Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

It had been a while since I watched the first - and original - Star Trek movie. I had forgotten how bone-achingly dull it was as a movie. Most of the actors had not had particularly significant roles after the original TV series had been cancelled, and they were shaking the cobwebs for this movie.

The movie was directed by Robert Wise, who was impressively over-indulgent with his beauty shots of the Enterprise and extensive, almost never-ending shots of The Cloud enveloping V-GER. Piled on top of it is the extensive exposition to explain each and every facet of what is going on. This movie is the best argument pro-Star Wars people have for what is wrong with Star Trek. It is noteworthy that Robert never directed anything with any significant budget ever again.

I remember there being a big deal about Persis Khambatta being in this movie and having shaved her head for the role. She is certainly very pretty, but her acting is mechanical at best. Once she becomes a probe for V-GER, it is forgivable. Kirstie Alley was also introduced to the crew as a young vulcan who is being mentored by Spock. She does a perfectly acceptable job, as her role also requires little more than a robotic tone.

The costumes they wear in this movie are a joke. Literally. There are more jokes about these weird, white spacesuits with the odd personal communicator/monitor devices as giant belt buckles than I know what to do with. Who would look at the history of military uniforms and think that these seem like the logical progression of the style?

The special effects were absolutely stellar in its day. Even today, the effects stand up as very good. They, like the rest of the directing style, come off as a bit overindulgent at times, and the whole feel is the lesser for it. If they would have gone for more smooth lines and textures than energy lines and blurs, the effects may have been even better than the ones in some movies today. There is also a scene where they walk out onto the saucer section of the Enterprise that is completely out of scale. They probably thought it would translate to 2-dimensions better than it did, but it is the low point in the effects.

The storyline is strangely copied from an old Star Trek episode. One episode in season two (The Changeling) had a robot named NOMAD who was looking for find "The Creator" and believed that it was Kirk. Kirk eventually used this mistake against the robot, and the universe is saved. the upshot is that the robot was created by a human, it went out to find out what it could and then returned. In THIS movie, the robot is trying to find its creator after having been flying around for years. It was also created by a human.

The directing was horrible
The storyline was recycled, but okay
The acting was rusty
Dialogue was good
Special effects were very good



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