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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science Fiction > Space Opera > Star Wars Vs. Star Trek (DVD)

Star Wars vs. Star Trek – The Rivalry Continues


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Main Program: B



It is doubtful a rivalry really exists between the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, but the special interest piece Star Wars vs. Star Trek (2000) would like there to be one.  However, with one a mystical space opera and the other an intellectual take on science and humanity, it is not easy to argue anything, except commercial success.


Until it went to being shot entirely on Model-T stage Digital High-Definition Video and lost its soul to too much toy merchandising, Star Wars had a great cache about being state of the art filmmaking.  Creator George Lucas created Industrial Light & Magic, as well as the company that was spun-off into the mega-success that is Pixar.  At that point, Lucas decided to go digital and abandon film forever, which is great since he will be a pioneer in digital cinema.  The total abandonment of film and the Academy Award-winning visual effects of the past is made disturbing more so by their replacement (and even re-replacement) by all-digital substitutes that ultimately do not cut it.  This special was issued before the fifth film (aka Episode Two) was issued and totally originated in digital video, Attack of the Clones.  That was the least successful film yet, but the constant tampering with the originals (always dubbed Episodes Four, Five & Six by new fans as if older moviegoers and fans never heard of the franchise before) and the digital-mania is a permanent defeat for the franchise.  There is only one more (they say) and the originals will be out on DVD finally for the first time, but in their fifth versions.  There was the original issues, the restored originals, the Special Edition re-releases with digitizing, those films issued again with newer EX soundtracks on Japanese LaserDiscs, and now the DVD versions with further digital alterations to fit the newer releases.  We can say it the sixth of the 1977 original, if we remember the Flash Gordon-like Saturday Morning Serial crawl was added to that film in 1979.  In all this, the oldest fans that made it all possible are slapped in the face for all time and the franchise has lost its root truth and its soul.


This is not to say Star Trek survived better, now shockingly less popular at the moment that Star Wars overall, though the older shows were not as tampered with, though alterations have been made.  It should be noted that restorations of the older shows have not necessarily retained the great Deluxe color that made the show so distinct, but we’ll cover that when the next video versions arrive.  The sequel TV series never really worked for me and have eventually failed the fans, especially the new Enterprise prequel, which has not saved the franchise from decline.  Far better was the impressive Star Trek: Nemesis, which could have saved it, but was too late.  (Read more about that in our DVD review and NOSFERATU essay elsewhere on this site).  The biggest problem that this DVD never perceives is how the militarism of the franchise (via Nicholas Meyer’s contributions) negated the Gene Roddenberry vision in the long run and the ideas of world piece and a better future in space would have NEVER happened if the original was stuck with what is essentially a square, clichéd idea of military-is-good-in-space vision from the conformist 1950s.  That is in stark contrast to the original idea of the show being a step ahead of that model. N Important philosophical ideas and discussions have been replaced by latex aliens, bad digital effects, and predictable repetitions that have limited the vision of what was one of the most creative and thought-provoking of all franchises before the idea of franchises was so tired and processed.


The main program is about 45 minutes, with the extras being a semi-Spanish interview clip with Carrie Fisher, and English interview clips with Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Leonard Nimoy and (in black and white videotape), raw premiere footage of a Trek attraction in Las Vegas, and re-release premiere footage from the 1997 Star Wars.  The picture is above average, with varying types and qualities of footage throughout.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is said to be “surround sound” but is simple stereo at best, so don’t expect multi-channel.  Fans of either franchise will enjoy the rarely-seen clips on both, plus on many a Star Wars rip-off.


I give the main program credit for saying what is rarely said about either franchise and their imitators, especially the films and ideas that did not go over well.  It does not sugar coat or ignore what really happened.  Too bad Passport did not extend the main program for the DVD release, but it is a worth a look for all who are curious.



-   Nicholas Sheffo

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