Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Article #1614 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-15-2005
Posting Date: 1-12-2006
Directed by Robert Wise
Featuring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Admiral Kirk takes over captainship of the Enterprise to investigate a mysterious and deadly force that is headed for the Earth.

From a story perspective, this movie could have easily fit into an episode of the TV series which spawned it. However, a TV episode wouldn’t have suffered from the main problem of this movie; we wouldn’t have had endless scenes of people standing around staring at special effects. Still, I can’t be too hard on this one; the story itself isn’t bad, and when I watch it, I find myself transported to that time in the late seventies when the phrase “Star Trek” conjured up memories only of the original series, which had been canceled almost ten years earlier and had since then existed solely in syndication (outside of a short-lived animated version). At that time, it was a real joy to see all these characters again; in particular, Kelley’s opening scenes as the cranky Dr. “Bones” McCoy brought back floods of nostalgia for me. And I think the movie works well enough for what it turned out to be; if it had been the only “Star Trek” movie, it would remain a disappointment, but as the launch of a franchise, it passes muster. The second movie in the series would kick things into high gear. Apparently, the Director’s Cut of this one improves things considerably.


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