Star Trek Into Darkness appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I felt completely impressed by this outstanding presentation.
At all times, sharpness delivered strong images. Virtually no signs of softness arose here, as the movie remained crisp and tight even in the widest shots. Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t occur, and the movie lacked edge haloes or other distractions like print flaws; it was always clean.
Expect a heavily teal palette here. A few earthier tones occasionally occurred – like some prominent reds – but the chilly blues dominated. However one feels about those choices, the disc reproduced them in a positive fashion. Blacks were tight and rich, and low-light shots offered smooth, well-defined elements. Everything here soared and gave us a terrific transfer.
One note about the film’s aspect ratio: the filmmakers shot roughly 30 minutes of Darkness on IMAX cameras, which resulted in a 1.44:1 framing for those scenes when displayed on the IMAX screens. Whereas the Blu-rays for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises “expanded” from 2.40:1 to 1.78:1 during those instances, this Darkness disc remains 2.40:1 from start to finish.
That doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me. I liked the extra real estate on display during the two Dark Knight flicks and would’ve liked to see that demonstrated here as well. Still, Darkness does reproduce the original aspect ratio seen by the vast majority of the theatrical audience, so I can’t criticize the choice; I simply would’ve preferred the compromise found on the Dark Knight discs.
Note that while both the stand-alone Into Darkness and this package that also includes the 3D version of the film lack the altered aspect ratio, the 2014 Compendium provides it. This means its Into Darkness opens the screen to 1.78:1 during the 30 minutes or so of IMAX footage.
We get ample pleasures from the thrilling Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Darkness. A sci-fi flick that didn’t skimp on action, the mix made vivid use of all available speakers to create an involving, immersive experience.
With lots of battles and space components, the information popped up in logical places, meshed together smoothly and created a wonderful sense of the situations. The soundscape was consistently an active presence and really brought us into the story.
In addition, audio quality excelled. Speech was natural and distinctive, while music sounded robust and full. Effects did the heavy lifting and added real punch to the package; with clean highs and deep lows, those elements sounded great. I couldn’t have asked much more from this impressive soundtrack.
This package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Into Darkness. The picture quality comments above reflect the 2D image – how does the 3D rendition compare?
In terms of actual picture quality, the two seemed largely similar. I thought the 3D version showed a couple of slightly soft shots, but those were rare, so definition remained comparable. It also could seem a smidgen darker at times, but again, not to a prominent degree.
As for the movie’s 3D imaging, it worked reasonably well, but I couldn’t claim those elements frequently added to the proceedings. Space scenes fared best – especially when Kirk and Khan zoomed through a debris field – and other segments] contributed a nice sense of depth.
One negative came from the 3D rendition, though: exacerbated lens flares. Director JJ Abrams loves to riddle his movies with over the top distortions of that sort, and the 3D imagery made these even more noticeable and annoying. Not that they’re subtle in the 2D picture, but the extra dimensionality of the 3D ensured they turned into an even more obvious distraction.
All of this made the 3D Into Darkness an enjoyable 3D presentation but not the proverbial slam dunk. While it’s a nice way to watch the movie, I can’t claim the 3D elements contributed a lot of pizzazz to the film – and those lens flares became a definite drawback.
All of the disc’s extras come via a series of seven featurettes. Via a “Play All” option, these run a total of 42 minutes, 13 seconds. We find Creating the Red Planet (8:28), Attack on Starfleet (5:25), The Klingon Home World (7:30), The Enemy of My Enemy (7:03), Ship to Ship (6:03), Brawl By the Bay (5:44) and Continuing the Mission (1:57).
Across these, we hear from director/producer JJ Abrams, executive producer Jeffrey Chernov, greens gang boss Roger Prater, art director Lauren Polizzi, creature designer Neville Page, unit production manager/co-producer Tommy Harper, pyro forepersons Anthony Simonaitis and William Aldridge, first assistant photographer Serge Nofield, costume designer Michael Kaplan, stuntmen Mike Massa and Daniel Stevens, electrical engineer Arnold E. Peterson, producer Bryan Burk, production designer Scott Chambliss, visual effects supervisor/second unit director Roger Guyett, dimmer operator Joshua Thatcher, art director Andrew EW Murdock, makeup effects artist Jamie Kelman, language consultant Britton Watkins, consultant Marc Okrand, writers/producer Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, previs and postvis supervisor Bradley Alexander, VFX producer Ron Ames, first AD Tommy Gormley, fight choreographer Marcus Young, and actors Karl Urban, Jeremy Raymond, Zachary Quinto, Bruce Greenwood, Chris Pike, Zoe Saldana, Sean Blakemore, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, and Peter Weller.
These cover story/character areas, sets and locations, creature, costume and art design, various effects, camerawork, cast and performances, stunts and action, and some other topics. The segments mix comments with ample footage from the shoot, so they add some informative value; I especially like the pre-effects shots that show us what the actors actually did before the technicians worked their magic. This is a somewhat brief collection of clips, but it’s enjoyable.
In addition to an ad for a cause called “The Mission Continues”, we find a DVD Copy of the film. It includes none of the Blu-ray’s featurettes but does throw in some previews.
While not as good as its immediate predecessor, Star Trek Into Darkness provides an enjoyable adventure. It comes with a few questionable choices but packs enough action and fun to make it a winner. The Blu-ray boasts superb picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. I’m disappointed that we get so few extras – especially after the packed Blu-ray for the 2009 film – but I like the movie more than enough to endorse this package.
To rate this film, visit the original review of STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS