Paramount // 1991 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 30th, 2013
Experience Klingon civil war like never before!
"Loyalties are divided when civil war splits the Klingon Empire. When Worf (Michael Dorn, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause) sees a chance to regain his wrongfully lost family honor, he must choose between his duty as a Starfleet officer and his heritage as a Klingon warrior. Meanwhile, Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart, X-Men) struggles to keep the Federation from being dragged into the fray. But a shocking new adversary from the past threatens to destroy both the Federation and the Klingon Empire."
I have strong memories of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I spent many a summer in Wisconsin on a lake, and the television in my parent's cabin only received three channels: one of them was for weather; the other was a cooking channel; the third was whatever the equivalent of Fox would have been at that time. There were hardly any shows on that interested me; the only thing I could find worth sitting through was Star Trek: The Next Generation. While I never became a fan, per say, I did garner quite a bit of affection for Stewart's Jean Luc Picard and his intergalactic crew (usually in the basement, around 11:30 PM). Since then it's hard to watch an episode of the show and not think of my youthful evenings up north.
Which brings us (in a roundabout way) to Star Trek: The Next Generation: Redemption. Casual fans may be confused by this release since it appears to be a stand alone movie. Is it an old movie they'd never heard of? A new story just released into the home entertainment market? Actually, this feature length film from 1991 is really two episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation edited together to make one single story line. "Redemption" was taken from the end of the fourth season of the show, comprising the 100th and 101st episodes.
Die hard fans of the series won't find much of a use for this Blu-ray disc, as I'm sure they'll already own the complete fourth season to begin with. That leaves casual fans and newcomers, who might be slightly confused as to what's going on. Right out of the gate there's discussion about Worf's family and the fact that their linage has been disgraced. Why? That isn't made clear until later in the episode (and even then it felt like I was missing something). At times I felt as if I'd been dropped into the middle of a movie already in play, which wasn't far off. Since these episodes hinge on what has come before in the fourth season, it feels like a disservice to the viewer to just offer up these two episodes. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a show built on a mythology and recurring characters and stories, so viewers should be aware that some back story will be missing if they haven't sat down and watched the entire season. Clearly the stakes are high for the characters (especially Lt. Worf), but just how high feels like a mystery.
The focus here is really on the character of Worf and his family struggles. Patrick Stewart's Jean Luc Picard also plays a major role, but the rest of the show's cast seems to take a backseat to the Klingon drama. Fan favorite Data (Bret Spiner, Independence Day) has a few nice scenes pertaining to taking over the Enterprise for a while, and Commander Riker (Jonathan "Number One!" Frakes) also is included -- if peripherally -- in the episode. Yet make no bones about it: this is really Worf's show. A lot of other Klingons show up (often with awkward dental fittings that slur their speech), including cult horror favorite Tony Todd (Candyman) as an angry Klingon named Kurn, as well as the infamous Duras sisters, Lursa (Barbara March, Total Security) and B'Etor (Gwynyth Walsh, The Crush).
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Redemption is presented in 1.33:1 full frame (the show's original aspect ratio) in 1080p high definition. Paramount has put considerable effort into each season of the series, which means this transfer looks great. Although there are some limitations to the source material, overall the print looks crisp, clean, and very colorful. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround in English. The audio mix gets a boost mostly through music and some sound effects. Also included on the disc are English, German, French, and Japanese subtitles.
Extra features include an audio commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda, a featurette ("Serve and Succeed: An Empire at War"), episodic promos for both episodes, and a digital copy.
Had I been watching the full fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Redemption" would have been an easier pill to swallow. There are a few nice action sequences (for early 1990s episodic television that is) and the appearance of fan favorites like Whoopi Goldberg's serene Guinan is certainly a welcome addition. Yet I can't help but feel like I was a bit lost in the shuffle without much backstory (how about a recap, Paramount?). If you're a Trekker, I'd suggest spending your hard earned cash on the full season instead of just two measly episodes.
A difficult recommendation for those new to Star Trek and longtime
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Digital Copy