We Have Found the Nuclear Wessel.
I do find myself a little impatient to reach the end of my run with the Star Trek movies. I’ve been reviewing and watching so much Star Trek stuff recently that girls literally run at the sight of me, whereas before they just laughed and walked calmly away from me. I guess they can smell it on you. But I also hate leaving a series unfinished, so I must continue on. It’s not as if it’s that painful to make it through these movies. Thus far, I’ve enjoyed two out of three of the Star Trek movies, but I’m still waiting for the drastic drop in quality I’ve heard about with them. Could this be one such movie? We’ll find out as I review Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, written by Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, and Nicholas Meyer, directed by Leonard Nimoy, and starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Catherine Hicks, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Mark Lenard, Jane Wyatt, Majel Barrett, and Robin Curtis.
After the events of the last movie, the crew that survived the destruction of the USS Enterprise – Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), helmsmen Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Commander Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), and communications officer Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) – agree unanimously to return to Starfleet headquarters on Earth to face prosecution for the crimes they committed. But on their way back, they receive a distress signal from Earth, saying that they’re about to be destroyed because a tube in space is trying to find whales and we killed them all. The only way for the Enterprise crew to save the planet is to travel back in time to the present (or this movie’s version of the present 1986) to when whales still existed and bring two of them back to their time. In 1986, they find two whales that are about to be released into the wild under the care of Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks), but convincing her to give up the whales is not their only concern. They must also repair and repower their ship while fitting it to handle whales in a time where the technology doesn’t exist to accomplish any of those things.
I would say that I now enjoy three of the four Star Trek movies that I’ve seen. This one is still good. I’m really waiting to see that drop in quality I keep hearing about. Most of the movie was light-hearted and fun, and the movie was based around a message I agree with, but it was a little heavy-handed. The movie was basically all about how we need to save the whales, all set into a Star Trek back drop. I agree with your message, and I even think that it’s a proper enough premise to base a movie around, but it doesn’t really feel like a Star Trek movie. And the probe didn’t even come to take the whales back. It just showed up to check to make sure we hadn’t fucked up too badly. So their motivation was basically just to see what big jerks humans would be. But though I was torn about the premise the whole movie was based on, I still found it an enjoyable experience. A lot of the moments when the Enterprise crew were trying to get around in 1986 were amusing and made the heavy-handed message the movie was beating me over the head with much more tolerable. Time travel can also be dangerous in movies, making overcoming obstacles a little too easy. That could be considered the case with this movie as well. All they have to do is fly around the sun and they’re back in the 80’s? That’s like Superman problem solving. If it’s that easy then why don’t they just do it every time they need a second chance at something? Also, I know that Kirk’s line to Spock where he says, “Start your computations for time warp,” was a second draft. The original line was obviously, “Let’s do the time warp again.” I also took issue with how incompetent they made the “present” day military seem. They announced a security breech and yet none of the military people walking through the halls of the ship seemed to be that interested in the stranger in street clothes running past them. I think military people are trained better than that, even back in 1986.
The movies still seem to be improving visually. Even though I still think that green is an odd style choice for Klingons, the ship looked good. They still have not really figured out a good excuse for how they’re able to watch the previous movies though. They start out the movie watching scenes from the previous movie, but never think of a good reason that all of those camera angles were recorded by security cameras. Are we to believe that the vessels of Starfleet have cameras in a constant orbit to get the camera angles to make security footage more interesting? It also made me wonder why there are always such fights between Trekkies and Star Wars fans when Industrial Light and Magic did the visuals for this movie. I also took issue with the audio in some parts of the movie. First, the first thing I thought when I heard the probe was that it sounded like a robotic whale. About 10 minutes later, the Enterprise crew figured out the same thing. I can’t necessarily say that I’m smarter than them though because I vaguely remember hearing that whales took some part in the movies. Later, I also took issue with the shitty, 80’s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles style music they drop. I know they’re in the 80’s, but I also know that some good music came out of that decade. The worst issue with the music was the music they played when they were running around the hospital. Think of the worst, most corny and on the nose music you can think of for a goofy chase scene. …You got it. It was ridiculously close to Yakety Sax or something.
Again, the performances are mostly unchanged and offer not much to say other than what I’ve already said about them. Though they had done it frequently in the television show, I don’t recall Spock having too many humorous moments in the previous movies, but it was the greater majority of what he did in this one. As humorous as I found it to see some of the other Enterprise crew interact with the people of 1986, Spock topped it out. Well, there was at least one moment I found amusing with George Takei, but I’m not sure it was intentional. It was when he said he was born in San Francisco. Sulu may have been born in San Francisco, but there’s also a chance Takei was just dropping hints before he was ready to kick open the old closet doors. I liked Catherine Hicks well enough. She was cute in personality and in appearance, and she got inexplicably nipply around the end of the movie. I was also entirely confused by the guy that owned the factory that Doohan visited. What was the reason for the giant “I Quit Smoking” pin that he was wearing? Good for you, buddy. But what does that have to do with the manufacturing of Plexiglas?
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a solid enough movie. The story was fun in the parts where they weren’t trying to make a point, and the point they were trying to make – though it was a good one – was a little heavy-handed and perhaps not best suited for a vaguely goofy science fiction movie. But the cast still does a great job, and I’d say I’d be able to recommend this movie for a watch as well. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home gets “They like you very much, but they are not the hell your whales” out of “Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word.”
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