Star Trek: The Motion Picture

In my review of Star Trek: The Motion Picture I will be reviewing the director’s cut. The first of  along line of Star Trek films came out in 1979, ten years after the cancellation of the original series. I won’t go into the history of the making of this movie,or how it came into being, that really isn’t the focus of this post.

This movie has been dubbed Star Trek: The Motionless Picture. Robert Wise was the director who had numerous great films under his belt. He won an Academy award for Best Director for the 1961 movie, West Side Story. He also directed science-fiction classics The Day the Earth Stood Still and the Andromeda Strain. Although the movie did make $139 million on a $46 million budget it was basically panned by critics and fans alike for being dull, boring and plodding despite state of the art special effects. I will give a short synopsis of the movie and then review both the pros and cons.

Synopsis: A large cloud has invaded the galaxy destroying Klingon war ships and space stations. On Vulcan Spock is under going the Kolinahr discipline to purge himself from his remaining emotions. When he sense an intelligence somewhere in the galaxy he stops the process. Meanwhile a newly designed USS Enterprise under the command of Captain Will Decker is in space dock. Admiral Kirk convinces Starfleet to take command of the Enterprise to intercept the cloud.

Enroute to the cloud Spock meets up with the Enterprise and joins as science officer. Ilia, the Deltan navigator of the Enterprise is abducted when the crew first encounters the alien cloud. She is sent back to the ship as a robotic artificial life form to learn about the crew. As tensions mount between Admiral Kirk and Commander Decker (temporarily demoted to that rank) the crew encounters what is at the center of the cloud. It calls itself V’Ger but it turns out to be an old earth probe, Voyager VI, that had been repaired by a machine planet and returned to earth to complete its mission. In order to evolve and learn more V’Ger unites with Ilia and Commander Decker.

I will first state the CONs:This movie can be slow and prodding at times. Todays movies are paced faster but even in 1979 it was a slow movie. Production was delayed and the release date was not changed so at the time of release the theatrical version could not be changed much to Robert Wise’s chagrin. The color scheme, looking to pay homage to 2001: A Space Oddesy, was bland and uninspiring.

PROs: I must admit, even in 1979 the nostalgia factor influenced me. It was 10 years after the series had been canceled (back then when I was in my mid teens that was an eternity. I love the almost 5 minutes of seeing the new updated Enterprise. The old series used to show the Enterprise from very limited perspectives so the showing off of the new ship was, and still is, a wonderful sight to behold. I also enjoyed how all the crew are reunited. The redesigned bridge is wonderful too. When Spock returns to the Enterprise and walk on the bridge unexpectedly it is like the king has returned. A very dramatic moment and my favorite scene in the movie.

I enjoy the story too. Some fans complain about the story being nothing more than a retread of the series episode The Changeling where Kirk and the Enterprise encounter a machine that is returning to earth join with its creator. While I do admit there are similar elements it doesn’t bother me. Finding out that at the heart of the cloud was V’Ger an old  Voyager VI was an unexpected and creative twist that I enjoyed in 1979 and still enjoy in 2013.

I may be in the minority enjoying this movie, but I am used to that. There are other franchises where I may like a movie that others do not. I think my enjoyment of the series is due to nostalgia. The movie does play into that. If you did not grow up in the 60s and 70s watching the series on cable waiting for the movie to be made then you might not understand the nostalgia. Many fans that grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space 9 do not often understand the nostalgic attachment to the first movie.


About liamfoley63

I was born in 1963 and that is relevant to my development of my love for science-fiction and fantasy movies, comic books, superheroes and many other things attributed to Nerd culture. In the 60s I watched all the Saturday afternoon Godzilla and monster movies I could take. In the 70s I became hooked on Star Trek. I am also an artist (in my own mind at least) and a musician. I enjoy learning about physics, astrophysics, chemistry and earth silences such as meteorology, anthropology, paleontology. When I reached my late 30s I began to re-explore my nerd roots. I reconnected with my love of science fiction and fantasy movies along with the other science related topics. For this blog I will focus on movie and TV reviews for science fiction and fantasy and post my thoughts on up coming movies. I will also include some fun facts from the various sciences I enjoy along with weather facts and bits from royalty and history. What I will not discuss is religion and politics. I am married to a beautiful woman named Sarah and have a lovely daughter named Danielle.

Posted on March 15, 2013, in Old Movie Review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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