Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home Reviews
Was this the right approach? well maybe, I can't deny that the film is very entertaining with some well crafted family fun moments that make all the veteran actors even more endearing in their now historical roles. How can anyone fail to love these guys? look at Spock in his hippy outfit...hilarious right?...right?!! Quite literately old age pensioners in space (with Shatner and Doohan getting fatter by the sequel and Koenig's hair piece becoming more obvious) and still saving the Earth, what a team! So yes kudos for the alternate direction and some lovely amusing moments which can't fail to make you smile but...
On the other hand did this film really do much to bolster Star Treks sci-fi rankings within the sci-fi hall of fame? I'm not so sure really, we all know Star Trek has that little niche of semi-serious logical sci-fi mixed with blatant fantasy but for me this plot just took one step too far. There is really only so far you can go before you have to step back and say hold on, and I think the whales went over that mark.
Earth is in trouble (again), oh geez! A weird object in space that looks like a black cylinder connected to a football by a beam of intense white light is headed to Earth. Note the rather blatant '2001' obelisk clone conveniently changed to a cylinder...well that's what I think. Unsurprisingly this foreign object is draining everything of its power as they usually do. When in orbit around the Earth the object knocks out the global power grid and starts tearing the planets weather system apart...inadvertently. This alien thing is seemingly calling to humpback whales which are currently extinct in the year 2286 so the ageing crew simply decide to use a time warp into the past to casually pick up some humpback whales and bounce back to the their present before anyone knew they were there.
Now is it me or is this premise just a tad beyond the realms of a reasonably sensible film? The last film saw a main character resurrected because they needed to keep the franchise going after the surprise blockbuster and now they can jump through time to fix problems...with whales, these guys can't be beaten!
The story is indeed an ingenious creation (they do tend to come across a lot of unknown energy sapping problems don't they), a good message about the environment and endangered species but for me the time travel thing just never sat well. Its too convenient and renders the Enterprise crew almost insurmountable in any given situation. Problem? well we'll just pop back in time with a time warp and hocus pocus every things gonna be OK. Don't even get me started on how they managed to somehow transport these massive whales in massive tanks of seawater...Jesus!
All that aside its a completely new breathe of fresh air to have the film set almost entirely on a planet surface, especially our own. This does infact render special effects almost obsolete for most of the film...almost. Being set on present day Earth (1986) Nimoy was able to do a lot more without worrying about the confines of space limitations and real science. This movie really felt like a far out comedic fantasy where anything goes and Earthbound visual gags were a tour de force. Naturally being set in the 80's you can't not have a gag utilising a stereotypical 80's punk...that's virtually an obligation.
Alas there are still many many typically nasty Star Trek bluescreen shots, hokey sets, some hideously obvious whale footage crowbarred in and pretty obvious matte paintings. On the other hand you do still get a solid array of decent looking starship models and the ever lovely Earth Spacedock. We also get to see much more interior of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey ship which up to this point had never really been explored much. On the whole I did actually like the misty atmosphere of the ship, the dark green colour palette set against various red LED panel lights, it looked mean and aggressive.
I can see why this did well upon release as its a fun film with a good message and happy ending. True it does feel like a long tourism advert for San Francisco and the humorous side makes the entire feature come across like something as daft as 'Crocodile Dundee...in space'. For me the plot has gone from generic in the last two films to completely outlandish in this film, such a sweeping change in concepts and tone! much suspension of disbelief required here.
Yet much like the previous two films I neither overly dislike or overly like this fourth effort. Its a movie of its time, I accept it for what it is and the movie itself knows what its aiming for, so to that degree I can't really moan. It is a typical Star Trek plot...but one of the more stupid plots, the classic TV series always did have good and bad plots. I can't really score this very high because apart from the childish funny moments that are indeed sweet the rest is pure dodgy hokem that still doesn't really look any better than the last two movies (the original still looking the best at this point).
The acting is great, the pacing is good, hilarity is everywhere, and the happy ending makes one feeel all warm and fuzzy inside. Nimoy is a good director, and it's a shame he didn't end up directing any more of these films. I think he should go back and give it another try. Oh yeah, one more thing. The plot, like the specifics, ispretty weird, and I kinda onder what kind of drugs Nimoy was on when he came up with this stuff. Not that I'm complaining, but seriously, wtf man.
Admiral Kirk and the crew discover a signal in humpback whales' language that earth will be destroyed unless they can discover a way to find two humpback whales from the 20th century and transport them to the 23rd century.
If you like the other Star Trek movies, you will probably like "The Voyage Home." Unlike the other movies in the classic series, it is just as much of a comedy movie as it is an adventure. I thought a lot of the movie was funny, especially the part where the crew pretends to be doctors in a hospital and are chased by the police. "The Voyage Home" isn't my favorite Star Trek movie, but it is a great movie and one of the best. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. This one packed in more of a comedic touch and I'd rank it 3rd out of the first 4 movies.
"You must be out of your mind?"
"Is there something wrong with the one I've got?
Really this is the perfect film for all trekie fans, myself included. Highly recomend!
This is the one with the whales.
Star Trek IV continues the work of the previous two and starts off where three leaves off. The crew is preparing to leave Vulcan in their Klingon vessel, but while they're gone a mysterious probe has come to earth and is disrupting electronics and weather on the planet all while sending an odd sounding message that Spock (Leonard Nimoy) figures out is whale songs. All they need is whales to return the message right? Wrong. Whales were killed to extinction in the 21st century. The only answer now is to time warp back to the era of Reagan and bring back some whales.
As you can tell Star Trek IV is going to be a fish out of water film akin to Back to the Future only a little more pronounced. Every other scene entails some member of the crew facing 20th century culture in the weirdest way. That's to be expected, but it does get old after awhile. It's also rather telling that the plot is basically taken from the first film just jumbled up a bit. Another mysterious probe threatens earth. Jesus, why is everyone so pissed off at us.
Nimoy returns to direct again and does so adequately. There's no real flash and as I said in the other reviews the actors are the same as they had been for twenty years. Overall Star Trek IV is an average film that plays to much on the fish out of water. It's a preachy film and with that comes the responsibility to allow the viewer to understand that something is a problem without slamming it down your throat and not sacrificing the story. This film fails on both fronts.
Part 2 of the series is easily my favourite to this day of the Star Trek movies, so part 3 was a major problem, being so very dull and heavy, but part 4 was an improvement simply because it was so much more light hearted and fun. The plot is potentially very silly and a barely hidden ecological subtext that threatens to sink the film, but it is delivered with tongue in cheek and it is that saves it. The mocking humour is gentle and really carries the film as fish-out-of-water gags abound and the contrast between the crew and their surroundings is used well.
While the plot is nonsense, the cast all enjoy themselves in whatever roles the script gives them. Shatner has the biggest role of course but has the least fun as he has to carry the unlikely love interest. Nimoy is good fun despite having a follow on from the last film that is a little heavy and he does a steady job as director. The rest of the crew have small roles but each is funny - whether it's Chekov appearing to be a communist spy, McCoy berating modern doctors as the Spanish inquisition and Sulu happily flying helicopters for some reason.
Overall this is not the best Star Trek film as it lacks any real action, excitement or tension, but what it lacks in this area it makes up for in terms of gentle laughs. Looking at it alone it is only reasonable but after watching the dull `Search for Spock' this is a fun relief.
All that aside, it is a fun adventure and once you push aside the preaching you can see that the actors had a lot of fun making this flick.
Also, the music is great.