I saw Best of Both Worlds in HD in a movie theater on Thursday and it was pretty much as awesome as you would think it would be. I was happy to note that the theater I was in was pretty much sold out, and with people of all ages. This wasn't just people 30-something and above re-watching a show from their past. That was encouraging.
Like seasons 1 and 2, they had some behind the scenes stuff. My favorite part of that was an interview with Elizabeth Dennehy. She talked about how young and stupid she was when she auditioned and how she was able to stare down Riker because she had no context of the show to tell her she shouldn't have been able to, so her character was good at being the outsider because the actress was as well. She did note that some of the treknobabble was burned on her memory. In the interview she recites the line about how much of the Borg ship would have to be disabled before it shut down, and they overlaid the shot of the character saying it in the episode, and it was spot on, and pretty funny. There were also the standard blooper-reel stuff, which I'll be honest, only does so much for me. It's worse with movies in general, where I really don't care to see the cast I just watched stand around and laugh, but at least for TNG, it helps reinforce the sense of fun and family the cast had. It also is a neat way to see scenes that got dropped. One of the bloopers was a shot of Riker and Shelby (failing at) having a conversation in a corridor that was not in the final episode.
Now onto the episode itself. Obviously, the transfer was gorgeous. I'm just going to run through some random thoughts:
- The matte shot of the hole in the ground in the New Providence colony was stunning, as was the planet work.
- The nebula scenes looked amazing. The way the light diffused around the Enterprise was gorgeous.
- The interior shots of the Borg cube benefit less from the upgrade than you would think simply because the scenes are so dark. That being said. whenever there is light, the small details really pop. Things like Locutus' viewscreen on the cube looked great with bright icons popping off the screen rather than being mottled by the composite process.
- The shot through the window of the shuttle of the drive section, saucer, and cube almost made me cry openly in the theater. It was that good.
- The lab scene was great. All the panels in the background really popped. The close-up of Data's circuitry was stunning. There's a lot more fine wire work than you could see in the original.
- The graveyard scene was really great. You could make out decals on the nacelles of the ships, and the redone lighting effects were great as well.
- The thing that struck me the most was the Borg make-up. It's far more nuanced than in the original airing. Particularly on Locutus, it looks more gray and white, and more necrotic. It makes the eventual make-up in First Contact make more sense. The appliances also looked better in more detail, not worse as I initially feared. The tube on the side of Picard's face doesn't just attach to jaw, it looks like there is more hardware under the skin, and it looks great in close-ups.
- They redid completely the pass of Saturn by the cube and the Enterprise, and it looks like they used photos from the Cassini probe to make the planet look as real as possible. You can see gas swirls on a far more nuanced planet, and the rings looked less sharp, but thus more realistic.
- The explosion of the cube was redone for the Bluray, and it still uses the original explosion but fleshes it out a little with some additional layers behind it to make it more realistic, and I think they succeeded.
One small complaint, and I suppose this is aimed more at the standalone release of this episode. They aired as a feature length, single episode, and only played the opening credits after the first teaser. The only real problem with this was we get Riker saying, "Mr. Worf....fire," and literally the next frame is the deflector discharging. So we didn't get the awesome To Be Continued... music cue and dramatically speaking, that line really needs a moment to breath. I hope on the actual discs, they are maintained as two separate episodes. Just like when they split Encounter at Farpoint or All Good Things or Way of the Warrior into two episodes for reruns, the point of the split always feels slightly off, like it's not really a cliffhanger. Here skipping the cliffhanger was a little jarring. Even a fade to black and a quick return, sans Majel Barrett's recap, would have worked. It's a small quibble, but other than that moment, the entire project has hewed so sucessfully to the original intent of the creators that it seems odd no one caught that when planning this.
Overall, it was an awesome episode presented beautifully and a good time was had by all. I kind of hope they do this again for Season 4 and use Redemption, so we get to see both season 4 and season 5. I have already preordered my copy of season 3 as I assume Matt has. As soon as we get them, we'll start re-reviewing them for the blog.