I have a standard response when I'm asked about upgrading my DVD collections. I always tell folks that I'm holding out for the inevitable 10K versions.
Yes, most folks don't get it, and that's OK. I don't always seek first to be understood (in contrast to what the teachings of Stephen Covey taught me ... or didn't) because sometimes it's just more important to risk making a point. But the straight skinny here is that studios -- especially Paramount, especially as it applies to Star Trek -- continue to roll out new editions of their older properties seemingly with no other desire (truly) than to make a buck.
First, we were offered Classic Trek on VHS. (Ask your parents, kids.) Then, it became laserdisc. Then, it become DVD. Then, it became HD-DVD which inevitably went away with the advent of Blu-ray. Now, they're shucking 4K restorations ... and in lieu of asking when it'll ever end (it won't) I just tell people -- here it comes -- "I'm holding out for the inevitable 10K versions."
I'm all for enjoying a higher quality viewing experience, and I'd imagine I'm not alone on that point. Many of us invest a reasonable amount of capital into having a great home entertainment system for that very reason: we want the best we can have stopping short of seeing something on the silver screen. But at what point have we really strayed into 'this is just getting silly' territory?
Having review a small handful of 4K restorations for my day job here on SciFiHistory.Net, I can say in total honesty that I've really only experienced one upgrade that truly made a difference: I won't name the film, but I will say that earlier prints were incredibly dark in place, so much so that it was occasionally hard to make out what was truly going on without context. Films from 40 years ago, however, were shot on film; and I've read that there are going to be some inherent difficulties in restoring them via 4K without bringing along a bit of grain here and there. But is there really that much demand for restoring something 40+ years old?
Purists will certainly suggest that it's all about experiencing art, but I've always thumbed my nose at that because I've heard directors and producers suggest that, on an occasion or two, these restored prints really looked like a completely different film to them. Is that experiencing the art, or is it merely trying to give the art another outlet now that it's -- well -- 40 years old? Are studios doing little more than just trying to drum up more consumers?
And may I ask: are viewers truly seeing anything fresh in these restorations that wasn't there before? I understand that there might be a modicum of greater detail -- all well and good -- but the story remains the same. Nothing all that new is being added to the experience except some visual bells and whistles, so at what point do we culturally just have to accept that enough is enough? I'm all for stopping at whatever version allows me to insert myself digitally into the film, but that's never gonna happen!
At some point, these double and triple and quadruple dips really need to stop ... or maybe studios need to start offering digital codes for future releases: buy our 2K restoration now, and you get a digital code for the eventual 4K restoration!
All of this comes about largely because I've read a bit about Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Director's Cut) being prepped for release. It was in article on ComicBook.com, and interested parties can check it out right here.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!