Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

I’ve never seen a Star Trek movie until now. It’s a bit weird I guess, as it’s one of the more larger franchises out there. There have been more sequels to Star Trek than your average horror franchise. Only Friday The 13th has more installments than Star Trek.
But with the 2009 version of Star Trek coming out I thought it was time to catch up on some history starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Star Trek was launched in the slipstream of the success of Star Wars. And thus one would expect sort of less a movie like that. Sadly that is not the case. Star Trek is a movie that has basically not one action scene which makes it look more like 2001 than Star Wars.

The story is fairly simple: big giant space cloud is devouring everything in it’s path, Kirk and comrades are sent in The Enterprise to stop this. That setup was also used in the 1986 Transformers movie, only executed better.
Now even with the lack of a story the movie could very well be interesting if there were some twists and turns in it. Action sequences that glue you to your seats and such. Sadly we have to do it with that bit of plot and some nice visuals. With just this the movie runs over two hours. “How do they manage that?” you ask me… well I’ll tell you:

The director of this film was probably so glad with all the miniature models, sets and visual effects he had to his possession he thought it was necessary to show these things to us in long sequences, and I mean really long sequences. For instance: in the beginning Kirk and Scotty are being launched in some sort of transport pod that will bring them to the Enterprise. This sequence lasts about 5 minutes and those 5 minutes have basically no dialogue. Just the ship flying to it’s destination, Kirk looking out of the window, Close-ups of the Enterprise etc. Really a moment you just can press Fast Forward. This can be done multiple times during the movie like when The Enterprise enters the all-consuming cloud and we get a pretty long “trip” (yes it’s psychedelic from times to times… a bit like 2001)

Luckily the movie’s very funny too, although most of the times unintentionally. The special effects look really dated at some places in the movie, like the electric bolts in the beginning. The scenery of Vulcan is obviously made out of matte paintings and when close up you can see that the rocks are plastic(-like). Must be some local mineral I guess… I just couldn’t help but laughing when at one moment something fails and Kirk makes a “damn it”-move on the table. It was so unintentionally funny.

I’m guessing that most of the movie was very easy for the crew to film. Most of it occurs on the ship. Basically we constantly see the control room in which the crew is operating and looking on screens and then we cut to something outside the crew is looking at. In most cases you never get the feeling that they’re really interacting. In none of the scenes do we directly see the crew in a room with a window through which we see things happen. For all I know they could be light years away from that terror and are they looking at a screen. Even inside the planet-swallower the ship never really comes in contact with it’s surroundings. Never a little bump here or there. No interaction.

So this movie isn’t great and should’ve been trimmed at least 30 to 45 minutes, but it is fun to watch except for the moments where the pacing isn’t off.

Star Trek Screenshot
In the future, interior decorating will look like this
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Motion Picture Poster
Star Trek: The Motion Picture

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