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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly
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Star Trek: The Motion Picture – the first big screen reuniting the cast of the Enterprise, sadly a hodgepodge of old scripts …

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly

The Federation calls on Adm. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the Starship Enterprise to contain an immense nimbused object that’s on a crash course with Earth. After investigating, the crew discovers that the alien cloud harbors artificial intelligence with an ominous primary directive. Crisis strikes when a probe dispatched by the energy cloud attacks the crew, abducting navigator Lt. Ilia (Persis Khambatta). An android look-alike containing her memories shows up soon after. 


Like so many Star Trek fans, I had high hopes for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And, like so many fans, I was sorely disappointed. It’s a hodgepodge of old scripts, mixed in with some new plot points. On the one hand, it was great to see the original cast of Star Trek reunited. The actors fell back into their old roles, seemingly effortlessly. The special effects of the ship, Klingon warships, etc. all look fine. The split is a tangled mess.

The beginning of the film’s actually fine. There’s an unknown something on a direct course with Earth, and clearly hostile. It destroys two Klingon Birds of Prey in the first minutes of the film. The only ship close enough to intercept is the USS Enterprise. But it’s not ready after a refit, and untested. And the crew is unfamiliar with the new equipment.

To make things worse, Admiral Kirk is pulling rank, to act as the captain of the ship, pushing Captain Decker aside. To this point, everything’s fine.

Then, Bad Things start happening:

  • Wormhole when they first try to implement warp drive. Annoying, both audio and visually.
  • The “going into warp” special effects look almost cartoonish.
  • The “journey into the cloud” takes so long, it’s literally boring.
  • When they finally find out what “V’ger” is — doesn’t it sound like Nomad from Star Trek: The Original Series? Why, yes … It’s the exact same story.
  • Spock learns — once again — that pure logic is sterile, hopeless.
  • Throughout the entire movie, the junior officers – Sulu, Shura, Checkov, Chapel — all have virtually nothing to do.

In conclusion, it’s not a good movie. It’s not Plan 9 from Outer Space level bad, but it’s not good.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Product Description 

Director Robert Wise’s definitive vision, eagerly anticipated by STAR TREK fans for over two decades, has been meticulously restored and remastered for optimal picture and sound. This must-have release features a bonus disc with hours of new and legacy special features, including extensive behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, and more. The adventure begins when an unidentified alien intruder destroys three powerful Klingon cruisers. Captain James T. Kirk boldly returns to the helm of a newly transformed U.S.S. Enterprise to take command. This bold adventure launched one of the longest running movie franchises of all time and features the cast of the original STAR TREK series, including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, and James Doohan.

Cast of characters

  • William Shatner (Kingdom of the Spiders) … Admiral James T Kirk. He’s correct about the urgency of the situation, and the need to get the Enterprise to the alien incursion as quickly as possible. He’s wrong about a lot else. Not trusting his crew, including his oldest friend, self-doubt, etc.
  • Leonard Nimoy (Mission: Impossible) … Spock. On his home planet of Vulcan, he’s about to achieve Kohlinar – the expulsion of all emotions. But something from the mystery space cloud is calling to him telepathically. He comes to rejoin the Enterprise crew, to help them with their warp drive issue. And he’s very distant emotionally.
  • DeForest Kelley (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; Night of the Lepus) … Dr. McCoy. Dragged back into active service by his friend, the Admiral. And tells him uncomfortable truths that he needs to hear.
  • James DoohanScotty. Chief engineer, trying to get the ship operational.
  • Persis KhambattaIlia. The Delta navigator, with a broken romance with Decker. She feels the need to announce her celibacy pledge to the entire bridge, for no reason.
  • Stephen Collins (Seventh Heaven) … Captain Decker. He actually has the spine to stand up to the Admiral, when he’s wrong. And, there’s clearly an unresolved romance with Ilia.

Secondary characters

  • George Takei (The Big Mouth) … Sulu
  • Majel Barrett (Westworld) … Dr. Christine Chapel
  • Walter Koenig (Babylon 5) … Chekov
  • Nichelle NicholsUhura
  • Grace Lee WhitneyJanice Rand. Promoted to chief transporter engineer.
  • Mark Lenard (The Greatest Story Ever Told) … Klingon Captain

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