SteelBook Alert: Second Star to the Right and Straight on Till Morning

Until now, the only ‘Star Trek’ Blu-rays available in SteelBook packaging were the J.J. Abrams reboots, plus a very limited Best Buy exclusive copy of ‘The Wrath of Khan’. To celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary, Paramount will re-release the original ten (pre-reboot) movies with metal cases in the UK.

The SteelBook artwork is based on the theatrical posters for all of the movies, which look pretty nice for some of them, but fairly hideous for ‘Nemesis’. I could do without the “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary” banner, but it’s not too intrusive. If you buy all ten movies, their spine art lines up neatly into a Federation logo.

‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ is the newly remastered Director’s Cut version. Unfortunately, the other nine movies are just repackagings of the old Blu-rays from 2009, which is a huge disappointment because most of them had problematic if not downright awful video transfers.

Personally, I’m torn about what to do here. Since I already have all the old Blu-rays, the only disc I actually need is the ‘Wrath of Khan’ Director’s Cut. But the completist side of me yearns to own the full series in SteelBook form. How bad would the partial image on the ‘Wrath of Khan’ spine look sitting all by itself on my shelf?

You can import the discs individually from either Amazon UK or Zavvi. If you want an easy way to get the whole series in one shot, Zavvi also offers a bundle of all ten, but there’s no price discount for doing so.

‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek The Motion Picture SteelBook

Star Trek The Motion Picture SteelBook inside

‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Director’s Cut’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek II SteelBook

‘Star Trek III: The Search for Spock’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek III SteelBook

‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek IV SteelBook

‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek V SteelBook

‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek VI SteelBook

‘Star Trek: Generations’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek Generations SteelBook

‘Star Trek: First Contact’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek First Contact SteelBook

‘Star Trek: Insurrection’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek Insurrection SteelBook

‘Star Trek: Nemesis’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £14.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek Nemesis SteelBook

‘Star Trek’ SteelBook Collection

Available at: Zavvi
Release date: July 18, 2016
Price: £149.99
Region Code: Region-free

Star Trek SteelBook Collection

Star Trek SteelBooks spine art

22 comments

  1. William Henley

    At GBP150 for all 10, I am not double dipping. That’s $218! I like steelbooks, but OUCH! and without new transfers, there is no way I am jumping on that one!

    The previous Blu-Ray transfers – I think “awful” is too strong of a word to use for the transfers. They could certainly be MUCH better, and the transfers range from disappointing to good, but none were great.

      • Why are so many of these steelbooks only available in the UK? Are consumers so steelbook crazy over there that they sell substantially more than here in North America? Why can’t they just be available everywhere?

          • I bought some old American NTSC VHS tapes and I was shocked to see they were just cardboard crappy covers that are very easy to scratch/destroy. In Europe, retail VHS came in sturdy plastic clamshells.

            So, I’m guessing Josh has a point: American consumers aren’t as interested in fancy disc packaging.

            (Another wild example: comics. American comics are printed on what could be described as toilet paper. French (as in, ‘from France’) comics come in expensive, pretty, hardback carton books)

          • EM

            Comic books started out on newsprint stock because they grew out of the comics sections of newspapers, and the printing tradition continued long after the content diverged. But nowadays new American comic books on newsprint are rare…so rare that I’m tempted to say “nonexistent”, but I’m not prepared to make that leap. Many are printed on paper stock you might expect in a magazine. Hardcovers are still unusual (though hardly unheard-of) for new material, but they are more and more common for reprint collections.

            One difference between the US and French comics markets is that in the US serial/periodical (often monthly) comics dominate, whereas in France comics tend to be longer-form one-shots (à la prose novels…though, as in the world of prose novels, some end up becoming series over the years, as in the famous Astérix et Obélix graphic novels). As such, it’s a natural for US comics to bear the floppier covers like those associated with periodical magazines.

            Nevertheless, other kinds of “fancy” packaging in fact do have a history of attracting US comics audiences. One of the infamous excesses of the ’90s was a trend in gimmicky covers—die-cut, foil-stamped, holographic, etc., etc. The gimmicks often generated big sales…at least, for a while. These days that sort of gimmickry is out of fashion, but it’s not unusual for a single issue to be offered with variant covers—collect ’em all! And some collectors do.

          • You’re right! There’s only one comic I collect (IDW’s ‘Back to the Future’), and issue #3 had 24 variant covers. A nightmare for a collector.

          • William Henley

            Yeah, Disney seemed to be the only one to use the clamshell design, probably because Disney pushed so hard that their movies were collector’s editions that would only be available for a limited time. I think a couple of other companies put out a movies in the claimshells (I am thinking Columbia and a couple of universal), but I am assuming they didn’t really increase sells that much, and probably drove up manufacturing costs. Most people who wanted quality opted for Laserdiscs, and with a few exceptions (such as Fantasia), even most American released Laserdiscs were cheap cardboard.

            As far as why most steelbooks are only available in the UK and most 3D movies are only available in Germany, I would assume most people looking for those content will know where to go. The studios have a single outlet (Zavvi or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de), press a few thousand collectors editions, and ships it to those places (I would imagine the same argument could be said for Twilight Time and Screen Archives). Then the studio doesn’t have to promote special editions – the stores do that on their own. And we flock to them no matter where in the world they are sold because we are collectors.

            So, limited edition prints, box them all up in one crate and send them to a single end point. Reduces costs on the studios and drives up sales for the place that gets the exclusive.

            Makes perfect business sense to me.

            What really annoys me is some small regional studios. Like the Swedish Film Board. They will tie their releases to just 2 or 3 B&M store chains in Sweden. They may have websites, but many of them will not ship outside of Sweden, and if they do, then they will only ship to EU countries (which stinks, I have friends in Switzerland, but I can’t ship to even them). A lot of Russian studios do the same thing and you can’t get stuff shipped outside of former Soviet territories. Some small music labels may only release through a specific store as well, which can be a nightmare if you live outside of their distribution area (had this issue with both some Austrailian (down under)singers and some German and Austrian singers).

          • William. I seriously doubt that Swedish Film Board limits their movies to a handful of B&M stores. I’m sure they’re available to all Swedish stores. But they’re not gonna be available at Amazon UK (unless any of the Amazon Marketplace sellers provide it). The market for Swedish movies is fairly small, and it’s pretty rare for a Swedish edition of a DVD/BD to be superior to the US or UK edition. So I don’t think any webshops see any point in offering exports at all. And if they do, it might be limited to the EU.

            I’ve also never had the impression that Disney’s 3D movies are limited to any particular stores in Europe. They are available to any store that wants to sell them.

          • EM

            Julian, if you wanted, you could wait for the Back to the Future collections in trade paperback—not the deluxe treatment, but a little fancier than the monthly thin floppies. I saw a BTTF TPB at the comics shop today. Or maybe you’re like me—you prefer not to wait…get while the getting’s good! The BTTF series has been quite fun, hasn’t it? Why wait for the Future?

          • @William: if you want to have something shipped to a remote crappy weird EU location, I can give you my home address. Belgium is part of the EU, so that may be easier than via/through Switzerland.

            @EM: Yeah! I just heard about these BTTF TPBs (think that’s enough abbrev.?). Very nice. But I do like these individual releases. Ah, who am I kidding? I’ll probably buy the TPB as well. The collector’s burden.

          • William Henley

            Hey Julian, I might take you up on that offer. I was able to buy some swedish iTunes cards so I was able to setup a Swedish iTunes account and grab three of the movies I was looking for, but iTunes did not have the fourth (which is weird, its the same studio as the other three, and a sequel to one of the three movies). I got acquaintances in France, UK and Austria, but I feel that I don’t know them well enough to ask them to go through the trouble for me (although I am sure any of them would if I just asked.

            I am going to keep looking, and maybe see if there are any other movies I want that I can’t snag from iTunes. While iTunes cost more (especially considering I am paying two conversion rates – Krona to Pounds and then Pounds to dollars) it is coming out to be cheaper than international shipping twice (once to the EU, and then again from the EU to the US), so I want to have several discs to justify costs of international shipping first.

            But I will keep you in mind, thanks for the offer, greatly appreciate it. 🙂

  2. Thulsadoom

    I’d love these, but given that we got the full BD box set for considerably less, not that long ago (finally got round to updating the DVDs!), I just couldn’t justify it. I’d sooner spend that money on other BDs to add to the collection.

    Think about it… 10 movies, 12 discs… for £33.70, or as William said, £150 with nicer cases?! 😉

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00BKN6ZP0/panandscathed-20

    I like to get steelbooks, but they either need to be released at the same time as the normal release, or contain a lot of extras not on the original release.

    • William Henley

      Zavvi is pretty good about getting big movies steelbooks released same day or pretty soon after the regular edition, so if Zavvi announces enough in advance, I will sometimes cancel my standard preorder with Amazon and order from Zavvi. However, i haven’t really done that on any Disney movies – GBP24.95 plus international shipping (granted, with Zavvi, its pretty darn cheap – cheaper than I could mail a DVD to a friend in the states) adds up to more than I want to pay. I usually wait for Zavvi’s 2 for GBP12 sales – I don’t mind double dipping for that price.

    • EM

      I think the yellow is gold, for the golden anniversary. In my opinion it works especially well on The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan (coincidentally the best two movies in this grouping), but on some of the others it descends into garishness. It is nice to see the tribute to original poster art. The Motion Picture’s poster imagery is an iconic classic.

      • Looking at the later releases, I once again lament the loss of artists like Drew Struzan (alive and kicking, but he had to retire in the changing working atmosphere) and John Alvin etc. The cover art for Nemesis is hideous. Why not hire an artist (like the aforementioned) and have an iconic, cool, nice, awesome piece of work for your movie?

        In his book, Struzan mentions the final straw that made him crack and retire. Del Toro commissioned a very nice one-sheet for ‘Hellboy 2’, that the studio ignored when they chose a craptacular Photoshop job. At a convention, a Struzan fan asked a Sony rep why they didn’t use the Struzan poster.

        ‘Because it looks too much like art’ the studio rep said.

        Sad, sad, sad.

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