Star Trek VI didn't just save the Klingon Empire — it restored the honor and dignity of the original Trek cast. So why has it taken 18 years to get the theatrical cut on video?
I remember being blown away when I saw The Undiscovered Country in the theater. It was no Wrath of Khan, but it was an improvement on The Voyage Home. (Was there a film in between The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country? I'm really not sure.)
So when Trek VI came out on VHS, I couldn't wait to rent it. Unfortunately, this time around it felt draggy and dull. Maybe some of that was just seeing it a second time, and realizing quite how unnecessary some of prison-planet stuff was and how much the movie lost focus about halfway through. But a huge part of it was the lengthy scenes of the Federation President debating and discussing options and solutions, over and over again. And then I noticed on the VHS box that the VHS release included previously unseen footage. (Only a few minutes worth, supposedly, but it felt like a noticeably different film.)
That's the version of the film that came out on DVD in 1999, and the two-disc special edition includes a slightly longer cut than that. So, to the best of my knowledge, there's never been a VHS or DVD release of the movie's original theatrical cut, which I remember being quite a bit more fun and engaging. (Again, I haven't seen the theatrical cut in years, so memory may be exaggerating.)
The good news is, the upcoming Blu-ray release of Undiscovered will include the theatrical cut for the first time ever. Also, the Blu-ray of Wrath Of Khan will include that movie's theatrical cut as well — so no lengthy discussion of Tiberian bats — but you can also buy a used copy of TWOK's original DVD release, with the theatrical cut, pretty easily.
It'll be interesting to see the version of Undiscovered that appeared in theaters once again, to find out if it's really as good as I remember, or if the movie really was a bit bloated in all its forms. The Blu-Ray discs will be out in May, just in time for the new Trek movie's theatrical release. [Trek Movie]