Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Okay, so you’ve either watched all of the Star Trek: The Original Series episodes I reviewed on my blog or your became even more skeptical and you decided to wait and see if there was a movie you could watch instead that was perhaps a little better. If the latter, you’re in for a rude awakening if you think Star Trek: The Motion Picture will fill that void.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which I will dub Star Trek I for simplicity’s sake) was released in 1979 and was the first time our familiar cast has reappeared together since the series was cancelled in 1969. There was of course, Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1973-1974, if you insist on counting that.
Our movie begins with three Klingon battlecruisers on an intercept course with a very large cloud. I don’t care what anyone says about the rest of the movie…K’Tinga class battlecruisers still look awesome, enough said.
Star Trek fans may have noticed that the flat foreheads the Klingons sported in The Original Series and The Animated Series are gone. They now have ridges, though I suspect the makeup artist was on strike. I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong with them, but it’s like someone abducted Beldar and the rest of the Coneheads, changed their skin color, and threw pubic hair on their head and face and called it an evening.
What is the Klingon word for “blech?”
Anyway, the Klingons get their behinds handed to them on a platter and eventually Starfleet is made aware of the situation. Before we can see what sort of response Starfleet has in mind, we get a quick five-minute scene of Spock about to become a full-fledged Vulcan through the process of Kolinahr, the shedding of all emotion and ties with your former life to devote the rest of your days to pure logic. Spock senses the cloud which stirs up a little emotion and he ends up failing the test. One of Spock’s most attractive character traits is the fact that he is half human and I’ve personally enjoyed watching him as a character being pulled between his emotional human half and logical Vulcan half. I’m glad the writers kept him as is.
Followed by, “Yeah, up yours too.”
Admiral Kirk discovers that the Enterprise is launching to face this new threat and pulls some strings to take command away from Captain Decker so that he could sit in the big chair one more time. We knew Kirk was a bit of a jerk, but this was a pretty big you know what move. Decker oversaw the refit of the Enterprise and deserved the ship…oh well, such is Hollywood right?
Before I go any further, you may have noticed that Starfleet decided to change their attire. Either that, or it was “wear your pajamas to work week.” Those things are absolutely hideous. Also, why the fanny pack? Again…blech.
Can you really call these, “uniforms?”
So Kirk leaves via pod to board the Enterprise…this is the point where if you need to use the restroom, cook dinner, build a house, you name it, you’ll have the time to do it. It’s almost as if Kirk absolutely refuses to board the Enterprise until the soundtrack catches up with him. We get it, it’s been ten years since fans have seen the Enterprise in all of its glory, but we don’t need a five-minute scene of Kirk ogling his new ship.
Kirk: Is that the Enterprise?
Kirk: You sure?
Scotty: *Sigh* Uh huh.
Kirk: So…what you’re saying is…that’s the ship?
Scotty: Bloody hell…
Spock ends up joining the crew as science officer via shuttle, seeing as how he really had no where else to go at this point. There’s a little verbal sparring between Kirk and Decker with McCoy offering his sage advice in the background, nothing out of the ordinary.
They finally get to the cloud and like the Klingons, they get their behinds handed to them as well. It turns out though that saying hello and transmitting stuff was the key to not being blown up. The Enterprise is then invited and then pulled inside. If you need another bathroom break, to cook dinner again, or to build a second vacation home in the Caribbean, now would be the time. This time, the Enterprise refuses to get to the end of the line until the soundtrack is over and every possible visual effect that was available in the 1970′s is exhausted.
Kirk: What…is that?
Decker: Looks like an alien cloud.
Sulu: Looks like…an alien cloud.
Kirk: Kirk to engineering…Scotty what do you make of that?
Spock: “Mr. Scott says, and I quote, ‘not this bullocks again.'”
Kirk: Whatever it is…it’s bright.
More stuff happens after that, a crew member gets abducted and transformed to speak for the cloud, people talk some more, Spock takes off on his own quest to talk to the cloud…oh yeah…appreantly they didn’t exhaust all of the special effects from the last ten minute cruise inside of the cloud. I guess they hired a guy midway through the movie that promised to deliver more diverse, nauseating special effects for another ten minute sequence. Those on acid trips however may find it appealing.
Spock: I’m recording this in the hopes that my log will serve useful…
Spock: I’m still floating forward. Ahead of me are some special effects: a lens flare…a planet…
Spock: I’ve just entered what appears to be Nikola Tesla’s living room.
Spock: Captain…you’re not going to believe this. I believe the phrase is “bow chicka wow wow.”
Spock: I believe I’m now coming in for a landing at Los Angeles International Airport.
Spock: It appears that their gift shop is selling oversized plasma globes.
Spock: I’m going to attempt to mind meld with an alien entity, which always turns out well…AHHHHHHHH!!!!!
If you’re still watching the movie at this point, kudos to you. The end is in sight, not to worry. The Enterprise gets pulled to its final spot within the cloud and Kirk and company take a stroll to meet the cloud, which at this point they learn is called “V’Ger”. In a surprising twist (Warning: 30-year-old spoilers) it turns out that V’Ger is really Voyager 6, an earth space probe lost in the twentieth century that somehow merged with an alien entity. It was programmed by the aliens to gather information, however V’Ger ended up developing a consciousness and the desire to become one with its creator, man. Decker makes the choice to merge with the machine and boom, Kirk saves the day.
Really? That’s it?
Overall, it feels like the creators of the movie knew that the story sucked so they tried to overcompensate with special effects. They could have done better. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to the newcomer, you’d never want to see Star Trek again. For those of you who did see the movie…show of hands, how many of you felt the same way?
Kirk: *Cough* Ahem!