Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) Poster

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It's Continuing Mission
bkoganbing29 December 2010
Star Trek: The Motion Picture has its unique place in cinema history as probably the first television series to get a big screen motion picture. Completely due to its special fan base, the like of which has never been seen before or since.

In order to keep the phenomenon going Gene Roddenberry knew he had to have something special to offer and he did. The continuity from the television series was accomplished effortlessly, in fact one of the new characters Commander William Decker is the son of William Windom who was another starship captain in an episode. More I can't say less I give the plot away.

In fact Decker played by Stephen Collins would be commanding the newly fitted Enterprise if it were on a routine mission. But with the threat of an immense alien being on a direct path to earth now Admiral James T. Kirk takes command of the starship himself and with Decker reunites all the old crew from the TV series to meet the threat.

Fans of the original series will also see the similarities in plot between another episode involving the Enterprise meeting up with an old space probe that now has taken on some new functions. The same idea forms the basis of this film's story although in every way it has been expanded and a new ending conceived. Here's a hint, a budding relationship between Collins and new ship's lieutenant Persis Khambatta is what ultimately saves the earth.

Just as you remember them William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Walter Koenig are all back and completely in character as you remember them. The new people Collins, Khambatta and the rest are integrated nicely into the story.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture received three Academy Award nominations, for Best Art&Set Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Musical Score. The special effects never overwhelm the telling of a good story which is the primary mission and best asset of the original television series and its successors.

If you're not a Trekkie before seeing this film, you may be come one upon viewing.
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Who is 'VGER'?
whitepe5 March 2000
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the first film in the Star Trek series, the most successful series in movie history. After all, the fact that a movie series can hold the public's interest for 21 years (and nine films) and that the whole Star Trek concept is alive and well after over 30 years says something about the genius of Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek's creator.

People seem to cricitize this film heavily. Some of the criticisms of the film that I have heard in my discussions with people include phrases such as "frightfully boring," "way too long," and "chronically lacking in action." However, if that is all you saw in the film, then you clearly missed out on the film's beauty. This film is not about guns, explosions, blood, or machismo. It is about the philosophical relationship between logic and emotion.

The film is masterfully directed by Robert Wise, the academy award winning director of "The Sound of Music." The film reunites the original cast of the Star Trek series with a few new faces ... Stephen Collins as "Capt. Decker" and Persis Khambata as "Lt. Ilia". It also recaps the events that have transpired in each original series character since the television series in the late 60's with a sensitivity to newcomers to the Star Trek universe. It effectively introduces newcomers to Star Trek without insulting the intelligence of those of us who are thoroughly familiar with Star Trek.

The plot features an intelligent, logical entity that calls itself VGER. VGER is an innocent entity with one mission ... "learn all that is learnable... transmit that information to the creator." VGER in its incredible journey has in essence gained knowledge that spans the very essence of the universe. VGER now has set a course for Earth in an attempt to share its knowledge with its creator. VGER believes that its creator is on Earth.

VGER becomes a threat to life on Earth when its destroys three Klignon vessels and a Federation space station with incredible destructive power. To counter this threat, Admiral Kirk takes command of the Enterprise and leads the Enterprise in an intriguing battle with this alien entity.

While battling this alien entity, Admiral Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew learn about the relationship between human logic and emotion. They explore philosophical issues such as "Is this all that I am?" and "Is there nothing more?". I believe Spock summarizes the quest for answers to these questions by his statement about two-thirds of the way into the film that indicates that "logic alone is not enough". They eventually learn to appreciate the unique attributes that make us human ... "our weaknesses ... and the drive that compels us to overcome them."

In conclusion, this film has a great plot, great special effects, and excellent music and cinematography. Definitely see it if you are truly interested in taking a philosophical journey into the essence of what makes us human.
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Is This All We Are, Is There Nothing More?
ThomasDrufke25 January 2016
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

+Cool reveal

-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

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an under-rated film
FlickB9 December 2006
This was an under-rated film in the first version, and it is improved a great deal with the changes that Robert Wise made just a few years before he passed away. There has been a backlash against this picture, mostly for two reasons; it was not Star Wars, and it was not what people expected of Star Trek.

If you put these expectations aside, and if you also have some attention span and willingness to relax into a picture this is a remarkable experience. I often here people use words like boring, too long etc. Well yes, if we are expecting a quick-hit, film that can be digested in 90 minutes like a TV show, this is not that type of film. If we apply these standards to Lawrence of Arabia, 2001, Blade Runner, Bridge on the River Kwai, or Citzen Kane (which Robert Wise edited, none of these films would have ever been made.

If you put Star Trek The Motion Picture in context of it's scale and the craftsman involved you start to appreciate it's quality and elegance. Robert Wise does not need qualification. He brings an elegance and texture to work and life in space that StarWars has not put to screen to this day.

Star Wars even now seems like nothing more than an impressive exercise in effects and sound. It is always reminding us that it is a movie. ST-TMP on other hand departed into an "immersive experience" developed by Robert Wise, with the amazing talents of Doug Trumbull and John Dykstra, and the enormous contibutions of Jerry Goldsmith. Likewise, the photography, the scale of the sets and the editing of the film all contribute to a immersive world that saturates the viewer into the film.

You gain a lot of knowledge and appreciation of this film and the experience that they achieved by watching the Director's Edition DVD and listening to Wise, Trumbull, Dykstra, Goldsmith and others discuss the production. This was a uniquely creative and enormous effort, and considering the technological limitations, the demands of the studio, and the many demands of the Star Trek Bible that qualified the creation of the movie. I am pleased to see that other reviewers here have come to appreicate this movie many years later. I encourage the skeptics to find the time to relax and watch it on the biggest screen you can find.
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Star Trek Done Right!
ronski1178018 September 2004
It's amazing how many Trekkies I meet describe Star Trek the Motion Picture as "A good sci-fi film, but an awful Star Trek movie."....And that's when they're feeling generous!

This statement can't be farther from the truth. The story is well written and director Robert Wise makes the characters believable. The movie is not filled with the goofy jokes and ridiculous Shatner back-flip fight scenes that some Trekkies seem to enjoy. Instead, the battle with the mysterious alien entity reveals the dynamics and inner conflicts of the crew. Spock realizes that pure logic alone cannot answer all, but must be coupled with emotion in order to tap into our creative imagination and see the possibilities of our universe. Kirk is portrayed as a daring and brilliant captain, who learns that as a leader he needs to rely on the expertise of those around him. He is a more believable figure who is fallible and struggles to learn from his mistakes.

The Enterprise is not envisioned as an easy to fly wonder ship that requires no more than the main Trek cast to run, but as a complex machine that needs precise tuning of components balanced by a crew of hundreds. The scene where Spock and the engineering crew struggle with balancing the mathematical models needed to program the warp engines convey the real dangers of space flight.

Additionally, both the visual and audio effects add to the impact of this movie. For a film made in '79, before the advent of believable CGI, the special effects are superb. Believe it or not, I've noticed special effects scenes in Independence Day taken directly from Star Trek:TMP footage (scan the shots of the inside of the mother ship (ID4)when Will Smith is making his escape run).

All in all, the ingredients of good character development, believable conflict, and hard science make this movie the true precursor to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Unfortunately, Star Treks III, IV, and V avoid the hard work this movie required and depend on the silly antics of its maturing crew.
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As far from the restrictions of TV as it could possibly be.
CuriosityKilledShawn1 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Oooh, a difficult one this. Very difficult indeed. Unless you are particularly patient, or are a hardcore Star Trek fan this is going to take some effort to stick with. It doesn't seem like a Trekkie movie. Nowhere near as much fun as Wrath Of Khan, or First Contact. Not as much humour as The Voyage Home. In fact, there is no humour at all. Something that cripples the film badly. Everything is very straight-faced and sincere. To introduce someone to Star Trek with this film would be a bad idea.

Being the first Trek product since the original series one might expect the familiar campy story lines and beaming down to "M-class" planets - a bit of desert 10-minutes drive from LA - but there's none to be had. Veteran director Robert Wise has crafted a film very much in the style of his original version of The Haunting. His w-i-d-e-s-c-r-e-e-n compositions are beautiful and he really manages to lift Trek from the small screen to the cinema screen. It was a hard undertaking, but he set the standard for nine sequels to date.

The plot has a giant alien force destroying three Klingon ships on its direct course with earth. If the Federation doesn't stop this thing, it will blow up the planet. Admiral Kirk leaves his sunny San Francisco home to assume command of the Enterprise from Captain Decker and stop the alien menace. But Decker has a chip on his shoulder. The new Enterprise is not finished yet and he doesn't appreciate Kirk moving in on his territory.

Very slowly the original crew return and are in command of their posts again and there is a weird new navigator, a bald-headed, celibate alien woman named Ilia. Decker seems to have a thing for her. For some reason.

Once they reach the mysterious alien mass, the crew learns its name is Vger. Ilia is kidnapped and replaced with an android. Spock is driven to tears as he finds TOTAL logic in Vger actions and motivations. This is all sub-subtext and the actual explanation behind Vger might not come as a surprise to most. Once they fly inside Vger's mass of clouds and orifices it takes a healthy hour for the damn thing to be fully revealed.

To criticise a film for its length may be an ignorant thing to do. Audiences today are too satisfied with any plot lasting less than 100 minutes. This is not a good sign. Films with the scope and, dare I say it, class of Star Trek: The Motion Picture need their full and proper running time. Coherent story lines can be sacrificed for fast paced, exhilarating storytelling, or a dull, seemingly endless narrative can be the result of a big story being fully fleshed out. It's difficult to achieve both length and pace. Sadly, this film doesn't. But it looks very good, is well directed and has the balls to bite off more than it can chew.
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A different kind of Star Trek
The_Other_Snowman20 March 2007
I recently watched this movie for the first time in ten or fifteen years. When I was younger I thought this one was even worse than Star Trek V, because as bad as "The Final Frontier" was, at least it had some action and colour.

The version I just saw wasn't the new Director's Edition, just the old video, but I was still completely surprised by just about everything -- partly because I hadn't seen it in so long, and partly because it's so totally different from all the following Trek movies. I even kinda liked the silly space pajamas everyone wears.

After this, the movie series turned to action-oriented stories, a more militaristic look and feel, and infinitely less challenging concepts. True, the pacing of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" drags in parts, and the behavior of its stars is a little cold and stiff. But instead of treating us with space battles and phaser shootouts, it gives us long, loving shots of the newly revamped starship Enterprise, and instead of rather tawdry plots grounded in mundane reality, it takes us on a metaphysical voyage into an unknown, bizarre, and palpably huge alien device. The relationship of the three main characters has changed a little after several years apart, and they're each getting used to things all over again: Kirk has to deal with the unfamiliar new ship; Spock, after trying to purge his emotions, must confront his human half; and McCoy is "shanghaied" out of retirement for the trip. Decker and Ilia, the new characters, provide enough interest that they were virtually resurrected as Riker and Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The sense of scale is important. The cloud surrounding V'Ger is gigantic, and the ship at the heart of the cloud is a whole world to itself. The Enterprise must fly into the cloud and communicate with the ship, and it's the only time in any of the ten movies that the heroes actually confront something new and unknown. This was a staple of the original show, and some of the best episodes of the spin-off series. The subsequent films were content with setting their battles and chases in space, but "Star Trek I" actually wants to explore that space. The question at the centre of the film, posed by Spock, is "Is this all we are? Is there nothing more?" Kirk, Spock, and V'Ger are all searching for an answer to that question.

However, the thing that definitely drags the film down is the sound. The red alert blares every other minute, and mechanical computer voice-overs announce just about everything they possibly can. In the process of updating the ship, they've emphasized the computers and mechanics of the vessel in a way they never had before or since, and the effect is jarring and interesting at the same time. The Enterprise is much more of a physical ship traveling in space, and less of a device to facilitate storytelling.

The visual effects are amazing enough to warrant some digital cleaning, and the movie should be seen in widescreen, preferably on a large television.

It's too bad that this movie wasn't more of a success, because I would like to see more Star Trek in this style. After many years and many TV shows, I admit I've gotten a little tired of space battles.

UPDATE: I recently watched the Director's Edition DVD. The sound effects are fixed, and the film has been re-edited to tighten the pace ever so slightly. The changes made are not on the level of the Star Wars special editions, but they do make the movie more watchable. It's a little more coherent now, and I like it even more.
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This is what science fiction is all about
The_TJT28 July 2011
Watched this one after few years, didn't remember what it was all about. Oh yes, it was the one with "V'ger"...aka amazingly beautiful Persis Khambatta...with her head shaved. Most beautiful bald woman I can think of right now...

The film is about huge unbeatable "cloud" approaching and threatening Earth, only thing standing in between is Enterprise with its legendary crew. It appears I enjoy the film more and more each decade I see it again.

I thought there was slightly too much time used on introduction and drafting of old crew, but once the "action" began it kept me on edge of my seat all the way through. Don't think that "action" I mention was fighting and shooting, it wasn't. Perhaps lack of silly fighting makes (all too) many people to say that this film was too long and slow paced. Well, I disagree - this is exactly the kind of science fiction I love, you are given chance to use your own imagination. Some say pacing and the film is similar to Kubrik's 2001...I won't argue against it.

The film had amazing special effects for its time. No, not amazing, incredible. But don't watch it for special effects only, the real interest of this film lies in the nature of the alien "cloud" and Enterprise crew trying to figure it out and trying to cope with it. Special effects were used as a tool to launch YOUR imagination, as they should be.

This film is probably closest to spirit of original series, without much campiness though. A thinking man's Star Trek film. What a wonderful treat. They don't make films like this any more.

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The Most Beautiful Science Fiction Movie Period....
Don_Juan_Adan21 November 2003
**No Spoilers**

I think Orson Welles said it best in the trailers for this film.

"It will startle your senses. Challenge your intellect. And change your perception of the taking you there."

Indeed it will and does.

Let me start off by saying, by all means: You don't have to be a fan of Star Trek to get into this movie. I'm not. Just watch it, and the motion picture will do the rest. I've been told countless times that Star Wars is the greatest Sci-fi film of all time. I'd like to correct those people. Star Wars is the greatest "action and special effects sci-fi film" of all time. Nothing more....and nothing less. I'm a big fan of Star Wars. It was my favorite sci-fi movie--even beating out Alien, 2001, and Starship Troopers.

That was until I saw this film. I remember right after watching Star Wars that I felt good inside because it was a rush that one can only get--from eye candy. Star Trek: The Motion Picture gave me a different rush--a more profound touch that made me realize movies can have a deeper meaning. Much like 2001, this deals with life....actually more about the "meaning" of life. The purpose of existence. Some of the best quotes in cinema history can be traced to this film. My favorite line is from Spock. It pretty much sums up the theme of Star Trek: The Motion Picture

"Each of us, at some point in our lives, turns to someone - a father, a brother, a God - and asks, "Why am I here? What was I meant to be?"

One thing that really stands out in Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the musical score by Jerry Goldsmith that makes me wonder if it was blessed by God. Star Wars could never get me to buy the soundtrack on CD. This movie has. I wonder why this didn't win an Oscar for best score.

Now to the plot:

When three Klingon (Alien) Starships are attacked and erased from existence by a vast giant omnipotent cloud, drifting in space; a close by Star Base finds out that not only is the cloud headed directly towards them, but is also on a direct path for Earth. The Star Base in question (The Epslion 9) sends a message to Star Fleet for a Starship to be sent and prevent it from reaching Earth.

The only Starship in enough range to stop the cloud in time is none other than the famous Enterprise from the infamous 1960s television series. The Starfleet legend and hero Captain Kirk and the rest of his crew from the also famous five year mission of the show, make a comeback for one last mission (and many more later, but those are other movie reviews).

Before the crew can start on their mission, they patch up old wounds put aside their anger for each other to face the menacing unknown that awaits them, realizing this may be the last time they speak to one another...alive.

Not much is known about the cloud or why it is erasing everything in it's path from existence; other than what Spock, the science officer of The Enterprise, has sensed from it....

"It only knows that it needs, Commander. But, like so many of us, it does not know what."

Suspense eats away at you when the final showdown between The Enterprise and the intelligent vast cloud finally comes. And the movie doesn't stop their. Like I said, the movie talks about the meaning of life.

If you can, buy the director's cut on DVD or VHS. This IS the most beautiful science fiction movie you will ever see.
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Action Packed Classic.
PathetiCinema20 July 2010
This film is bursting with action scenes! The scene where Kirk stares at the Enterprise, the scene where Scotty stares at the Enterprise, the scene where Bones stares at the Enterprise. The scene where the Enterprise is being stared at by Kirk is also a highlight. The scene where the Enterprise is being stared at by Scotty. The scene where the Enterprise is being stared at by Bones is another great one. The scene where they are ALL staring at the Enterprise at the same time is one of my favourites. The scene where the Enterprise is being stared at by ALL of them at the same time is even better.

I love this movie! It's long. I took a girlfriend to see it and by the time it was over I had not only kissed her but we had had three children and a holiday in Greece.
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A true classic which is critically unrecognised.
patvagg19 July 2001
Star Trek the Motion Picture is a true classic that is critically unrecognized. Unfortunately this is because today's audience doesn't see the beauty and message behind this Robert Wise (the sound of music) masterpiece.

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.
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The Director's Edition is Bob Wise's definitive vision of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And what a vision!
homie_g19 February 2003
This DVD version has improved and restored and made Star Trek: TMP a pleasure to watch rather than a chore. You're less inclined to hit fast-forward in those lengthy scenes. This movie will resonate well with mature-age viewers because the story is not what you would expect from today's action packed cinema. I appreciated the movie more as I got older. Bob Wise explains on the DVD that production was extremely rushed and had no time to preview the film with an audience that would now after 20 years, tell him to tighten the opticals and emphasize characters. This is precisely what he has done in the DVD version and its magnificent.

Aesthetically, the DVD version shows you the best Star Trek: The Motion Picture can possibly look. Film is sharper; color is dead on however there is still a lot of film grain present unfortunately. My guess is they cleaned the original negative up as much as they could but it had deteriorated so much in storage, or was badly preserved. Certainly looks better than my bad pan/scanned VHS copy.

The DVD truly shines with its brand new sound mix. This isn't your standard stereo to 5.1 DVD conversions like they are doing for movies pre 5.1; they have gutted it up and added new stuff. The original release was so rushed that very little in terms of ambient sound and special effects audio elements were done on the sound mix amongst other production elements. For this DVD they went back to the original audiotapes and remixed them digitally.

Goldsmith's score sounded fantastic when it originally came out now sounds even better on the DVD version. It's tremendous, you will hear what your suppose to hear now with the added advantage of 5.1 surround sound. Goldsmith score truly has a chance to soar now by stretching into a clean high fidelity 5.1 environment rather than being squeezed onto a mono or stereo track. Bass kicks in often especially on big musical cues. You'll hear nifty panning and those surrounds and subwoofer will definitely get a workout. In instances they isolate different parts of the orchestra through different speakers, mainly the bass and percussion.

Most onstage dialog was re-recorded afterwards because of onstage noise due to mechanical devices etc; this is now common practice in the industry. The result is cleaner dialog that comes prominently out of your center speaker. The dialog audio is good, but on occasion it shows a mild muffled and tinny quality probably due to age of material or analog technology of the time, nevertheless I guarantee you, the average viewer will like it, I'm just being picky. In short the movie will sound almost as good as if the movie was made recently.

Not only having rebuilt the original audio they have put in more surround elements, like ambient bridge noises and computer voices. Not sure why they changed the `Intruder Alert' voice, I don't mind but I guess it was because they rushed the sound mix in the 70's and chose that voice as a last minute thing. There are other elements that have been changed, for the better I would say.

The DVD contents have been remastered with Wise's overseeing. There are too many subtleties to comment on so shall briefly discuss a few. Before opening credits you are treated to Goldsmiths V'ger/Love theme, a nice touch. Then you hear the bombastic Star Trek Theme. Newly done credits over moving starfield.

First main new special effect is the Vulcan landscape, tilting from sky to the surface. Then cuts to a new matte painting of the beautiful orange sky. Originally Spock shields his eyes and in the reversal, not only is there no sun there is little sky visible. The new matte painting now fits in nicely.

San Francisco sequence has been redone, 3 new matte paintings that better show the futurized city, Golden Gate Bridge and a bigger shuttlebay.

When they get into V'Ger they encounter a weapon heading towards them that is suppose to dissipate, in the original it simply disappears instantly, now we see a new visual that shows it dissipating just before it hits the ship.

Later we see a probe heading towards the ship on the viewscreen and then through some hokey editing it appears on the bridge. This has been replaced with an improved FX shot showing the approach of the entity on an exterior shot.

A new 'Wing Walk' sequence. Breathtaking new CGI's that show the away-team walk from the hull to the V'Ger stage, some using the original live action shots. New FXs for the most part are based on original storyboards. They didn't go overboard with the effects which is good, Bob tells us that they made FX that they could only do in the 1970's, unlike Star Wars whom George Lucas went overkill on new FX when he redid his in the 1990's.

There are trims, some rearrangements of shots for the better. E.g. Ilia/Deckers exchange of looks, Kirk's `Oh My God', his second `Viewer Off.' I suspect they had to edit within Jerry's score, or have to also edit Jerry's score to accommodate the new editing, if so they have done it very well, I couldn't notice. Some lengthy scenes remain in its entirety, e.g. flying up to the enterprise, I don't blame them for not trimming them, some are sentimental.

The 2 DVD's come with a plethora of information. Audio commentaries by the director, 2 special effect's guys, an actor and the composer guide you through the director's edition. Text commentary by Okuda gives even more scene specific info. Disc 2 gives you most of the trims, deleted scenes from the TV and Theatrical release not used in the DVD version and an outtake of an abandoned visual effect. Plus 3 documentaries about the abandoned TV series ST:Phase II, Directors edition DVD and the movie itself. Plus advertisements/trailers plus storyboards.

A MUST BUY FOR FANS! You'll Love It!
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Substandard Orbit
SampanMassacre13 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Like a slug-paced parade that never ends (and that's just the first half-hour), iconic director Robert Wise brings to the big screen the beloved characters from that wonderfully cheesy '60s sci-fi TV show that, although it didn't last very long (three years), snowballed into an even larger cult following throughout the '70s, enough to merit a "motion picture" - too bad it had to be this one.

William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk returns to the Enterprise with a solemn, angry air, as does McCoy, even grumpier than Kirk... And finally Spock - duller than even a Vulcan should be... As they set out to intercept a giant mysterious cloud heading to earth to... blow it up.

A boring side-story involves the new young Enterprise commander (whom Kirk must replace), portrayed by the milky Steven Collins, and a very sexy bald chick who's as grumpy as the rest of the cast... especially when she becomes a robot, or something.

And most of the film has the crew standing on the bridge, gazing out in awed-wonderment at all the expensive, and impressive, special effects - the only thing somewhat worthwhile. But the eye-candy gets stale quick since there's nothing "solid" to chase it with - and we're FINALLY led to an incredibly lame "twist" ending that tries hard for Kubrick-esquire wonderment but ends of pretentiously stale.

If this were a condensed forty-five minute episode of the original series it'd still be a throwaway, lacking the mysteriously brainy chess-match aura that made the show so endearing, interesting, and fun.

The next film, THE WRATH OF KHAN (which actually has a title), is where the film series should've started. Not only is there a palpable villain, but the three leads are actually likable, and the classic side-characters, including Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov, have more to do than stand around looking... familiar.
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An Underrated Star Trek Movie
timdalton00715 December 2006
Warning: 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.
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Best Star Trek movie for real fans.
Fluffles25 February 2002
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. This 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.
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We don't call this Star Trek the Motionless Picture for nothing.
susannah-54 June 2002
Star Trek: The Motion Picture should have been a big heads up for Treksters that Gene Roddenberry was losing his way -- either that or his vision of Star Trek was always markedly different from what most viewers thought they were seeing.

The studio also had a hand in sending the production down a wrong road, mistaking the popularity of Star Wars, which was released two years earlier, for audience fascination with special effects.

The film is very deliberately paced -- Slow Motion Picture would be a generous subtitle. It lacks virtually all of the charm and humour with which the series was infused. The chemistry between the actors, and so the characters, is entirely absent.

The plot, what there is of it, seems to be based on The Changeling, an episode of the old Star Trek series, and on a bad episode of Space: 1999.

For a real reunion of the crew of the Enterprise, forget this blunder and look at Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Nicholas Meyer knew what virtues make Star Trek the pop-cult phenomenon it is, and he knew how to put it on the big screen.
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I, a die-hard Star Trek fan . . . recommend it be avoided at all costs!
trash-commando9 March 2007
I am a Star Trek fan and there was a lot of hype building up to the first Star Trek film--ten years after the last season of the Original Series. Alas, as much as I, a die-hard Star Trek fan, enjoy looking at the expensive new model Starship Enterprise, this is one of the most boring films ever made! I recommend it be avoided at all costs! If you want a movie to contrast with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, directed by Nicholas Meyer. Instead of watching the most expensive (and most boring) Star Trek film made, you can watch the least expensive yet the best. Star Trek II is hands-down the best Trek film period. Second-best is (surprise, surprise) Star Trek VI, also directed by Nicholas Meyer (I sense a pattern). However, Star Trek: The Motion Picture did break the ice for the Star Trek films and set the bar low so that Mr. Meyer could show off his directing expertise. The pain of Star Trek: The Motion Picture can be lessened by listening to "The Blue Danube" waltz (a la 2001: A Space Odyssey) during the laboriously long segments showing the Starship Enterprise. Yes, I am a Star Trek fan.
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Exciting and spectacular movie that originates the continued series cinema
ma-cortes22 July 2005
The film deals with the veteran crew that abandon the contemplated retirement to aboard the Enterprise Starship NC 1701 for the confrontation a bizarre foe in shape of giant space entity that's devouring planets and destroying everything in its relentless rout toward Earth . As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew .

Star Trek series remains as a landmark in the science fiction story and continuing the cinematographic adaptation , director Robert Wise makes an interesting film . This epic story is concentrated on characters as well as thrill-packed action and special effects although there're numerous of that too . The movie has thrills , tension , emotion, suspense and sensational spacial scenarios like is customary development of the franchise .Spectacular, exciting , fast-paced , thrilling this is the description of this new outing of Star Trek , film that reinvents the saga through a perfect pulse narrative that does not give a second of rest to the spectator who is trapped for two hours approx. in a genuine visual spectacle . It's essentially a follow-up to the television episodes . In the Star Trek movie the protagonists are incarnated by the usual saga TV , thus are Captain Kirk (Shatner), Spock (Nimoy), Bones (Deforest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan recently deceased), Uhura (Michelle Nichols) , Chejov (Walter Koenig), Sulu (George Takei), plus appear Captain Decker (Stephen Collins) and lieutenant Ilia (Persis Khabatta), both of who will have an important final role . For comic relief in charge of the various jokes in relationships between James T.Kirk with Bones or Spock and even Scotty . The storyline is developed upon interesting characters as well as the action and magnificent production design and special effects realized by John Dykstra and Douglas Trumbull . Friendship ,idealism , humor, fellowship , humanity are issues which abound and will please the fans as well as the initiated . The yarn has a climatic and stimulating ending . Stirring final amazing the spectator , in which the moving and spectacular scenes create a perfect union that terminates with an ending that leaves you stuck in the armchair facing the formidable spectacle as a privileged witness . Jerry Goldsmith musical score (habitual series musician) is exceptional and impressive ; he composes an impressive musical accompaniment to the film . The motion picture was rightly directed by Robert Wise . Fans of the series will find very amusing and fun . It is fun to watch and Trekkies are sure to love it , and getting a high grossing . The flick will appeal to the science fiction lovers and the trekkers.
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Beam me out of here Scottie, this one is boring me to death!
grownup27 December 2009
I think I saw this when it came out in 1979. Just watched it on DVD (got the boxed set of the Star Trek movies for Christmas). This movie is bad, a real stinker.

Plot is essentially a remake of one of the original series episodes. (Sorry, I'm not enough of a Trekker to remember them by name, but the episode was better.).

I have never seen so many reaction shots. Show a special effect (many similar to, but not as interesting as the sequences in "2001, A Space Odyssey" filmed a dozen years earlier). Follow special effect with reaction shot. Then another reaction shot. Then another special effect. Then another reaction shot.

The amount of interesting dialog could fit on the back of a cereal box, in large print.

Spends so much time showing the exterior of the Enterprise it seemed like porn for nerds. Slow pacing.

I was thinking it would be a good exercise for a film class on editing to see if you could get a good 45 minutes out of this. But I'm not sure it would be a fair assignment.

Look, I like Star Trek. I watched it in the '60s, watched it in syndication in the '70s, have seen most (perhaps all) of the movies. Have seen many episodes of each of the ST franchise. This movie stunk.

Most significant fact about this movie -- William Shatner appeared to be in better shape than when he was in the series, or in later films. Of course he may have been wearing a truss

I looked up Robert Wise's other credits, and he did know how to tell a story at one time. But I can't imagine he was proud of directing this one.

Ultimately, skip this one. Even if you got the boxed set and think it would be fun to watch them all in order. If you do watch it, keep the remote handy to speed through the many special effect / reaction shot sequences.
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A muddled epic
russem3130 November 2005
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Stardate: 7412.6

Of all the Star Trek films, this is the most impersonal and epic - which necessarily isn't a bad thing. This film really isn't about the Star Trek crew, but about the vast visual effects laden V'Ger and how the Enterprise spends 2+ hours exploring it. The score by Jerry Goldsmith only accentuates this epic-ness - this is one of his best scores and brings a majestic quality to the Star Trek crew. Never really is this film funny (unlike 4) or action-packed (unlike II) but regardless will always have a place in my heart because it tries to be as epic as Star Trek can possibly be. Overall, a 7 out of 10 (mostly because of the state-of-the-art effects of its time in 1979 and a superb score by Jerry Goldsmith RIP).
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"Star Trek: The Never Ending Special Effects Slide Show"
clydestuff3 April 2003
When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was originally released, I was eager to see it, so much so that I traveled fifty plus miles to a theater in Huntington W.V. to see it. After Star Wars, I was anxious to see the transfer of Star Trek to the big screen, where it would not be saddled with the confines of the budget of a t.v. series. I should have saved myself the trip.

The budget is up there on the screen, and the makers of this movie are darn proud of it. So much so that they forgot to give us a decent story line, any interaction worth between the crew members, or any decent dialogue between the crew members. What we end up with is two hours plus of gosh, gee whiz, isn't that cool, special effects that are extremely pretty to look at. A dozen roses is pretty also but I don't want to sit and watch them for over two hours either.

We have one long long long sequence outside the Enterprise while it is in space port. We get a long long sequence of the Enterprise going through a worm hole early on, that is neither intense or exciting, just hazy. Later, we get lots and lots and lots and lots of shots of the Enterprise traveling through a space cloud. I do believe I actually dozed off through this sequence and was surprised it was still there when I woke up. Then as if that weren't bad enough, we get another never ending scene of Spock doing the future equivalent of a space walk! Perhaps they should have called this Star Trek: The Never Ending Special Effects Show.

When it was over, and I left the theater, I have to admit it was nice seeing the old Star Trek gang back together again, for one last time as I was sure that after this Galaxian Slide Show, it would be their last appearance. It was one time I was glad I was dead wrong about something.

This review refers to the original theatrical release. I'll watch the DVD directors cut when I'm ready to take a nap.
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This is a superb film filled with elegant, impressive, and powerful details.
lwalsh8 February 2003
Most science fiction films emphasize action over thought. Of the few that offer intellectual as well as visual or visceral stimulation, Star Trek: The Motion Picture is certainly among the best, especially now that legendary director Robert Wise has released a 'Director's Edition' which much more fully represents his original intentions (no review based on any previous version, none of which were approved by Wise, should be considered valid any longer).

The plot is almost excessively simple: a gigantic energy cloud of alien origin is headed toward Earth, and the starship Enterprise must find a way to communicate with it and to take whatever action is necessary. But the point of ST:TMP is not the plot as such; rather, it is an examination of the balance between rationality and emotion which is vital to maintain and succor a genuinely human life (make no mistake; ST:TMP is, at its deepest level, about humanity, not spaceships and alien clouds). We see here a classic tension-- between the coldly rational mind of Spock (and, beyond that, of the entity inside the cloud) and the brash emotionalism of Captain Kirk and, particularly, Dr. McCoy. Underlining this is the one-time love affair between Commander Decker and Navigator Ilia, an affair cut off through fear of what each might have become, of the deep personal changes necessary in true mutual love. The elements come together in the magnificent finale, in which each of the main characters confronts their own greatest need and discovers that their quests can succeed only through the transcendence of the very desires which provoked the quests in the first place.

However thoughtful, the film does not lack for superb production details. Wise has edited the film much more tautly than before, so that each sequence stands in elegant balance with every other. The trip through the cloud and over what lies at its center is among the most beautiful such things in science fiction (easily surpassing the similar moments in 2001: A Space Odyssey). The first views of the Enterprise, shot largely from Kirk's perspective, are filmed almost as one might gaze at a long-absent lover finally seen again, slowly and sensuously and with great care not to miss anything. The set designs are superb, and the overall cinematography polished to a high degree. And of course Jerry Goldsmith's score, nominated for an Academy Award, remains among the finest of film scores; time and again it undergirds and enhances the action or the visuals absolutely stunningly.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture, like 2001 and Tarkovsky's Solaris, is not a fast-paced film, and those seeking action-packed adventure would do best to look elsewhere. But understood as what it truly is-- a moving and powerful meditation on a fundamental dichotomy of human consciousness-- it stands as a major achievement and an almost overwhelming cinematic experience.
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Like and dislike--On the fence again!
stumpmee7725 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
(Talking about the expanded version on VHS)


1) The first 10 minutes (V'Ger v. Klingons) still drops my jaw.

2) The scene where the Enterprise is in dry-dock (I watch that scene again, and again and the trek-joy lump still rises in my throat)

3) Spock crying (Hey Vulcans are in Control of their emotions, they do have some); so poignantly low-key

4) All the scenes of Lt. Ilia before she died. She was too cool!!! (and the scene deleted in the theatrical release of her and Sulu is hysterical)

5) Spock's exploring V'Ger Awesome

6) THE MUSIC--The score is the best ever for the Star Trek Movie, the only one better is First Contact!


1) Kirk--They script him with this sort of behavior? This is a way to welcome back the fans who have missed him for years? The Decker v. Kirk conflict got under my skin far more than the pacing. I abort his actions in this film; it was some "Probe". He really comes back in TWOK!


3) Ilia the mechanism--Come on, that--what she was wearing--Cheesecake pure in simple.

4) The thinly veiled "Changling" Rehash--If you're a Trekker you know the one.

5 & 6) The STUPID WAY THE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED--Oh let V'Ger have his metaphysical sex in the road and we can all leave now! GGRRRRR! I'm done!
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iamtonyquinn3 December 2013
I am amazed that so called "Star Trek fans" or Trekkers or Trekkies or whatever it is you choose to call them, don't seem to love this movie. Maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of the TV series or the new generation or any of the TV versions of the show really (except Enterprise which I thought was also really underrated), but I loved this movie. It had a great feel to it, was shot really well, was a well written story, the ending of it was absolutely fantastic. It was a compelling story with a mystery aspect to it. Great sci fi and effect, great storytelling. Good performances, at least as good as the TV show. I guess because it was different from the usual Star Trek series people were a bit disappointed by it but I thought it was great. The best Star Trek movie in my opinion is still the second one, Wrath of Khan, but the original Star Trek movie is probably second best in my opinion, with the later movies really suffering in quality, and I have no real love for the next generation series or movies at all. The new movies I haven't seen yet but I have high hopes!
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Genuinely wonderful and inspiring, but misunderstood
BlokeWithABrainUK18 May 2009
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.
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