Shortly before director J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek “reboot” made its home video premiere in the fall of 2009, Paramount Home Entertainment released its Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) Motion Picture Collection box set on Blu-ray and DVD.
This five-disc collection is the TNG counterpart to the studio’s Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture Collection seven-disc box set, which was released in the spring of 2009. It consists of the four theatrical films starring the Next Generation cast – Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis.
It also includes "Star Trek: Evolutions," a bonus disc with seven featurettes about various aspects of the enterprising franchise created by Gene Roddenberry almost 50 years ago.
Disc 1: "Star Trek Generations"
This is the first film that features The Next Generation cast. It marks the final onscreen Star Trek appearances of William Shatner (Capt. Kirk), James Doohan (Scotty), and Walter Koenig (Chekov). Generations pits Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the Enterprise-D against Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell) who is willing to destroy inhabited star systems in order to achieve eternal bliss within a mysterious energy ribbon called the Nexus.
Reviewer’s Comment: Generations is watchable, but it's not as good as it should have been.
Commentary by: David Carson and Manny Coto
Next Generation Designer Flashback: Andrew Probert
Stellar Cartography on Earth
Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond, Part 1
Trek Roundtable: Generations
Starfleet Academy: Trilithium
Disc 2: "Star Trek: First Contact"
The Borg, a race of relentless cybernetically enhanced life forms, attacks Earth in a bid to destroy the Federation. Capt. Picard and the crew of the new USS Enterprise-E defy Starfleet orders and return home to battle the remorseless cyborgs and their evil-yet-seductive Queen.
Reviewer’s Comment: Clearly, the best of the Next Generation crew's feature films, "First Contact" includes all the ingredients a good Trek film requires. It features a well-written script by Ron Moore and Brannon Braga and good directing from by Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker). The Next Generation cast is joined by a good ensemble that includes guest stars James Cromwell, Alfre Woodard, and Alice Krige, who plays the Borg Queen.
Commentary by: Damon Lindelof and Anthony Pascale
Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation
Greetings from the International Space Station
SpaceShipOne’s Historic Flight
Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond, Part 2
Trek Roundtable: First Contact
Starfleet Academy: Temporal Vortex
Disc 3: "Star Trek: Insurrection"
A greedy alien race and a venal Starfleet admiral conspire to take a "fountain of youth" world from its inhabitants, forcing Capt. Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-E to intervene.
Reviewer’s Comment: The third Next Generation feature film and ninth in the Star Trek series is not very involving, and the two villains played by F. Murray Abraham and Anthony Zerbe are not in the same league as Khan or the Borg Queen.
Commentary by: Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis
Marina Sirtis: The Counselor Is In
Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond, Part 3
Trek Roundtable: Insurrection
Starfleet Academy: Origins of the Ba’ku and the Son’a Conflict
Disc 4: "Star Trek: Nemesis"
The Enterprise-E confronts Shimzon, a mysterious figure who has seized control of the Romulan Empire in a coup d’état. Now Shimzon seeks to defeat the Federation by destroying Earth.
Reviewer’s Comment: "Star Trek Nemesis": isn't as bad as "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," but it is not great, either. The movie’s underperformance at the box office nearly killed the franchise. Luckily, J.J. Abrams’ 2009 "Star Trek" breathed new life into the series.
Commentary by: Michael and Denise Okuda
Reunion with the Rikers
Today’s Tech Tomorrow’s Data
Robot Hall of Fame
Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond: Part 4
Trek Roundtable: Nemesis
Starfleet Academy: Thalaron Radiation
Disc 5: "Star Trek: Evolutions"
The Evolution of the Enterprise
Villains of Star Trek
I Love the Star Trek Movies
Farewell to Star Trek: The Experience
Borg Invasion 4D
Charting the Final Frontier
Note: The extras listed above are the ones produced exclusively for the BD edition. Most of the extra features from previously released Collectors’ Edition DVD sets are included.
The packaging design of this box set resembles that of the Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection. The set’s five BDs come in the ultra-thin blue plastic cases used by most of the studios for multi-disc collections. The cases come in a sturdy slipcover made of black paperboard, which bears a blue Starfleet delta on its front. The Starfleet delta features a 3-D rendering of the Enterprise-E leaving Spacedock. Also a transparent plastic dust cover slips over the box. It keeps the five slim BD cases from sliding out of the box, keeps the slipcover relatively dust-free, and serves as the box set’s title and content label. (The Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection package has, of course, a similar design but it has a white slipcover and features a 3D rendering of Kirk’s refit Constitution-class Enterprise in the blue Starfleet delta.)
The BDs label design matches that of all the contemporary Star Trek BD releases. All the discs on this set bear the same white letters-on-grey-background color scheme. Most prospective buyers probably won’t mind, but it would have been nice if Paramount or CBS Blu-ray had given the movie collections’ a more lively and distinctive look.
On the whole, this set is good for die-hard Star Trek fans who don’t want to break up their movie collection. The only outstanding movie in the TNG series is Star Trek: First Contact, although the other three have their fair share of watchable moments.