

Image courtesy Michael Poteet
Image courtesy Michael Poteet /

“The Complete Adventure” Star Trek: The Motion Picture collector’s set has arrived.

I don’t generally buy physical media based on its packaging. It is always the movie itself that matters most. But when I saw the first ads earlier this year for “The Complete Adventure” collector’s set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Director’s Edition, I knew I would be setting aside some quatloos for it.

Whether I wanted a disc of the newly restored, 4K Director’s Edition was never the question. Of course I did! As the original release of the Director’s Edition on DVD in 2001 had been the catalyst for my purchase of a DVD player, the physical media release of the upgraded Director’s Edition was the nudge I needed to buy a 4K player, after years of swearing I wouldn’t. TMP has always been a beautiful film, and I knew I’d want to own it once it was looking its best.

But I hadn’t planned on wanting a super-duper, bells-and-whistles collector’s set of it. Two factors pushed me in that direction. First, Paramount let it be known “The Complete Adventure” set would include not only the newly restored 4K Director’s Edition but also the 1979 theatrical release, as well as the “Special Longer Version” I’d grown up watching on VHS—also both in 4K.

Second, I saw “The Complete Adventure” case would unfold to reveal a reproduction of that magnificent U.S.S. Enterprise cutaway painting by David Kimble. I had one of the posters printed from that art in 1980, before I was ever a Star Trek fan. It was a Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby participation prize. Once I did become a Trek fan, I thumbtacked that poster to my bedroom wall and spent hours gazing at it, daydreaming. I still have it, though it’s badly folded and frayed. Seeing that art in pristine form inside “The Complete Adventure” packaging made fannish nostalgia flame up. I was sold.

Three complete versions of the film, but incomplete context

On the eve of Star Trek Day 2022, my copy of “The Complete Adventure” arrived. I eagerly opened the package and inspected its contents. Had my latinum been well-spent? Is this deluxe collector’s edition worth it?

Others who have more technical expertise than I do can speak to the video and audio specifications of this release. But I’ve sampled each disc, and can report all three look amazing.

The Director’s Edition will doubtless be the disc I choose to play the most, but it’s great to see what audiences saw in 1979 looking so shipshape. Likewise the Special Longer Version—now with that shot of Shatner hanging from the soundstage ceiling properly finished!

Image courtesy Michael Poteet
Image courtesy Michael Poteet /

I do have some packaging complaints. The bonus Blu-ray disc is easy enough to grasp and slide free, but the two 4K discs are tougher to remove without fearing I’m going to tear the pockets or break the discs. I’ve found this problem in the few other deluxe packages I own—for example, last year’s 4K release of Citizen Kane from Criterion. Physical media manufacturers should give us more literal “wiggle room” when it comes to built-in disc sleeves.

“The Complete Adventure” includes several other frills. The character stickers and miniature bumper sticker reproductions (intended here for use as laptop computer decorations) are fun glimpses of vintage fandom, but I’m not likely to use them. The publicity photo reproductions are nice, though. I especially like the solo shot of Nimoy, since his expression makes Spock appear—almost—to be smirking. The mini-poster for the Director’s Edition is pretty, although I would have preferred a reproduction of the movie’s original one-sheet.

My biggest gripe is the 12-page “Archives” booklet. What a disappointment! The photos and concept art inside are fantastic content. But there is no text in the book to put any of these images into meaningful context. No credit to artists. No captions identifying crew members seen in set photos. No details about either the assembly of the 2001 Director’s Edition or its recent 4K refit.

Unless you’ve read Jeff Bond and Gene Kozicki’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Inside the Art and Visual Effects, the “Archives” booklet may leave you scratching your head. Devoted Trek and TMP fans are the intended market for this package. To deny us “liner notes” with new and interesting information is highly illogical.

In “Amok Time,” Spock tells T’Pring, “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting.” I admit I enjoyed wanting “The Complete Adventure” deluxe collector’s packaging more than, at the moment, I enjoy having it.

But Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the main attraction in this set. As with any film home media release, the movie matters most. I know I’ll be thrilled to have all three versions of TMP as part of my physical media collection for years to come. I’m certain that, not unlike the human adventure, my adventure with “The Complete Adventure” is just beginning.

Next. Star Trek The Motion Picture Director’s Edition is an immersive delight. dark