Star Trek Into Darkness–Catch the best Star Trek film in years on DVD and Blu-Ray now

lenticular cover STID

If you love a roller coaster of a summer sci-fi action flick…

If you love watching awesome actors like Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Peter Weller doing some of their best work in crazy, fun, and exciting situations…

If you love awesome special effects

If you count yourself among the majority of Star Trek fans who liked Star Trek Into Darkness in theaters and who J.J. Abrams referred to this week in an interview

If you really like lens flares and have a sense of humor

And if you believe Star Trek is an ever-changing vision of the future that can never be “broken”…

Then now is the time to pick up your own copy of Star Trek Into Darkness on DVD or Blu-ray and watch it over and over again.  From the opening scene on a red volcanic planet with Michael Giacchino’s most rousing score so far to the parallel universe reworking of past Star Trek films culminating in one of the most densely packed stories and cutting edge special effects-filled adventures in the Star Trek universe since Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek Into Darkness holds up on subsequent (at least three so far) home video viewings.

Star Trek Into Darkness bluray

I reviewed the film earlier this summer here at and loved the twists and turns, complex story, and plenty of throwbacks to past series for Trek fans watch for.  Check out my complete review here.  And if you’re among those few Trek fans that didn’t like STID stop kidding yourselves and take this challenge: Go back and watch all the past Trek films with some non-Trek friends–they may give you a fresh perspective.  I wince when friends claim STID is bad, especially in light of so many prior Trek movie efforts like Star Trek V–not just bad Star Trek, but bad sci-fi.  On the second re-watch of STID on Blu-ray I became convinced the Star Wars franchise under Abrams may actually be in the right hands now after all.  Besides, Star Trek Into Darkness is a blast.  Do yourself a favor–judge STID on its own merits and just sit back and enjoy the ride.  Take it from a diehard Trek fan: It’s not just a great sci-fi flick–it’s among the very best of the Star Trek movies.

Star Trek Into Darkness was released this week in many different formats, with exclusive features and great extras outside the DVD case.  Which one should you buy?

STID Starfleet phaser

First up is’s ultimate boxed set, complete with a hefty “screen-authentic” replica of the coolest prop phaser in sci-fi since the Warehouse 13 Tesla and Keira’s future cop weapon from Continuum.  It includes a nice display stand and storage box.  The replica weapon itself includes that cool red spinning barrel that can be manually fixed for kill or stun modes.  Note that it is a static prop for display and not a toy so don’t expect any other features, but the designer claims it is identical to the production static prop weapon.  The disc box also has a 3D lenticular cover and 42 minutes in six features.

Walmart vengeance

The Wal-Mart edition comes with a model of Admiral Marcus’s slick new starship, the Vengeance with a desk display stand.  The Blu-ray has 42 minutes in six features.

A Target store version has a three-disc set with 70 minutes of features including 30 minutes not found elsewhere.

The Best Buy version of the Blu-ray comes with 30 minutes of additional content–but you need to set up a CinemaNow account to access it online.

So as you can tell by now, if there is anything STID did get wrong it’s on the distribution side, and it’s similar to deficiencies in pretty much all the past Star Trek movies released on video.  First of all, there are just not enough “making of” features to match most fans’ wants.  What is there is divided up among the different versions you get from Wal-Mart or Best Buy or Amazon, etc. because of exclusive marketing deals, and worse–some features are left to only access online.  So what do you do?

The best bet is just buying the best version your current video system can handle, the single DVD, the single Blu-Ray, or the 3D set.  Unless you want the phaser or ship model mentioned above, then get the cheapest DVD or Blu-ray version you can find and wait for a future release for the features (when hopefully they get it right).  The Target Blu-ray version seems to have the most features, but you still won’t have them all.

The picture quality and sound of the movie itself can’t be better and if all you want is the movie then there is a version of the release to meet your need.

What features are included in the Blu-ray versions are very well done, no matter which store version you buy.  The six main features provide an awesome look at the making of special effects and background behind the story and casting decisions for STID.  Something I haven’t seen with past Trek DVD features are the numerous on-set, filming day interviews with the cast and crew, noting the cast’s reactions before and after key scenes at production locations.  We get a great look, for example, at the make-up process for STID’s new Klingons.  The development of the Nibiran planet set and vegetation design offers a great glimpse at the art direction process and considerations.  What is the most surprising is the choice revealed over and over in the features to opt for in-camera scenes over CGI rendering.  Many scenes I would have thought were CGI actually were staged in full on the giant studio sets.

Get the best edition for you of the video release of Star Trek Into Darkness at stores everywhere now!

C.J. Bunce

*Reminder: is in no way affiliated with Star Trek, CBS, or Paramount.

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