johnlink ranks STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)

I am less than fully familiar with the original STAR TREK despite writing a novel  in which the main character is, unabashedly, a Trekkie. I saw many NEXT GENERATION episodes and all of those movies. I’m enough of a fan to have wanted to see the original stuff for awhile. HBOHD aired all six features this week so I snagged each on the DVR. I guess we will see how many I get through…

I watched STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) on 4.13.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

In watching this movie, I couldn’t shake the sense that this was merely a glorified episode. In reading up on the back story, this was indeed originally written to be a pilot to a follow up STAR TREK series. The movie went to production as an intended feature, but much of the story was created as a TV show. The story concerns Kirk taking back control of the Enterprise, reassembling his team, and going out to explore a new alien threat headed for Earth.

When these famous characters (Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, etc) get a chance to get going, to get into their groove, this movie works well. I say this despite much of the acting being below average. And when that is the BEST part of the film, it is perhaps understandable why I just had a hard time falling for it.

There are extended scenes here (which are undoubtedly inspired by Kubrick’s 2001) that explore the details of some ship, or some space landscape. I’m all for this sort of detail work, and my love of carefully paced films are well chronicled in these pages, but these scenes make some of this film tedious to watch.

Surprisingly, this is a rare film saved by its climactic scene despite what came before it. Forget that Roddenberry stole the ending to one of his own original series episodes, the ending just works. It works in a heady sci-fi way which frankly comes out of nowehere, but it works nevertheless.

The special effects can be brutal, and the computer technology is laughable. But the miniature work is very nice (even though the shots go on way too long). I’d say the good effects balance out the bad effects, but I can imagine this might be unwatchable for those accustomed to modern sci-fi CGI.

I walk away with mixed feelings. It didn’t excite me all that much, but I also can appreciate much of what it does. I hear that the second film, THE WRATH OF KHAN, is the best in the series. I know I will at least be watching that here soon. But I end this article the way I started it: Wondering how far into this series my curiosity will take me.





~ by johnlink00 on April 13, 2012.

One Response to “johnlink ranks STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)”

  1. […] ST1 link here […]

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