Star Trek: The Motion Picture

"OK"

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Review


The rule with Star Trek films is even-numbered films are good, odd-numbered are bad -- and the first film in the series is no exception. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released at a time when sci-fi movies were expected to be long, sluggish, arty epics like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Dune. To achieve the desired length and artiness, the producers of Star Trek: TMP hired director Robert Wise -- best known for overlong, dull classics like The Sound of Music -- and chose a script which was long on dialogue but short on action or character development. (Plot: Alien vessel is coming toward earth -- Kirk and co. must stop it. Zzzzzzz.)

Added to the mix is Persis Khambatta, a model-turned-actress who can't even act as well the veterans of the TV show, playing a bald female alien (a femalien). Finally, a third of the movie is wasted on special effects which do not compare favorably with other sci-fi movies (though see below for more on this). Draped over this mess is one of the best musical scores ever wasted on a movie, the work of Jerry Goldsmith (note that the main theme was salvaged and used for the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show). All told, the movie is one of the few imitators of 2001: A Space Odyssey that achieves the same feeling of mystery and danger. Partly this is due to Goldsmith's excellent score; partly it is because the slow pacing and dark, gloomy sets succeed in conveying the slowness and suspense of space travel, as well as its emptiness.

So is Star Trek: The Motion Picture worth renting? Yes, although at least three different edits of the film exist, including a 1983 television version, so you'll want to check before you hand over your Blockbuster card. For 2001, Wise has given the entire film an entire makeover a la George Lucas and Star Wars, fixing up the worst of the special effects for a two-disc DVD release. You'll find all the 1979 and 1983 trims on the second disc, along with documentaries and other bonus footage for the consummate Trekkie. Wise, along with Goldsmith, actor Stephen Collins, and two special effects guys, provide an audio commentary to the new cut of the film, and Michael Okuda, a Trek aficionado and author of The Star Trek Encyclopedia, provides a unique subtitled commentary track. Surprisingly, both the audio and subtitle tracks say about the same thing.

So does any of this fiddling make a difference? When I sat down to watch the film again, I realized that I always fall asleep at about the 1:45 mark. I couldn't believe it, but once again, I did the exact same thing, nodding off during what would have been the climax of any other movie. Bring in Ricardo Montalban, I say!

Behold the power of the future.



Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 132 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th December 1979

Box Office Worldwide: $139M

Budget: $35M

Distributed by: Paramount Home Video

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 18

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Captain James T. Kirk, as Mr. Spock, as Lt. Cmdr. Hikaru Sulu, as Montgomery Scott, as Lt. Pavel Chekov, as Lt. Cmdr. Uhura, as Dr. Leonard McCoy, as Dr. Christine Chapel, as Capt./Cmdr. Willard Decker, as Lieutenant Ilia, as CPO Janice Rand, as Klingon Captain, Billy Van Zandt as Alien Boy, Roger Aaron Brown as Epsilon Technician, Gary Faga as Airlock Technician, as Crew Member

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.