Monday, July 16, 2012

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Consider this promise kept.

The first Star Trek motion picture ends with this sentence.

The human adventure is just beginning.

Quite true.

Star Trek continues to entertain movie-goers more than 30 years after this big screen debut. After the original Star Trek crew faded to black, and The Next Generation came and went, JJ Abrams rebooted the franchise with, yes, Star Trek in 2009.


I can't remember if I saw STTMP upon its first release. I do remember mixed reaction to the return of the USS Enterprise at the time.

The DVD I viewed is a director's cut from the legendary Robert Wise (The Sound of Music). Tight timelines prevented STTMP from having all the special effects ready for its December 1979 release.

That's definitely taken care of in this version. The special effects are stellar throughout this film's 136-minute running time. This space trip is definitely worth the ride.


All the original crew is back with Capt. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Sulu (George Takei) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) ready to save Earth from a huge, powerful blue cloud that vaporizes spacecraft at will.

Enterprise, being fixed up in a dry dock (symbolism, anyone?) is the closest Starfleet ship to said cloud.

Kirk, now an admiral, doesn't impress the ship's captain, Decker (Stephen Collins) when he shows up and bumps him down in rank. There's some on-board conflict for you. Decker may be fuming at Kirk, but he's also smitten with the return of Ilia (Persis Khambatta), an old love interest.


STTMP's plot is an interesting one. Where did this cloud get all its power? The answer, revealed at about the two-hour mark, feels a bit like a Twilight Zone episode.

There aren't many laughs, but Bones McCoy gets to deliver what gems there are.

The only thing that doesn't age well is the choice of fashions most of the crew sports. Ouch.

RATING: 8/10

FACTS FROM THE GALAXY: Persis Khambatta died of a heart attack in 1998. She was 49.

Stephen Collins appeared as Mr. Harter in the recent film version of The Three Stooges.

Nichelle Nichols was a dancer in the film version of Porgy and Bess.

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