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First off, I am a Trek fan, but not obsessively so.
Secondly, this is not your standard Star Trek film, it is entirely different to all the subsequent movies. Indeed by Wrath of Khan a completely different tone had been adopted for the series.
The Motion Picture is much closer to 2001: A Space Odyssey in feel than it is to Wrath of Khan - it is mystical, profound, moving and intelligent. It is also, as others have noted, stunning visually.
Sci-Fi has rarely felt this epic. The sheer scale of the VGER craft, and the secret that lies at its heart are astonishing and humbling. This is a film about what it is to be human, presenting this timeless question in a new and provocative way.
Forget your preconceptions, and watch the more recent Director's cut. This is a wonderful film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Star Trek ended in 1969, it led to the birth of the entire Star
Trek phenomenon. Once it disappeared from TV screens, it awakened the
spirits of fans all over the world. Paramount had no idea that such a
huge fanbase existed for the series, and wasted no time in putting the
show back on the air through re-runs and syndication. It eventually
grew out into the cultural phenomenon it is today.
But the fans weren't completely satisfied with just having repeats to enjoy. They wanted Star Trek back. They wanted whole new adventures. With Star Wars developing its own SF phenomenon in the late 70s, Gene Roddenberry shrewdly decided now was the time to bring Star Trek back. To the big screen.
But Star Trek: The Motion Picture opened to indifferent response. Despite what many people would have you believe, the film was not a box-office flop. It recouped handsomely on its investment. It was just seen as a profound disappointment to the legions of fans who had held a candle for the series all these years. Many people felt the group ensemble had become swallowed up by the Hollywood movie machine. And it started off the whole belief that even numbered Trek films are bad, while the odd numbered sagas are good.
But I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a damn good film. In fact its a film that deserves more respect than it gets. Many of the future Trek spin-offs owe a lot to this film. Because without it, its doubtful there would have been a Star Trek: The Next Generation (interestingly the theme music for the show originated in this movie) at all. And it has some of the most breathtaking special effects you're ever likely to see in a Star Trek film.
A gigantic space cloud is on a course to Earth. Its already destroyed three Klingon Attack Cruisers, and Starfleet may very well be next. The Enterprise is in drydock, and the only vessel within range that can intercept the cloud. Now Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) uses the crisis as an opportunity to retake command of the upgraded Enterprise, and takes the ship on a wondrous journey through the deepest recesses of the mysterious cloud to discover its intent.
I think Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a sadly unappreciated film. At its core is the very ideal that Star Trek stands for. Exploring new frontiers. Pushing back all the boundaries. Boldly going where no one has gone before. All of the other Star Trek films have sadly avoided the exploration of the unknown. Pt 1 is the only film in the series that made a conscious decision to map out and expand upon the idea of space exploration in the show, while the others put the cast at the mercies of some extremely variable plot lines.
A lot of people have criticised the film's almost snail-like pace. But the best type of SF starts slowly, and allows it to build a sense of grandeur. Films like Alien, and especially 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact as I watched the film, I was reminded of the time I saw 2001 for the first time. The same sense of wonder. Of something transcendent and immense. Few SF films have touched upon the profundity of space and time like 2001 did. But Star Trek: The Motion Picture is one of the few that can join the club.
The way the mystery slowly unfolds is conducted quite beautifully. As the Enterprise penetrates deeper and deeper into the cloud, you become quite enthralled. And awed. Paramount allegedly lavished a 47 million dollar budget on the film, and it shows. The special effects sequences are absolutely dazzling. The cloud's interior resembles a vast kaleidoscope of colour, textures and lighting. There is so much to see in every corner of the screen. No matter how many times you watch the film, you will notice something different.
There were times though that I felt the effects technicians were using every opportunity to show off. The outside tour of the Enterprise is a bit longer than it needs to be. The wormhole sequence could have been edited out altogether, and the Enterprise's journey through the cloud sometimes felt like a guided tour of Universal Studios. But contrary to popular belief, I felt the cast weren't overshadowed by the effects. Unlike most film/TV crossovers, Star Trek opens up onto the big screen with tremendous confidence.
As usual, Chekov, Sulu and Uhura only fill out the background while Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty take the stage. But that doesn't hurt the film as much as you might think. Spock in particular gets a hefty dilemma to tackle. Trying to purge himself of all emotion, he finds himself drawn to this vast entity. A creature of pure logic and no feeling. Sensing a kinship, he comes to share some of his own experiences with it, and the two are all the better for it. Watching Spock shed a tear is subtle, understated and very powerful.
The film's finale could seem an anticlimax, especially after the protracted buildup. A NASA satellite evolved into a new lifeform trying to make contact with its long dead creator. There is something amusing about such a vastly powerful entity capable of storing entire star systems within itself, yet it can't even scrape the dirt off of its own nameplate. But I still think Star Trek: The Motion Picture is an underrated effort. It has much to recommend. The theme by the late Jerry Goldsmith is haunting, eerie and uplifting at all of the right moments. Its a dazzling visual experience. Quite thought-provoking. And so much better than all the negative publicity would have you believe.
This movie is NOT for casual movie fans. It's only for the true star trek
fan. It's a bit long-winded. It's surely not the most actionful movie.
movie, instead, is dedicated to true Star Trek fans.
The plot is quite original (especially when considering the time it was produced!), and is really thoughtful.
For people who didn't understand this movie, just don't rate the movie. I am not going to comment on a genre which i don't like either. This movie is dedicated to a small group of Star Trek lovers. If you think you are one of those, you really have to see this movie. It's one of my best! I gave it a 10.
Star Trek: TMP has been panned since its' release for being slow,
boring, cold and pretentious. I disagree...Star Trek: TMP is STILL the
best of the nine movies to date. I find it amusing that fans always go
on about how Trek never captures Gene Roddenberry's vision of the
future...but here, when they actually GOT it for once, all they could
do was pour scorn. TMP is an *epic*...full of imposing images, with
suitably majestic music. The sequence where the Enterprise penetrates
V'GER's cloud barrier is a visual tour de force akin to 2001 - the
movie that TMP owes the most to on all counts. The whole film emanates
an air of unearthly weirdness that I dig enormously. Almost every shot
is packed with visual information that demands repeat screenings.
Granted, the film's pacing is bad, but that's because Robert Wise
wasn't given long enough to cut it properly! Vital character scenes
that should have remained were deleted...the extended cut brought out
on video shows just how good the movie could've been had they just
spent a bit more time on it. Now that the heavily reworked DVD edition
is out, people can see the movie as it should have been from the
beginning. BRILLIANT movie...damn the critics. For the next two films,
it was forced humour and mawkish melodrama...you can keep that, I'll
have cold alien beauty any day.
Belated update...the DVD Directors Edition is the only way to see this movie. Truly brilliant...TMP as the late Bob Wise wanted it to be. If you can't get that, the TV version is better than the theatrical cut, even if the sound is appalling and some of the matte effects aren't there!
Star Trek the Motion Picture is a true classic that is critically
unrecognized. Unfortunately this is because today's audience doesn't see
beauty and message behind this Robert Wise (the sound of music)
When wise vision this film he dreamed for it to have the impact which "2001" gave to its audiences, but sadly audiences of the late seventies had already found a new and more interesting form of sci-fi - Star Wars.
It is because of this lack of interest, which caused people to criticize it as "boring", "uneventful" and "Lacking action and pace". This however is not what the true Star Trek television phenomenon was ever about. It was based on moral issues and meaningful story themes and this is what Wise has built up in The Motion Picture. From Spock's emotional struggle to V'GER'S missions true purpose, which are both connected as humane achievements which prove to be what both beings are all about.
Another aspect that Wise introduced into the Star Trek phenomenon was the critically acclaimed special effects. He thankfully succeeded to awe us with the magic he created through the images and wonders then and still to this day.
Unfortunately the acting and dialog in the films center became a quite stale, causing it to drag on for a period of time. But when you have a main cast whose only real big experience was in television nothing really can be helped.
Not only Star Trek fans but also people looking for a movie with true meaning and a great story should definitely look this movie back. With the new Directors special coming out this year which has been reworked with extra scenes, updated special effects and sound, which were all in Wise's original vision, but couldn't be produced due to budgetary constraints added, this film will hopefully be recognized for the classic sci-fi movie it is.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Note: Based on the Director's Edition version.)
Star Trek -The Motion Picture took years of fan efforts, writing, and planning to get moving. The results of the filmmakers, especially at the hands of the late great Robert Wise, proves to have been well-worth the effort. While the original version was lacking in several key areas, this "director's edition" version completes the film and creates a fine science fiction film.
The acting in the film is good stuff. All of the show's original cast members return to their roles as if they had never left them. This is especially true with Leonard Nemoy, whose performance as Spock is the films single best performance. The chemistry between him, William Shatner and Deforest Kelly is still there and it is apparent in many scenes in the film. This is true especially in the final third of the film after Spock's mind meld with V-Ger.
The two major additions to the cast (Stephen Collins as Decker and Persis Khambatta as Lieutenant Ilia) are both welcome additions and they hold their own when up with the rest of the cast. Their relationship is the emotional center of the film and they alone really do sell the ending of the film.
The films special effects are top-notch even today. The original effects are still as convincing as ever and they really do sell the films story. The space dock sequence in particular is a marvelous piece of special effects work and is the final shot of the Enterprise in the film as it goes into warp speed. The wormhole sequence is impressive also and the new CGI additions help out immensely. Indeed the whole V-Ger journey sequence is one of the most impressive special effects pieces ever to be put on film. The new CGI pieces add new shots to the film including an awe-inspiring reveal of the V-Ger craft.
The film is perhaps best described in that it is Star Trek meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film does have some action and suspense to it (the wormhole sequence for example) but overall this is a think person's movie. The film takes some of the way-out there ideas of the New Age and puts them into something that is both entertaining and thought provoking. The writing of the film is nothing special in terms of dialogue. If you just read the lines the film wouldn't be that impressive especially in many of the arguments between characters. This is a perfect example of how good actors can make an average script into a great movie. But the script does have a great premise to it. The premise of V-Ger might sound a little bit familiar to die-hard fans of the original Star Trek series but overall it is still a very original and novel premise.
The music Jerry Goldsmith score for the film is, for lack of a better term, a masterpiece. The overture of the Ilia theme is a beautiful piece of music and serves as the emotional center of the score. There is also the much more famous piece of music from the film: the main title theme. The main title theme is a loud, bombastic, and exciting piece of music to say the least. Its quieted down version pops up throughout the film and it never fails to carry a sense of excitement and awe when it appears. This score is arguably the best that Goldsmith created in his long career and it is a shame that he didn't win the Academy Award for this score.
Star Trek The Motion Picture is the think person's science fiction movie. While it might be tediously paced for many fans used to the more action driven films of the series, if you want a film that is both entertaining and awe-inspiring, then this is the film to see. This is the one of the best Star Trek film and a classic of the science fiction genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" relaunched the USS Enterprise and its crew
led by Captain Kirk (William Shatner) into a dangerous mission. A gigantic
cloud is making its way towards Earth and has already destroyed three
heavily armed Klingon Cruisers as well as a Federation Deep Space outpost.
Along the way to their rendezvous with the cloud Captain Spock (Leonard
Nimoy) rejoins the crew. He is able to repair the ship's untested Warp Core
and the Enterprise reaches the cloud with a day to spare. They begin a
hazardous mission inside it and along the way their navigator Ilia (Persis
Khambatta) is kidnapped and replaced with a probe from the alien ship named
'Vejur'. Ilia-Probe states repeatedly that Vejur is seeking his creator.
When his signals go unanswered Vejur begins an attack on Earth which is
halted when Kirk and crew discover that Vejur is infact the Voyager space
probe that was lost three hundred years earlier. To complete Vejur's
programming Commander Decker (Stephen Collins) sacrifices himself and merges
with its massive databanks. A stunning and beautifully designed film that
explores many deep issues and is sadly underrated by many "Star Trek"
I've heard George Lucas talk about the change of pacing between films
of the 1970's and of films now. He talked about how the pacing of the
first Star Wars film was considered rapid at the time but by today's
standards, pretty slow. I feel the same can be said about the first
Star Trek film (The Motion Picture). The first hour of this film is
quite a drag. The special effects are dated, but sometimes that can be
forgiven if the story around it is epic (Original Star Wars). The story
for this film is embroiled in mystery as we don't even know who or what
the villain is for close to an hour and a half.
Overall, I think I can say I enjoyed watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture as it brings back all of the same characters and dynamics from the original series, but the story dragged and I don't feel like this was the particular plot they should have revolved the first feature film around.
The enterprise this time is investigating an alien spacecraft that gets mysteriously close to earth, known as V'Ger. Captain Kirk returned back to his position as head of the Starship Enterprise. Kirk replaced the new head of the enterprise, Decker. Obviously, you know that the dynamic between the two will have plenty of tension knowing there's two captains in the same ship, but it doesn't go to the extent that a normal Hollywood film would do.
Yes, the tone and feel of the film is the same as the series but I think it was lacking the magic. There's a lot of time in the film spent on showing the numerous special effects shots and set pieces they created for the film. With that said, I don't feel like there was enough time spent on character development for people who didn't know the characters from the TV show.
It's not that Star Trek: The Motion Picture isn't a good entry in the series, it's just that there's merely nothing special at all about the film. Its constantly told to us that this mission is to save the entire human race and has a huge scope, but we don't really see that being played out. I liked the ending reveal involving V'Ger, but it didn't save the film from being an average entry in a history franchise.
+Same feel as the series
-Don't get a sense of the scope they were going for
-Too much time spent on establishing shots and showing off average special effects
The recent deaths of Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett made me want to
see "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". Amid all the nerdy stuff, the
movie is more of a philosophical look at humanity's place in the
universe. V'Ger's communication attempts mirror HAL's discussions with
humans in "2001". Even Spock - usually the guy who has a problem
understanding emotions - proclaims "Logic is not enough".
It probably surprised people that Robert Wise (previously known as the director of "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music") directed a movie that was sure to appeal to nerds. I, for one, imagine songs like "I've Just Met a Girl Named Ilia" and "The Stars Are Alive with the Sound of V'Ger". But Wise knew what he was doing here (he was wise to direct it, you might say).
My personal favorite of the the Star Trek movies is "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", in which the Enterprise goes back in time to pick up some whales. But I also recommend this one. The franchise remains one of the most intellectual ones ever (the Star Wars franchise always seemed like it went more for high action). It's not a masterpiece, but I enjoyed it.
As for Nimoy and Bennett, there's no doubt that both of them lived long and prospered.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember loving the T.V show as a kid, the original that is, and
watching The Wrath Of Khan quite a bit, however the Original is just a
big bore. The special effects still hold up decently today,the acting
itself is just fine,it's gorgeous to look at. But the film is highly
confusing,with a story that often seems all over the place. What was
the point in giving us characters we don't give a damn about? I mean
they didn't give us Spock, until halfway into the film, and by that
time I had stopped caring completely. I thought the film was finally
going somewhere with the growing tension between,Captain Kirk and
Decker,but it all just seemed to stop after that,by growing more and
more boring by the second. Maybe I didn't get the point to this
movie,maybe I just didn't get it,but according to other reviews on
here,I'm definitely not the main minority. I Can see why this movie
angered a lot of Star Trek fans,It's downright dull,nothing ever really
happens,and it gave us non interesting characters. It's well made,it
looks great visually,the special effects as I said,are decent,even
breathtaking for that time,but at 136 minutes it's unbearable at times.
The Performances. William Shatner IS Star Treak if you ask me. He created an icon,a legend if you will,in Captain Kirk. But here he seems uncomfortable,and rightfully so. The film is all over the place and Shatner does what he can with the material. Leonard Nimoy is pretty good as Spock. To some his non socializing skills may be annoying,but I thought it added a great sense of mysteriousness to him,I also enjoyed his banter with Shatner. DeForest Kelley is solid as a rock as Bones,I really liked him. Persis Khambatta is downright creepy,I don't know if she was intended to be that way,but she sure Creeped the hell out of me!. Stephen Collins's smug performance here is on and off. I thought his character was rather needless to be honest,except for a couple of scenes with Shatner that provided tension.
Bottom Line. I feel fans are probably half and half on this film. The casual viewer will surely be bored,but die hard Trek fans will surely find a lot of worthwhile stuff,i'm sure. I won't watch this ever again,but it did have a decent amount going for it. It's a milestone in movie history,but none one I care to revisit. Worth a look for historical purposes,but not much else.
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