All there is to say about the movies has been said before, so here are just my opinions on this actual box set, particularly in comparison to its Blu-Ray counterpart.
Anyone contemplating this cheaper option over its Blu-Ray counterpart should definitely consider it. I say this for two main reasons. First, this will NOT be the definitive release of the original series movies. These are the theatrical versions of the movies...as seen in the cinemas...not the special director's editions like the 2 disc collectors sets that were released individually on DVD circa 2004, that are now out of print. So HD aficionados might want to consider waiting for Paramount to restore and release the director's editions (we all know Paramount love the sound of tills - it is a release you can bank on).
Secondly, this was a rush release to capitalise on JJ Abrams new movie - so only The Wrath of Khan has actually been restored frame by frame. The rest have been 'digitally scrubbed' by running them through DNR filters (Digital Noise Reduction). This is to remove picture noise and grain. They have also had the contrast levels upped for better colour representation. The colours are fine on both DVD and Blu-Ray, but the issue is the DNR filtering. Many Hi-Def lovers will tell you that they do not like this process as, while it does indeed get rid of picture noise, it also removes some finer details that are inherently in the actual grain of the film. Warner Bros are the usual offender here....many of their Blu-Ray releases have been overly DNR'd...resulting in very smooth, detail lossy prints of their movies. Well, Paramount is a tad guilty of that in this instance. However, while this process may significantly hamper Blu-Ray and HD broadcast, as high definition relies on the fine details, it hardly harms standard definition prints as, by its very nature, standard definition doesn't showcase the finer details too much anyway. Therefore these DVD's simply benefit from the lack of picture noise....and I can confirm the movies do look MUCH better/cleaner than the 2 disc collectors editions (which show their age and are particularly 'noisy'). So that is my second reason for opting to choose this DVD set over its Blu-Ray counterpart. If you need for a third reason, the DVD set is less than half the price of the Blu-Ray version!
Just don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Blu-Rays don't look better, as they do, they are simply not all they could have been....and better is surely yet to come. Whereas these DVD's look great thanks to the lack of grain and noise. Also, I have upscaled these to 1080p and it is a great halfway house between normal SD and full HD. They look fantastic.
As regards special features, well there are some two and a half hours of completely new extras exclusive to this release that were not on the 2 disc director's editions. Also, there are the new 'fan' commentaries from the likes of the Okudas, Orci/Kurtzman, Ron D. Moore and Manny Coto. The main extra in this set, though, is the rather excellent Captain's Summit - featuring Shatner/Nimoy/Stewart/Frakes, all reminiscing about their time working on the franchise. This is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, The Next Generation's very own Guinan, who seems to join in the conversation just as much as the main guests...as opposed to being the impartial host. Be warned, though, there are some huge egos in the room (Shat, we're mostly looking at you), and a couple of awkward moments ensue. The captain's summit runs for 70 minutes is a must watch for fans, as it was exclusively filmed for this release and you will not get it elsewhere.
Excellent set of DVD's at a great price. I just have to wonder if the Blu-Ray owners could say the same?