Media Monday: Star Trek: the Motion Picture

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday
Star Trek: The Motion Picture Poster

Image belongs to Paramount

Title: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Media Type: Feature Film
Released: 1979
Director: Robert Wise
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: [from IMDB]

When a destructive space entity is spotted approaching Earth, Admiral Kirk resumes command of the Starship Enterprise in order to intercept, examine and hopefully stop it.

My Review:

As those of you who follow me on Twitter might know, I’ve spent the last month or so obsessing over Star Trek – or at least obsessing over Spock. I’ve been voraciously devouring everything I can get my hands on, and that includes every movie and all the spin offs (eventually. There’s a lot of material out there).

Unfortunately Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the worst specimen of the Star Trek franchise that I have yet encountered. For one thing, it was painfully obvious that the premise made its start as a television show and was having trouble making the jump to movie format. Several times, they would spend what felt like HOURS just panning across the ship to music – the one that comes to mind is when Kirk first comes back to the Enterprise. They cut back and forth between the look on Kirk’s face and the view of the ship four or five times for a few MINUTES each time before they finally get on with it and let Scotty dock the shuttle. Okay guys, we get it, he’s proud of his ship. MOVE ON!

Another thing that really bugged me was Spock himself. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, Spock has been relegated back to the two-dimensional smart guy – tell us important stuff, and then LEAVE (or at least sit quietly). Part of the reason Spock was so wonderful in the original series is because he was three dimensional! I did a whole post on this on my other blog, but basically Spock was a well rounded character, with a good back-story, and on top of that, a sense of self-confidence that smart characters are rarely given! In this movie though? Stiff as a board, only giving information when asked, hardly speaking but when spoken to. If we had been given a reason (and that whole “training for Kolinahr changed him” is crap. He wouldn’t be changed THAT MUCH – especially since later he isn’t even changed that much by DYING AND THEN BEING RESURRECTED. [Spoiler, highlight to read]) I didn’t even care about Spock for most of the movie, and considering he was my favorite character, that’s saying something.

Beyond that, the writing was just plain sloppy. An old earth satellite goes away, gets a makeover, and comes back deadly? Where have I heard that before… oh that’s right, they totally did that on an episode in season 2! It was barely enough material for a TV episode then, and you want to turn it into a movie? HA! And don’t even get me started on bald navigator lady. First you tell me that she has taken a vow of celibacy because of something about the culture on her home planet (they’re never real specific), and, okay, I’ll buy that. But don’t expect me to believe you later when you imply with the strength of an anvil dropping on Wile E. Coyote that she’s always had an all-consuming love for the (new) first officer! BULLSHIT! If she’s “always loved him” then she damn well would NOT have taken a vow of celibacy, because she clearly doesn’t believe in it! GAH!

I guess the film did have its moments. Once or twice I had a real squee when I recognized a theme in the music that was quoted in the 2009 movie. But the sloppy writing and stereotypical characterization just really put me off. I hope that was the worst of it!

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6 Responses to “Media Monday: Star Trek: the Motion Picture”

  1. Well, you know what they say, Anne: Even numbered Trek films don’t suck. Conversely, this one was pretty craptastic. I still watch it, it’s just mildly painful compared to the others. Well, compared to 2, 4, & 6. I mean, 3 & 5 were not my idea of a good time because they were odds.

    What was I talking about again?

    • Anne says:

      I actually *didn’t* know that’s what they said, though that makes perfect sense judging by what I’ve seen! Though I did enjoy McCoy with Spock’s brain, that was about the ONLY good part of 3, aside from a few funny lines.

      I didn’t realize you were a Trekkie! Is the Original Series your favorite, or do you prefer a spin-off?

      • I’m more of a Star Wars fan than a Star Trek fan. I pretty much like all the different series, though. The original was fun and campy. Next Generation was what was on when I was growing up so I’ve seen ALL OF THEM. I *really* liked Enterprise. DS9 was… meh. I think I was burned out by the time that came on. I’m drawing a blank on the other series at the mo. I love the movies, though. The Next Gen movies were just fun. FUN!

  2. I love that the music seemed to be a saving grace for you. :) I totally get TV shows trying to be movies … sometimes it just doesn’t work, BUT I’m happy the makers of Star Trek persevered because 30 years later, they finally found their footing.

    • Anne says:

      Well, this *is* ME we’re talking about. If anything is going to be a redeeming factor of any movie then it’s probably the music 😛

      We should GO SEE the next Trek movie while you are here! It should still be in theaters! 😀

  3. […] Monday (2/11) I complained about the poor writing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. […]

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