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Star Trek: The Motion Picture





So when I was ... younger... my Dad took me to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture.   Like a lot of kids I was a big fan of Star Wars.   Dad said I sat back in the chair, bored during the previews.  Then the trailer for Star Wars:The Empire Strikes Back came on the screen and I was at the edge of my seat!   And then the movie started, and there was some action there with the Klingons, but by and large I got bored again, sat back in my seat, and fell asleep.


For Dad, a person who had seen Star Trek on TV, I want to say in black and white at the time because that was the TV they had, seeing the crew back together must have been amazing.  And from what I hear of movie goers there was a lot of excitement about them all being back together.


So let' s start with the Klingons.  DIFFERENT than the spaghetti Western looking Mexicans of old.  Now they have armor, a more reptilian look, amazing.  I remember as a kid thinking the Klingons were full of themselves and well, the music soundtrack, if you listen to it, seems to agree.   The Klingons come in all cool and slow, with the awesome Klingon anthem music playing.   And as they are steadily get their butt handed to them, that music speeds up more and more as if to say "We're still cool... no.. we aren't running..."   :P


Many other great scenes.   Star Trek: The Motion Picture (henceforth called "ST: The Moving Picture" to quote Mad Magazine's parody of it) was all about the special effects.  Great music too! 


But don't be fooled, there is unusual story that goes with all this.   For one, Kirk is back on the ship and he has NO IDEA what he is doing.   Oh yeh, he just about gets the Enterprise destroyed two or three times in the movie due to his arrogance and stubbornness to admit he doesn't know the refit Enterprise.   Kirk in all this is a complete doosh to Commander Decker, the man who oversaw the refit of the Enterprise and who Kirk keeps around to have the thankless job of saving the Enterprise those three or so times, and then gets chewed out by Kirk for doing the job Kirk asked him to do.


Never in the Star Trek franchise would Kirk haters get more ammo than in this movie.


And then there is Spock.   He's back!   But is he really?  And who's side is he really on?   The Federation, or the being that is calling out to him.


I mean what a lot of people loose here is there was some time, real and story wise, that this crew has not been together.   Oh everything looks the same, but there is so much going on.  Will Spock betray the Enterprise as he acts on his own?  Will Kirk get everyone killed?   If you really look at it, under the surface these people are a mess.


And it just goes on and on.   "ST: The Moving Picture" is a lot of unusual things.   It introduces a MIGHTY Federation, then puts the Enterprise right next to an alien ship that causes a spacial disturbance that goes on for several astronomical units.  What is an astronomical unit?  One is as long as the distance from the Sun to the Earth so 93 million miles.  Now that is one serious ship, and the Enterprise is tiny compared to that. 


And a lot of screen time is given to the Enterprise crew exploring this huge alien vessel.   I call this portion "Star Trek: The Screen Saver".   Looks like some random thing that was generated, but all that is model work.   It is actually quite wild and... alien!   And here is where you get to join the Enterprise crew on the adventure as you are there, traveling along this ship.   And that is the curse, and the joy of "ST: The Moving Picture", it doesn't skimp on the details.  You are seeing it all there with them.


And that's where I will leave this as I let you discover why "The Human Adventure is Only Beginning!".   Let you enjoy the sights, the sounds, the nap!


Sooo speaking of naps, two years ago was the 40th Anniversary for "ST: The Moving Picture".   So to celebrate the fact that thanks to Dad taking me that first time, I can say I have seen EVERY Star Trek movie in a movie theater.


So we go into the movie, and probably about a third of the way into the movie, my Dad caught a snooze.  He denies it.   Guess, like me that first time, he was watching it from behind his eyelids.  :P


Great action movie?   No.   Fun experience where you are along for the ride?   Yes, welcome aboard!  (Just take the shuttle, not the transporter.)  ;)



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It seems, William Shatner had a very hard time between TOS and the first ST movie. At some time he even had to live in his truck.

IMDB lists some work he did between 1969 and 1979, but as far as I can see it was nothing special.


Lieutenant Ilia in "ST: The Motion Picture" was played by Persis Khambatta, a former Indian beauty queen. It was quite an important role in the movie.

Personally, Khambatta had quite an ill fate: Only one year later, in 1980, she was seriously injured in a car accident in West Germany (strange, I didn't hear anything about it back then (living in West Germany); well, I was 9 years old then, but I remember, already hearing some news about movie stars). In 1983, she had to have coronary artery bypass surgery. She died in 1998, at age 49. All in all, quite sad. :(


To me, "ST: The Motion Picture" is a weird movie. I see, that it fits into the sinister and kind of lonely science fiction style of the 70s, with movies like "Logan's Run". Actually, I also think, the system of our friend :), the 1979's Atari 800, was influenced by that style (which also could be found in Atari's computer games of the 1970s like "Asteroids", featuring a small space ship in the middle of a dark and hostile universe).

I'm glad, the 80s came and the following Star Trek movies were more entertaining and easier to watch (again). Which could have been a reaction to the hugely successful popcorn cinema of Star Wars.

Edited by Pokeypy
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Star Trek: The Motion Picture is quite a unique movie, and one which I personally love. Of all of the Star Trek films made, it is by far the most atmospheric, although it comes at the expense of really dragging on at times. Had they edited out all of the nifty special effects shots to improve its pacing, the film would have suffered even more. In the end, it was really nothing more than a typical Star Trek episode expanded out to being a full-lengthed feature film thanks to the special effects budget they had. I'm probably one of the few people who truly like the movie, but at the same time I fully understand why so many others don't.

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