In 1979 everyone was talking about Star Trek, the series had been canceled but fans around the world had the space shuttle named Enterprise and they petitioned for new shows and of course for movies. Growing up on reruns of the show that were filmed when I was a child watching on a new brand new expensive 10 in black and white TV, I was thrilled that there were going to be more done with the series. That was the past and this is now, a time when many people just don’t have an appreciation for what gave them the blockbuster hit Star Trek staring Chris Pine. I hope this review and others that follow will show just how dedicated fans can be to get something done.
The first movie in the series of 10 films, 11 if you count the Chris Pine film, is directed by Robert Wise and features the acting talents of William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and DeForest Kelley as the ever pragmatic Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. We also see many of the actors and actresses from the TV show including Rand and Chapel as well as our favorite members of the bridge crew Sulu, Chekov and of course Uhura. What a walk down memory lane with this film.
Star Trek The Motion Picture has many nicknames, Star Trek The Motionless Picture is the one mostly used and helped to start the axiom that even numbered Trek films don’t suck. I wouldn’t say that ST1 sucked, but it was fairly slow considering that the whole planet was about to be destroyed for the umpteenth time. I swear I can see on the actor’s faces the director saying “Ok, look up, good good, now left, perfect, now up. Ok, wait for it, wait for it now looked shocked and weepy at the empty space that you see that is supposed to be the Enterprise” There are many scenes like this in the film and get kind of old at times. To give you an idea of just how slow things can be there was an over 2 minute intro of nothing but a star field zooming by.
So here is the plot: Man builds machine; machine gets lost; another man has a fling and meets fling on a ship; Ship goes to find that the machine has come back; machine kidnaps fling and copies fling; Fling merges with man and ship is saved. Literally that is the plot of the film with a lot of beauty shots to fill in all the gaps and to take up time, a lot of time, a huge amount of time. Watching this film make sure your wide awake with some coffee and get up often to move around, this film about killed Trek.
Its not a bad film. Could it have been done better? Yes. Too many parts of the film feel like they were done for Epcot and the World of Tomorrow then what you would think would be done for a full length feature film. For gods sake, it took what felt like 5 minutes to fly from the space station to the docking ring on the Enterprise. If the beauty shots were minimized I think this film would be less then an hour instead of the 2 plus hours that it is. The film is definitely worth seeing but you might want to fast forward though the “scenery” so that you can see the film. This is not the action film you would expect from what you saw when you first saw the series. If the fans had not gone in droves to the theater I don’t think another film would have ever been made. I am sure glad we all went to see it and bugged the studio enough to keep giving us more.