HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Unification
HTS Overall Score:83
As with every season of “The Next Generation” on Blu-ray there comes an accompanying “double feature film” where 2 heavily connected episodes of the season are blended into one seamless feature film. Previously it’s always been the last season’s finale paired with the opening episode of the current season, but this time the people over at CBS decided to blend together “Unification” parts I and II together instead of going with the status quo. “Unification” is an excellent slice of Season 5 for us to enjoy and one of the better sets of episodes in the season at that. Season 5 is the most mature season of the series and really where the show has fully hit its stride (the only season that can give it a run for it’s money as best season would be Season 6). “Unification” part I has the ending credits edited out and part II has its opening credits removed and both episodes are blended together as one feature film here giving it a seamless viewing experience.
It seems that Starfleet is worried about a defection. One ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has gone on a rogue mission to Romulus and Starfleet is worried that he has defected to the enemy. Starfleet calls in Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), captain of the Enterprise to go undercover to Romulus and assess the situation. Picard takes Data (Brent Spiner) and wheedles a cloaked Bird of Prey from the Klingon Empire in order to slip across the neutral zone undetected and find out what’s really going on. Once Upon Romulus the two officers encounter Spock and find out that Spock is communicating with a band of underground Romulan citizens whose entire goal is the reunification of the Vulcan and Romulan people. Spock and a rogue Senator are formulating a plan to bring the proposal to a high ranking senate member in order to see if peace talks between the two worlds is possible. Strangely enough, things seem to be going along TOO well and Picard and Spock now are determined to go ahead as planned, but see if they can find out what the true intentions of the Romulan government are.
At the same time Commander William Riker (Jonathon Frakes) is off investigating the ruins of a space craft they found along the way. It seems that this space craft debris is from a Vulcan ship supposedly decommissioned and sent to the scrap heap years ago. Once they get to this junkyard they find that the ship is missing and not only that, there are two other Vulcan ships missing from the junkyard as well. Tugging on the threads of evidence leads Riker closer and closer back to Romulus and closer and closer to the true goal of these “Peace” talks.
There has been a myriad of two parter episodes in the Star Trek universe, and many of these two part episodes are my favorites, exploring themes and stories that were previously only one off’s and giving them some more depth and free to delve more into the characters with the expanded screen time. We’ve experienced time travel, the Borg, Lor, and so much more in these 2 part episodes and while “Unification” isn’t as rousing as dealing with the Borg , or “The Best of Both Worlds, but it’s still some great Star Trek and makes for a great movie night.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13748[/img]For any of you who haven’t been keeping up with the previous seasons of the Next Generation are in for a treat. These seasons have absolutely INCREDIBLE transfers. CBS and Paramount went back to the original 35 mm negatives and have done a painstaking job restoring them to the best they can possibly look. Some of the old optical effect shots have been touched up with some CGI and the negatives themselves have been cleaned up to pristine shape. There are no signs of digital manipulation in a negative way to the elements and I can see no signs of haloing, DNR or aliasing in any way shape or form. In all honesty these are almost MORE impressive than the work being done on modern film. The original DVD’s from Paramount have always been very mediocre, to bad and even in the DVD world have just been rather “meh”. Watching them on Blu-ray is a revelation to the eyes, the colors are bright and full of rich life and the detail is PHENOMINAL. I never noticed all of the textures, the seam in the uniforms and even the little makeup gaffs that couldn’t be seen before due to the blurring of the low resolution (Spock’s and Sareck’s Vulcan ears come to mind). Blacks are deep and inky with no signs of any black crush what so ever. These have easily been given as much care, and TLC as the original series did several years ago. Fans and critics alike have to admit that these are some of the best restorations being done on the market today.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13749[/img]To keep up the momentum Paramount has given us a very weighty 7.1 DTS-HD MA track, as they have with all the Blu-ray Star Trek seasons to date. When I first heard these remasters I wasn’t sure how well a 7.1 track would really fit since most TV shows are rather front heavy. I was honestly surprised to see just how dynamic and expansive the track actually is. The dialogue is locked straight in the front channels as one would expect, but there is a surprising amount of surround usage in the track. The thrumming of the Enterprises Bridge, the sound of footsteps clacking down the hall and the heavy roar of the Enterprise as it blasts into warp, filling the soundstage with an immersive feel and with some very solid LFE weight behind it. Surprisingly immersive and pleasing in all ways the track is truly gold and deserves all the praise it can get.
• Audio Commentary
• From One Generation to the Next: The Making of "Unification"
• Deleted Scenes
• Episode Promos
Now I’m going to be a little harder pressed to recommend this as a must by for someone who is going to be buying Season 5 of the series anyways. Both episodes are back to back in the series and the only difference would be having to sit through both sets of end and opening credits rather than just one. However, for the casual fan, who just wants to revisit a portion of the series it’s a great way to wet ones feet and for the collector it comes with a fantastic fold out slipcover and a set of extras that can’t be found on the series boxset. The audio and video are simply mind-blowing, a testament to the effort that Paramount and CBS has done to the original 35 mm negatives in order to get fans the ultimate audio and video experience.
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn
Directed by: Les Landau, Cliff Bole
Written by: Gene Roddenberry, Michael Piller
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English, French, German, Japanese DD 2.0
Rated: Not Rated
Blu-Ray Release Date: Nov 19th, 2013
Buy Star Trek: The Next Generation - Unification Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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