Star Trek: The Motion Picture Reviews

Page 1 of 149
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2012
To think this this film came out when I was just one year old, just like Star Wars which came out a year before I was born, makes me think...my God Jim...I'm old!

I've never been a huge Star Trek fan and never will be in all honesty. I did always enjoy the films with the original classic crew but never got into any of the TV series, especially the new stuff. I always preferred the Star Wars franchise for many reasons but mainly because it always looked so superior in virtually every department. This first Trek movie really does show the difference between the two franchises which both appeared in the same era, not taking anything away from Star Trek but it always did look more fake and plastic looking.

The effects in this first movie are a mixed bag really. The sequences towards the finale inside V'Ger don't look too bad (nice 2001-esque fantasy lighting effects), various spaceship shots look nice throughout and the costumes although drab don't age too badly. For the most part this film has aged badly if we're brutally honest about it, I don't wanna keep comparing it to Star Wars but there is a clear difference in quality which still stands to this day.

What I did always like about Trek was the way it tries to be realistic or at least approach things in a realistic fashion. I'm Not sure if they are merely homaging or copying '2001' but you can clearly see the influences in one sequence as we are treated to a grandiose panorama of the [i]Enterprise[/i] as she sits in her docking bay accompanied by a stirring Trek instrumental score. This epic approach is a far cry from the flashbang blaster fire and roaring starcruisers of a certain George Lucas affair. Star Trek is definitely aiming at the grown-ups here, the real sci-fi enthusiasts who name Kubrick's space opus as their holy bible...which Wise clearly did too.

I do like the way Wise gave the film a slow pace. Lots of character and background building alongside plenty of mission dialog and technical problems that might occur in reality for such a scenario. Its all classic Star Trek as you would remember from the original series but on a sexier scale with props that actually do look kinda real. In fact there's even more politically correct...goody two-shoes...prime directive...Federation type babble than you can wave a stick at, and Shatner loves his speeches.

The film was criticised for this slow unadventurous style but personally I like it, its one of the more realistic Trek movies offering exactly what you got with the original TV series...but prettier. I still to this day don't really understand why some folk (even Trek fans) don't like it. The main aspect of this film I like is the plot, yes the plot. Seems straight forward enough as the team are sent to intercept a mysterious alien phenomena heading towards earth, but I liked how the plot has its intriguing twist at the end. Again just like the classic show you get the danger and mystery with a cute little twist to keep you on your toes. Its not groundbreaking but it just makes you think a little, right up to the very end you're unsure what the hell will happen. How Kirk will save the day and what's the deal behind the alien cloud thing, that's good story telling right there methinks.

The continuity from the TV show to the big screen was handled well I thought although I'm no Trek expert. You have all the crew doing what they are best at of course, some new crews members (redshirt fodder perhaps?), plenty of well known typical Trek visuals and sounds, the crew handle most of the action from the ships bridge via the good old big screen on the wall and the [i]Enterprise[/i] looks slick with a bit of spit n polish to tart it up for the big screen.

Sure its not an in your face phaser fest with hand to hand fights against large lizard men but I for one thought the serious route was a good way to go. The film is more of an exploration adventure, it takes its time, slowly builds up, lots of space jargon...you don't know what their on about half the time but it just sounds good...I use my realism card again. It feels like a point n click strategic adventure game for your PC...I guess?

One of the oddest things when you think about it was the fact Wise directed this. You tend to remember Robert Wise for the Hollywood epics 'The Sound of Music' and 'West Side Story' which are two of the greatest musicals ever made probably. So its kinda funny to think he directed the first Star Trek movie, then again he did direct 'The Andromeda Strain' and 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' so he did have some good sci-fi experience.

Overall the special effects look fuzzy in places, lots of beige colour schemes going on with the ship and crew, plenty of nasty bluescreen evident I'm afraid...but its still very enjoyable sci-fi. Star Trek has its own little niche of being semi-serious and approaching everything logically but still utilising just enough fantasy to make it a charming pleasant ride.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2014
The first Star Trek film directed by Robert Wise manages to capture the vibe of the TV show and offer fans a good two hours of entertainment. Although, this film isn't a classic by any means, it's still enjoyable for what it is. There has been far better science fiction film, but this first film in the Star Trek franchise is quite good despite the fact that it does show its age. With this film, director Robert Wise crafts something entertaining, a film that has a good storyline, impressive performances and an effective mix of action and thrills. Fans of the show will surely enjoy this picture, and it's an effective continuation of what Gene Roddenberry accomplished with his show. I enjoyed this film, but like I said, it looks dated and the effects on-screen don't hold up too well. Nonetheless it's still an effective, entertaining Sci Fi film, one that should be seen by genre fans looking for a well constructed film. The sequel;, Wrath of Kahn would definitely improve on the elements that are lacking within the film, but as it is, Star Trek: The Motion Picture is entertaining from start to finish, but as a whole, it does leave a bit to be desired, which is what the follow up would improve upon. I must admit, I never was big into Star Trek, but I enjoyed this film and I felt that director Robert Wise, of whom I've enjoyed his previous work, is well suited to tackle this first big screen outing of the classic show. Despite the fact that I don't believe that this film is a genre classic, as it really didn't break new grounds in the genre, this film will surely appeal to viewers that are looking for a good Science Fiction film to watch.
garyX
Super Reviewer
½ November 23, 2006
The first in the long running movie franchise was a huge departure from the ethos of the series it was based upon, and as such disappointed the majority of fans who were expecting more of the same kitsch hi-jinx and polystyrene sets that endeared themselves to so many. The Motion Picture prefers to take its cues from more grandiose, epic sci-fi tales such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and although its inspirations are very obvious, it does very well in capturing a sense of awe and wonder that space exploration (at least used to) conjures up. The stars of the show are most certainly the pairing of SFX legends Trumbull and Dykstra and the visuals of this film are still astonishing to this day, and the addition of Jerry Goldsmith's suitably operatic score makes the original Trek film an audio-visual feast. The ponderous pace of the film will certainly put a lot of the Abrams generation off, but it is littered with many lovely character moments that are done with a lot more subtlety and sophistication than the increasingly silly and kitsch sequels, and Leonard Nimoy's Spock once more dominates the proceedings as his inner struggle with his emotions is echoed by the mysterious machine that threatens them. The plot is simple but clever and effective and the art design alone makes this film well worth the watch. It won't be to the taste of action junkies but those with a penchant for cerebral sci-fi can't fail to enjoy what for me is still amongst the very best of the Star Trek franchise.
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2013
I have to admit, I've never really been a "Star Trek" fan. It's always seemed boring to me, and over my head. Heck, most sci-fi is, except the big alien invasion movies. Not sure what it is, the just don't really do much for me. However, when the J.J. Abrams reboot came out a few years back, I gave it a chance and loved it. With the sequel coming up, I figured I would go back and watch some of the old movies to get a grasp on "Star Trek" as a whole and see if I missed something and missed out, or if it's still just not for me. I was told by a true Trekkie to just start with the second movie, and he was probably right. But, my OCD prevailed and I started with number one. This first movie is horrible. If I were a Trek fan when this was released(1979) I would have been furious and may have given up altogether. It's long(just over 2 hours) and very boring. I understand "Trek" is more hardcore sci-fi than other movies/shows, but this is ridiculous. It's pretty much everyone on the enterprise sitting and talking the entire movie. At some point you need action, and this movie fails to deliver it. As for the acting, it's not all bad, because the characters are interesting and Kirk(William Shatner) is pretty funny. Shatner is easily the best thing about the movie, and if not for him and his charisma, this would be a complete waste. Also, this movie is very dated, and time has not been kind to it at all. I plan on watching more because I've heard it gets a lot better, but this is a horrible first movie for any franchise
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2013
A very underrated film that sparked decades of Star Trek features, in which has spectacular visuals for it's time, and a score that will definitely remain in every fan's hearts. I love myself a good Sci-fi flick, and there are many reasons to say this film does not qualify, but to me, it's just good ol' fashion entertainment from start to finish. Sure it's a little slow and it doesn't need to be as long as it is, but it serves a purpose and opens a whole new Universe for the series to continue. There is not much character development here, but that is okay by me, because I want bigger and better films to come. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" is a very slow, but very enjoyable sci-fi adventure, even though I may be alone in saying that!
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
½ February 18, 2010
When this came out in 1979, it was a big deal. It was the first piece of new Trek in almost a decade. Then, as now, this is a baffling movie, and back then, probably not what people expected. I kind of liked it though. It basically is something like the Star Trek version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That's cool, because it shows Trek really going for art, but at the same time, the film is lengthy, slow, a bit boring, and doesn't have much rewatch value. 2001 actually does have more rewatch value than this, but not greatly so.

Even though this film is getting up there in years, the visual effects still look really cool. They were really impressive back in the day, and now have the distinction of having a cool datedness to them that doesn't actually work against the film. Aside from the drab uniforms (and no explanation for why they have the drab clothes), the art direction, set design, visual and sound designs, hell, all the technical stuff, is awesome. The music is damn phenomenal, too.

All in all, a mixed but decent movie. It's definitely striving for something unique and good, even if it doesn't quite get there all the way. If you are in the mood for atypical Trek, then perhaps you should give this a watch.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
The worst Star Trek movie ever filmed, mostly because of the director, who wasn't very familiar with the series, and the costume director who came up with the worst outfits ever seen. This movie is slow, boring, and way too long, sometimes I use it to help me fall asleep at night. It doesn't have a bad story really, the story is good, but everything else makes it torture to watch this movie. Only see this if you're a big fan of the show and don't mind fast forwarding a lot.
FilmFanatik
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2008
Wonderful adventure. Can be a bit boring at times, but overall, satisfying.
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2009
Not at all original, as it looks like a stretched TV episode, and it tries too hard to be 2001, dragging endlessly in long, contemplative scenes that seem to exist only to show the higher budget.
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2009
After a 10-year vacation (in human years at least), Kirk, who is now Admiral Kirk, goes onboard his old spaceship, the U.S.S. Enterprise once again. The Enterprise is now vastly updated with slicker looks and most of its crew members are relatively new; they never had to work under the eyes of Captain Kirk.
When a mysterious alien creature sets its sights on Earth, Captain Kirk, being the ruthless leader he is, just can't help but to take things in his own hands along with the help of some familiar faces (Spock, Bones, Uhura, etc.), and some new faces (Ilia, Decker, etc.). Will this be something such as a troublesome morphing creature, a device that swallows galaxies whole, or a simple Klingon invasion? Will it be a mission that just about anybody can solve or will it be so complicated that it requires things such as a Vulcan Mind Meld? There's only one way to find out!

"Star Trek - The Motion Picture" was made almost a year before I was born, so I never got the honor of seeing the original TV series or even this movie while they were showing for the first time. Nonetheless, I became addicted to watching Star Trek - The Original Series on the Sci-Fi channel, so I had to watch this movie.

I can imagine the thrills of the Star Trek fans that were watching this movie in the theatres. For the time (1979), "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" has some SPECTACULAR special effects! You'll see what I mean throughout the entire movie, especially in sequences such as what happens when the Enterprise goes into warp speed for the first time (in the movie). Just as impressive is the musical score and the sound effects. You'll hear an impressive echoing sound at times throughout the film and you'll also hear familiar pieces of music, along with some brand new ones. It's real easy to see why "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" was nominated for an award in both of those categories.

"Star Trek - The Motion Picture" is also done with style. Its plot is dynamic without being confusing or choppy, and the acting is also very well done. My only complaint with the movie's flow is that at times, certain scenes, such as when the Enterprise is on its path to V'Ger, seem to be pretty slow moving. In my opinion, these parts aren't boring; they give you more time to take in the dramatic visuals and for the suspense to take even more effect.

The makers and performers of "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" shot for the stars with all they had at the time, and I think they did a great job of making a classic film that will never be forgotten! While it might not be the VERY best movie in the galactic series, it was perfect for getting the series on its feet, or engines, and for showing the fans that the Enterprise and its crew had a great future ahead of them.

My eyes were glued to the screen the entire time that "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" was playing. There were times that my jaw dropped, even though the film is older than me. If you're a big fan of Star Trek - The Original Series, then don't take my word for it, purchase it for yourself and keep it dust-free in your collection! It's well worth it, to say the least. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2002. Awesomely underrated!
puffchunk
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2007
Okay. I wish there was more with the hot bald robot chick.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2009
After a decade in space dock the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise return in their first movie about an alien cloud that vaporizes everything heading straight for earth. What is it and why is it coming is a mystery for the crew to solve.

I don't remember seeing this in its theatrical form. The directors cut suffers from one thing: self important effects shots. Obviously the producers wanted to squeeze every penny out of its effects footage, so we get a ten minute shuttle run to the Enterprise. That damn ride lasted longer than an episode of the TV series. The effects are good, but to just show them off for the sake of showing them off is ridiculous. I know this was the post Star Wars world, but let's be serious. Give us some action. Cutting some of these scenes could have made the film forty minutes shorter and a tighter film instead of this trodding trek through space. The cast is typical with Shatner hamming it up as Shatner and the rest settling into the roles that they'll be stuck with until their dead and gone. The central premise is interesting once we get past the standard Star trek plot of something unknown destroying the universe. Once again, the pacing kills it. The film takes its time getting to the final resolution and wraps that up in a fraction of time. Disappointing.

But it is an enjoyable, too long film that opened the flood gates for the superior sequel that was scaled down and played tighter causing it to benefit. This film gets the shaft and deservedly so. It plays out more like a competition for the Hollywood space race after Star Wars. Every studio wanted to cash in and this was a great opportunity to dust off Star Trek. Thankfully the race died quick and producers went back to focusing a little bit on stories and not plastic models and lights.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2008
This DVD version has improved and restored and made Star Trek: TMP a pleasure to watch rather than a chore. You're less inclined to hit fast-forward in those lengthy scenes. This movie will resonate well with mature-age viewers because the story is not what you would expect from today's action packed cinema. I appreciated the movie more as I got older. Bob Wise explains on the DVD that production was extremely rushed and had no time to preview the film with an audience that would now after 20 years, tell him to tighten the opticals and emphasize characters. This is precisely what he has done in the DVD version and its magnificent.

Aesthetically, the DVD version shows you the best Star Trek: The Motion Picture can possibly look. Film is sharper; color is dead on however there is still a lot of film grain present unfortunately. My guess is they cleaned the original negative up as much as they could but it had deteriorated so much in storage, or was badly preserved. Certainly looks better than my bad pan/scanned VHS copy.

The DVD truly shines with its brand new sound mix. This isn't your standard stereo to 5.1 DVD conversions like they are doing for movies pre 5.1; they have gutted it up and added new stuff. The original release was so rushed that very little in terms of ambient sound and special effects audio elements were done on the sound mix amongst other production elements. For this DVD they went back to the original audiotapes and remixed them digitally.

Goldsmith's score sounded fantastic when it originally came out now sounds even better on the DVD version. It's tremendous, you will hear what your suppose to hear now with the added advantage of 5.1 surround sound. Goldsmith score truly has a chance to soar now by stretching into a clean high fidelity 5.1 environment rather than being squeezed onto a mono or stereo track. Bass kicks in often especially on big musical cues. You'll hear nifty panning and those surrounds and subwoofer will definitely get a workout. In instances they isolate different parts of the orchestra through different speakers, mainly the bass and percussion.

Most onstage dialog was re-recorded afterwards because of onstage noise due to mechanical devices etc; this is now common practice in the industry. The result is cleaner dialog that comes prominently out of your center speaker. The dialog audio is good, but on occasion it shows a mild muffled and tinny quality probably due to age of material or analog technology of the time, nevertheless I guarantee you, the average viewer will like it, I'm just being picky. In short the movie will sound almost as good as if the movie was made recently.

Not only having rebuilt the original audio they have put in more surround elements, like ambient bridge noises and computer voices. Not sure why they changed the `Intruder Alert' voice, I don't mind but I guess it was because they rushed the sound mix in the 70's and chose that voice as a last minute thing. There are other elements that have been changed, for the better I would say.

The DVD contents have been remastered with Wise's overseeing. There are too many subtleties to comment on so shall briefly discuss a few. Before opening credits you are treated to Goldsmiths V'ger/Love theme, a nice touch. Then you hear the bombastic Star Trek Theme. Newly done credits over moving starfield.

First main new special effect is the Vulcan landscape, tilting from sky to the surface. Then cuts to a new matte painting of the beautiful orange sky. Originally Spock shields his eyes and in the reversal, not only is there no sun there is little sky visible. The new matte painting now fits in nicely.

San Francisco sequence has been redone, 3 new matte paintings that better show the futurized city, Golden Gate Bridge and a bigger shuttlebay.

When they get into V'Ger they encounter a weapon heading towards them that is suppose to dissipate, in the original it simply disappears instantly, now we see a new visual that shows it dissipating just before it hits the ship.

Later we see a probe heading towards the ship on the viewscreen and then through some hokey editing it appears on the bridge. This has been replaced with an improved FX shot showing the approach of the entity on an exterior shot.

A new 'Wing Walk' sequence. Breathtaking new CGI's that show the away-team walk from the hull to the V'Ger stage, some using the original live action shots. New FXs for the most part are based on original storyboards. They didn't go overboard with the effects which is good, Bob tells us that they made FX that they could only do in the 1970's, unlike Star Wars whom George Lucas went overkill on new FX when he redid his in the 1990's.

There are trims, some rearrangements of shots for the better. E.g. Ilia/Deckers exchange of looks, Kirk's `Oh My God', his second `Viewer Off.' I suspect they had to edit within Jerry's score, or have to also edit Jerry's score to accommodate the new editing, if so they have done it very well, I couldn't notice. Some lengthy scenes remain in its entirety, e.g. flying up to the enterprise, I don't blame them for not trimming them, some are sentimental.

The 2 DVD's come with a plethora of information. Audio commentaries by the director, 2 special effect's guys, an actor and the composer guide you through the director's edition. Text commentary by Okuda gives even more scene specific info. Disc 2 gives you most of the trims, deleted scenes from the TV and Theatrical release not used in the DVD version and an outtake of an abandoned visual effect. Plus 3 documentaries about the abandoned TV series ST:Phase II, Directors edition DVD and the movie itself. Plus advertisements/trailers plus storyboards.

A MUST BUY FOR FANS! You'll Love It!
Super Reviewer
February 12, 2007
This really wanted to be as epic as it thought it was. The ship reveal was long and drawn out as it thought the image of the new ship would have people amazed... it didn't. It was fine but took forever.
I liked the story but we took forever to get into it and then it seemed to drag on a little more. We wrap up and I really get the feeling that the makers were going for a 2001 movie instead of the space adventure people wanted to see.
cancercapricorn2002
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2007
I don't consider myself a die hard Star Trek fan, but I do know that I liked the original series and found bright spots in "Next Generation" and "Deep Space 9". I've always felt that the reason Star Trek films are generally better than other TV series to film adaptations because they managed to reassemble the original cast, which fans loved because they never had to deal with drawing comparisons between a movie cast reinterpreting the beloved characters and the original cast themselves.

Reassmbled a good couple of years after the original series was canceled, James T. Kirk (William Shatner) reassumes command of the newly refurbished Enterprise from current Captain Will Decker (a much younger Stephen Collins of TV's "7th Heaven"), allegedly the son of the Commodore Matt Decker character played by William Windom in the "Doomsday Machine" episode of the old series. Why? Because there's a big ass alien cloud heading for Earth and destroying (or is it absorbing?) anything and everything that gets in its way (Klingon battle ships, Federation space stations, etc). Kirk is unhappy not being out there "hopping galaxies" so he uses this incident as a reason to take back his old ship and crew, sans Spock (Leonard Nimoy), which hurts Decker. Yep, Kirk's a man for the nostalgia of his glory days. After meeting an old flame of Decker, the humanoid Ilia (Persis Khimbata), getting caught in a worm hole and nearly being killed by an asteroid, Spock, who's on a soul search of his own, joins the gang and fixes up the Enterprise's last few bugs. From there, they get sucked into the cloud and embark on a dark, atmospheric, visually stunning and psychologically gut wrenching adventure of Paramount proportions.

The cast is good here, with Collins and Khimbata standing out as Decker and Ilia, respectively. Rather than present the audience with a big shoot 'em up adventure film, the writers have instead provided a more cerebral adventure, delving into feelings regarding how we view our existence and how some higher life form, in this case, the cloud that calls itself V'GER and seeks the "Creator", might view us. The film is in some peoples view a bit dull and dreary at times, lacking the panache of its sequels, I can see their point in a way but this is still a solid film, highlighted by what eventually became the theme for "the Next Generation" and some very impressive special effects.

This film was a rocky start to the the Trek film series but thankfully we got the next film which was the best of the Trek films.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2007
Star Trek returns to the big screen 20 years later in the post-Star-Wars sci-fi craze of the late 70's. It was nice seeing how all our favorite characters from the television series had aged. I wish they had explained what the characters had been doing in the last 20 years! It felt far removed from the series, with striking special effects. I didn't like the new uniform design, which looked like everybody was wearing frickin' pajamas! I loved the freaky transporter accident. The approach of Kirk and Scotty to the new Enterprise, with the Jerry Goldsmith orchestral score, was superb. All the music was great! The mid-section of the film where they fly into the cloud and then into the alien territory, seemed to go on forever; it's a cure for insomnia watching that. The romantic storyline with Ilea and Dekker was touching. When they reach their destination, it was awesome what they discovered. Everybody was so serious in this movie. It was a grand adventure, that had a plot somewhat derived from 2001.
Super Reviewer
May 14, 2007
For all the excitement this generated pre-release, it's actually really slow and dull. The next film in the series, Wrath of Khan, is when the movies started hitting their stride.
Beefy
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2007
Persis Khambatta was one of the all time great beauties. Film was more interesting as hard sci-fi, but less so as Trek.
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2011
It's the Star Trek film that's best forgotten. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (sometimes dubbed "The Motionless Picture") is spectacularly dreary and inexplicably turns an action/adventure television series into a boring, lifeless theatrical film. The story itself is interesting enough and has a few good twists, but the execution is exceptionally poor (particularly the directing). Still, the special effects add a certain amount of wonder and intrigue, and Jerry Goldsmith provides a magnificent score. The tragedy of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is that it had virtually unlimited material from the series to pull from, but instead produced something incredibly mundane.
themoviewaffler.com
Super Reviewer
½ April 8, 2013
After destroying three Klingon warships, a mysterious cloud of energy does likewise to a Starfleet monitoring station. The cloud is discovered to be heading towards earth, where the famed Starship Enterprise is the only vessel close enough to intercept it. The ship, however, is in the middle of being refitted. It's former captain, James T. Kirk (Shatner), is now an admiral based in San Francisco. He assumes command of the vessel, demoting its captain, Willard Decker (Collins). Meanwhile, on the planet Vulcan, Spock (Nimoy) experiences a telepathic connection with the cloud, which appears to possess a conscience. He joins the Enterprise as science officer and is accompanied by Dr. McCoy (Kelley) to complete the old crew. The ship's navigator, Ilia (Khambatta), a former lover of Decker, is abducted by a probe from the cloud and replaced by a doppelganger. Decker endeavours to communicate with his lover's double while Spock attempts to mind-meld with the cloud.
The crew of Starfleet's most famous ship had been absent from screens for a full ten years by 1979, not counting the animated adventures. Ironically, given how many sci-fi fans nail their flags to the mast of either 'Star Trek' or 'Star Wars', it's George Lucas that Trekkers have to thank for the return of their beloved franchise. Thanks to the success of 'Star Wars' in 1977, sci-fi had returned to the mainstream on a scale not seen since the B-Movie craze of the fifties. Unlike that earlier decade, sci-fi was now big business, with movie producers eager to pump unprecedented amounts of money into what they hoped would be the next galactic blockbuster. If you owned a lunch-box in the late seventies, and indeed early eighties, chances were it featured 'Star Wars', 'Buck Rogers', 'Battlestar Galactica' or any other movie or TV sci-fi based franchise.

Paramount found themselves sitting on a potential gold-mine, owning the rights to the most popular genre TV show of all time. Earlier, in 1975, work had begun on bringing Trek to the big screen. Despite the efforts of a host of writers, including heavyweights like Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury, the studio couldn't settle on an engaging enough story and abandoned their plans in 1977, ironically just before the release of 'Star Wars'. Instead, they turned their focus on bringing the series back to the small screen, ordering work to begin on a pilot for 'Star Trek: Phase II'. The script for this T.V return, entitled 'In Thy Image' would ultimately form the basis of 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture'.
This is ultimately the film's weakness. The story is very grounded in T.V and would have satisfied as a two-part pilot in living rooms. For a movie arriving in the wake of the cinematic 'Star Wars', however, it's a huge anti-climax. Legendary director Robert Wise ('The Haunting', 'West Side Story', 'The Day the Earth Stood Still') does a fine job of making the film visually interesting but, as the crude old saying goes, "you can't polish a turd". Aside from the opening scenes of destruction and a great, though too close to comedic for some viewers, docking sequence which recalls '2001: A Space Odyssey', the film is stage-bound, (the stage in this case being the interior of the Enterprise).

For many fans, the best episodes of the series were often those which featured Kirk coming up against aliens on strange worlds. Kirk spends much of the running time of 'ST:TMP' essentially looking out a window. The relationship between Kirk, McCoy and Spock never gets to shine here the way it did so satisfyingly in the series. To put it simply, the film's just not a lot of fun. The greatest legacy of this first big-screen outing is probably Jerry Goldsmith's fantastic score. The movie opens with an overture, something not witnessed since the widescreen epics of the fifties and sixties, and the new theme would be re-used for 'The Next Generation'. Goldsmith's music, Douglas Trumbull's effects, and Wise's direction, lend the film an epic scale it ultimately struggles to live up to, thanks to its weak script. Thankfully, the sort of Trek movie fans were hoping for would arrive with the first sequel in 1982.
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