Star Trek: The Motion Picture


I’ve heard lots of bitching about this movie and I’m going to tell you one thing you’d better damn well drill into your skull. The Motion Picture ain’t a bad movie and with the release of The Director’s Cut a couple of years back, it’s only been improved. I’ll tell you something else, my little children, this is the last time that Star Trek ever looked and behaved like the epic it’s supposed to be. The space scenes were sweeping and majestic, the sights and sounds were gigantic, and the musical score was out-fucking-standing.

I mean, that gonging thing? I don’t know what the hell it was, but I loved it.

The story isn’t terrible, but it is unusual especially for science fiction as there is very little action to be beheld in this film’s staggering seventeen hour runtime. What it is about is going where no one has gone before and exploring something new and dangerous. Children, that’s what Star Trek is! That’s the core principle!  You’ve got to admit that The Motion Picture is the most ambitious movie they ever did.

Well, getting back to the director’s edition of this movie I’ll just come out and say it… thanks to a little nip here, a little tuck there, a little face lift in a few places, and lots of trimming the fat, Star Trek: The Motion Picture has been given a new lease on life and has finally been put into a position where it can earn the accolades from the fans it deserves.

This Director’s Edition cuts almost five minutes off the theatrical release running time (and almost twenty off that horrible VHS release) and presents a slicker, more fluid story.  Add to the fact that the print has been cleaned and polished and that, instead of drab and dreary pastel colors, the movie now contains all the colors of the rainbow.   Sure, it doesn’t fix the fact that Kirk and Company are still dressed in those ridiculous looking pajamas, but it really gives the until now flat movie some depth.

This is a movie you can loose yourself  in.  The epic story, the characterization, the conflict, and the mythology are completely engaging and the new soundtrack sounds amazing!

That, and the movie contains several brand new special effects sequences including a new view of Starfleet Headquarters, more stuff with the wormhole, more Vger, and the best part: when Kirk, Ilia, Decker, Spock, and McCoy depart the Enterprise to finally meet face to face with the Vger entity.  It’s absolutely astounding.  Thankfully, there are no additional special effects that distract from the movie… no shitty looking scene where Greedo shoots first or where there’s a dance number in the middle of Jabba’s palace.  The new effects don’t change the movie, they don’t alter character arches, and they aren’t put in for the sake of being put in.  The new effects enhance and reinforce the story, period.  George Lucas: take some notes.

Even more astounding is how this facelift and re-editing have upped my opinion of this movie so drastically.  This new version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture kicks more tail than a Klingon in a head butting contest and I haven’t even mentioned the special features that go along with this DVD!


Interesting Fact: Paramount then announced that they would be creating a new TV network, initially operating one night a week showing Paramount TV-movies and a new “Star Trek” series about the Enterprise’s second 5-year mission, with most of the original cast and the title “Star Trek Phase II”. It soon became clear that they could not make a go of the new network, but Paramount continued work on the new series in the hope of selling it to one of the existing networks. Eventually, this television series’ pilot episode – heavily re-written – became Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The original pilot, titled “In Thy Image” would have followed the same basic plot as TMP but instead of the Voyager 6 Space Probe, the crew would have found… Jesus Christ, an alien returning to Earth for worship and tribute.

“Each of us… at some time in our lives, turns to someone – a father, a brother, a God… and asks…? Why am I here? What was I meant to be?”
– Spock

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About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.