Review of 'Star Trek - The Motion Picture'

A mysterious cloud-like anomaly is approaching earth, destroying all ships and planets it encounters along the way. Years after his tour of duty with the Enterprise, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) takes command of the ship once again to investigate the phenomenon and save earth. On the newly refurbished ship, he is accompanied by a largely inexperienced crew but also a number of familiar faces including Spock (Leonard Nimoy) who, receiving a mental message from the entity, has left his logic training on Vulcan. As they approach the entity, Spock is able to emphatically communicate, sensing the logic that drives it's actions. Will they be able to succeed where many others have failed? What do you think?

An overlong though welcome return to the big screen for the crew of the Enterprise following their popular television series in the late 1960s. Ten years later and the effects are much better but, sadly, this film has the feeling of an extended television episode, that is, about an hour (or more) too long. There is little in the way of action with the audience for the most part left to admire the pretty pictures on the screen (a more than five minute scene with Kirk flying around the Enterprise before taking over as captain being a case in point). Most fans will easily forgive this for the chance it gave them to see their favourite characters again but as a standalone film it would doubtless have faded into obscurity.

There are some stand out performances here, particularly with two of the main characters, Stephen Collins as Decker, the former commander of the Enterprise (before Kirk arrived on the scene) and the cold, clinical Persis Khambatta as Ilia who ends up being the spokesperson for the alien entity. It is around the two of them the entire story revolves and (eventually) concludes.

It could have been so much more but this, the first Star Trek film, sadly disappoints though it's sequels fare a lot better…All welcome “The Wrath of Kahn”…

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-03-15

Directed by: Robert Wise

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Year: 1979

Length: 132 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Robert Wise: