Why Aren’t All The Star Trek Into Darkness Special Features On The Blu-ray?

Star Trek Into DarknessStar Trek Into Darkness arrives on Blu-ray in the UK on the 2nd of September and in America on the 10th of September but review copies of the U.S. disc have already been sent out to a number or reviewers.

Most have been giving the disc reasonably good reviews for image and audio quality but they’ve also been lamenting the lack of special features.

One reviewer in particular that has pointed out the lack of extras is Bill Hunt at Digital Bits, who has also uncovered that this isn’t the whole story regarding the special features.

The disc includes seven featurettes which run to just over forty minutes. They are,

  • Creating the Red Planet
  • Attack on Starfleet
  • The Klingon Home World
  • The Enemy of My Enemy
  • Ship to Ship
  • Brawl by the Bay
  • Continuing the Mission

According to various reviews these are light EPK style featurettes, the kind of thing I find myself watching in full and then really wishing I hadn’t bothered.

Not a great selection of features but then there are plenty of discs that are a little light on extras. As Bill Hunt points out though there were special features created for Star Trek Into Darkness, they’ve just not been included on the disc.

There were other featurettes created but they are retailer exclusives – on discs at Target and Best Buy and digitally on VUDU and CinemaNow – and a commentary for the film is also available as an extra download at iTunes.

I’m pretty careful about the discs that I buy and often opt to import, from America usually, if the special features or quality of the image and audio are superior in that region. I therefore keep a close eye on different releases and then make an informed decision. I have always just assumed that my best option was to buy a Blu-ray though, regardless of where it came from. But this calls that into question somewhat.

The most valuable special feature on a lot of discs is the commentary – unless there’s a extraordinary making of like the ones that Charles de Lauzirika is often involved in or some particularly juicy deleted scenes – but in this case the commentary appears to be an iTunes exclusive.

iTunes has never really held much interest to me actually and I would never think to even look there when a film was coming out.┬áTheir pricing seems to be completely uncompetitive, relying on people being ‘locked into’ that one store I would imagine, and the options on what you can do with your purchase are far too limiting. For the most part anything I can get on there I can get elsewhere, in a better format and for a better or similar price.

So will I buy the commentary through iTunes, as it would appear to be my only option? No chance. I’ll be voting with my feet. I also won’t be buying the disc. One of the qualities I appreciate in Blu-ray releases is that if I purchase a Blu-ray I then own the best release of that film I can get, until another technology comes along. I have it in the best possible format currently available for home viewing and with all the special features that I may return to again and again in years to come. This disc isn’t that.

Blu-ray is still a growing market for distributors but it’s facing a challenge from downloads, both legal and illegal, and it seems like an odd choice to cut into that market, devaluing the discs and steering consumers towards digital downloads.

It also seems rather strange to pull this sort of thing on a Star Trek film. There are many fans of Star Trek who are very serious about the franchise and I’m sure they will be very vocal if this is a decision that they disagree with. Perhaps Paramount are counting on that dedicated fandom to ensure that fans will be devoted enough to buy the film multiple times in order to get all the extras. That would be pretty low though, right?