Review of 'Star Trek Movie Memories'

Star Trek Movie Memories by William Shatner, and Chris Kreski

star_trek_movie_memories.jpg Following on from Star Trek Memories which talked about the original “Star Trek” television series “Star Trek Movie Memories” completes the story. As with the first book Shatner and Kreski again concentrate largely on the political side of production process rather than in any great detail on the filming itself.

The story is picked up discussing the events that followed the filming of the original Star Trek series. It had become a hit on syndicated television with the episodes aired over and over again. Fan conventions began cropping up all over the country with people really getting deeply into the mythos of the series. Combined with a particularly favourable political climate at Paramount Studios, the much maligned “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” was produced and brought to the big screen. Each chapter of the book is devoted to discussing each of the films all the way up to “Star Trek Generations” (Star Trek 7) where, of course, the Kirk character is killed off.

There are much more political things being discussed in this book compared to the previous I think partly because of it being more fresh for Shatner but also because of Shatner's deeper involvement in the production side of things including the directing of “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”. Here we are told of the different people involved in the production, how they did or did not get along with one another, the different writers, and the budgetary battles that seemed to continue throughout the production of these films.

I was interested to learn of the increasingly ignored Gene Roddenberry now relegated to effectively a name on the screen in the credits of the finished film. In the story of the films he is mentioned only occasionally and often as “we will listen but largely ignore” up until his death shortly before the release of Star Trek VI. Roddenberry always was an influence on Star Trek but his baby had moved on and others had picked up the series and taken it in other directions. Of course, for a contemporary example of the extreme directions his vision has taken, see the work that J.J. Abrams who has effectively rewritten the Star Trek “book”.

It was nice to read of Leonard Nimoy's satisfaction with the direction of the series when he was given the director's chair and, indeed, his involvement with Star Trek appears to have been much more positive in the movies than in the television series.

I found a lot of the political stuff quite boring and difficult to take. It was interesting to see about some of the childish ways that people acted in the production of these films and I certainly was not aware to the extent this occurred before reading this book, but as to whether I really care too much, that I am not too sure about. I was more interested in the way the movies were actually put onto the screen, how the actors interacted, the way the effects were managed and the public reception of the finished product.

As with the first book I have to make it clear that this is a general book of memories regarding the movies rather than the memories specifically of Shatner though many anecdotes are certainly from him. Indeed, this seems much more of a history book seeking to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s of the production politics rather than telling the story of the filming of the movie itself nor, indeed, the editing or the other technical aspects.

Again, interesting, but not a keeper for me.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2016-01-16

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: 1994

ISBN: 0060176172

Other reviewed books by William Shatner, and Chris Kreski: