Director: Robert Wise
Thinking back on watching the original Star Trek movies, I remember Khan, the ear bug thingy, Spock as a baby, some whales, San Fran, and a whole lot of fun, silly, over-the-top, hard-not-to-love action. Watching the very first Star Trek film, aptly named The Motion Picture, I was surprised that it was devoid of everything cool I remembered. I must have blocked it out of my memory, maybe because it’s so damned boring. It’s obvious that it was a spectacle more than a story, and that’s fine, especially for when it was released, but by today’s standards this movie would be considered a big dull dud.
Kirk is no longer in command of the Enterprise, having explored enough and having been given a higher rank. Well, not so fast, because a weird giant energy ball is headed toward Earth and, really, there’s no one more suited to save humanity than Captain James T. Kirk. So he assembles his old crew (Spock, Bones, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura) and sets out to make things right. But the energy ball is hard to communicate with, hard to stop, and impossible to understand; the whole crew will have to work together to solve the puzzle of its creation, and to stop it from destroying us all.
It’s funny; I have almost no recollection of this film, when some of the others stand out so clearly. But, really, watching it back, it makes sense; almost nothing happens. It’s not about the plot at all, it’s rather an extremely long episode that could have taken 10 minutes to blaze through, but instead they took 2 &1/2 hours to showcase all the cool technology that they didn’t have during the original Star Trek show 10 years earlier. This is simply a showcase, a nod to the series, some fan service, an attempt to show that world more broadly & colorfully this time around, and in those ways it does succeed. It’s pleasing, it’s relaxing, it simply isn’t very eventful, apart from some ridiculous, iconic shaky scenes and some weird wardrobe choices. The next movies get better, if I remember correctly, so we’ll see where this goes.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆