Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Star Trek: The Motion Picture


An energy cloud is heading towards earth destroying everything in it's path including three Klingon battle cruisers and a federation asteroid base. The Enterprise is almost finished it's refitting with a new warp engine and all new bridge when Kirk is assigned to intercept this cloud and find out what it wants and how to stop it. Kirk, an admiral now convinces his CO to give him back command of the Enterprise which he takes away from Captain Decker, who he temporarily demotes to Commander.

Once underway, Spock shows up and docks with the Enterprise saying he felt the presence at the center of the energy cloud and had to join them. Once they arrive they are able to make partial contact with the energy cloud, but it takes the Enterprises navigator, Lt. Ilia. Later Ilia returns but as a machine replica. She indicates that Ilia herself is dead but her memory engrams were perfectly copied.

From Ilia they learn that the entity in the center of the energy cloud is called V'ger and is looking for it's creator so they can join. Kirk tricks Ilia by saying he knows who the creator is and will reveal it only to V'ger. She takes them to the core where they discover that V'ger is the 6th Voyager probe that had disappeared in a black hole hundreds of years ago.

They conclude that it must have met an alien race, a race of machines based on the description Ilia provides, that upgraded V'ger and sent it back to Earth. Over the hundreds of years it gathered information about the galaxy and it's upgraded intelligence still focused on it's primary objective, gathering information and bringing it back to Earth.

But it considers people not to be the creators but an infestation and feels it must destroy every person. Kirk tells V'Ger that they are the creators and gets Uhura to send the activation code for the Voyager probes. But the last part of the code can only be passed in by someone being aborbed into V'Ger. Since Decker's love interest was Ilia who was killed and absorbed into V'Ger he volunteers and becomes one with V'ger. V'ger then leaves, disappearing and going who knows where.


This movie is generally accepted as the worst Star Trek movie ever made. I wouldn't say it is the worse Star Trek ever made, there are plenty original series episodes and even TNG, Voyager and definitely Enterprise episodes that are worse. I think this movie got it's bad reputation from having many long scenes that added little to the story. From scenes of the Kirk and Scotty doing a lap around the Enterprise that felt like it took at least 5 minutes to scenes looking at the vastness of the V'Ger space ship. They added scenes that were hard to even understand what was going on such as the wormhole scene where all sounds were distorted almost beyond recognition. Overall I feel like they could have cut at least 30 minutes from this movie and it would have done much better. I noticed that 

The characters themselves seemed foreign to me. Kirk was cold and bitter, McCoy was McCoy but a more angry version. Spock was even more emotionless. They try to explain it as he was performing a ritual to purge all remaining emotions but it made him less likable as a character. The tension between Kirk and Decker was weird because Kirk was being a jerk in how he handled everything and while Decker's anger was understandable and even relatable, we aren't really given a good reason why it had to play out that way.

I did enjoy the overall story. I remember the basics from when I watched it as a kid, but watching it from a fresh perspective, especially after watching The Original Series made some things more interesting. They finally show the Klingons more as we know them, with forehead ridges and body armor. They aren't exactly like the Klingons from TNG and DS9 but they were close. They also spoke Klingon which was a first. There are things in the Enterprise that were more familiar too. Instead of having a warp engine which was a big long tunnel in Engineering there was an actual warp core, much like the Enterprise D.

Borg Theory

I read a book after Star Trek: Generations was released written by William Shattner, where the Borg find Kirk's body and revive it. They introduce the idea that V'Ger was actually assimilated by the borg which means that the Borg don't need to assimilate Spock since Spock did mind meld with V'Ger. This means the Borg already have his uniqueness added to their own. It is an interesting twist with many holes, but there are lots of references in this movie that do fit. They mention that there was a race of "living machines" which the Borg do fit. V'Ger does want to join with it's creator possibly creating a cyborg.

In the end it is a theory, but it is interesting to think about. Spock even says "resistance would be futile, Captain" at one point.

Red Shirts

It is hard to classify the deaths in this movie since the uniform colors all changed and even within the movie was not consistent. The science officer died during transport and that would normally be a blue shirt but I don't know who was transporting with him. Ilia was the navigator which normally wears gold. I am not going to count Decker as dead as they don't explicitly say it. So for this movie I am saying no red shirts died.


"No, Admiral. I don't think you're sorry. Not one damned bit. I remember when you recommended me for this command. You told me how envious you were and how much you hoped you'd find a way to get a starship command again. Well, sir, it looks like you found a way." - Decker

"Well, for a man who swore he'd never return to the Starfleet." - Kirk
"Just a moment, Captain, sir. I'll explain what happened. Your revered Admiral Nogura invoked a little-known, seldom-used reserve activation clause. In simpler language, Captain, they drafted me!" - McCoy
"They didn't." - Kirk
"This was your idea. This was your idea, wasn't it." - McCoy

"Why does V'Ger travel to the third planet of the solar system directly ahead?" - Kirk
"To find the Creator." - Ilia
"To find the Creator? Whose? ...What does V'Ger want with the Creator?" - Kirk
"To join with him." - Ilia
"Join with the Creator? ...How?" - Spock
"V'Ger and the Creator will become one." - Ilyia
"And who is the Creator?" - Spock
"The Creator is that which created V'Ger." - Ilia
"Who is V'Ger?" - Kirk
"V'Ger is that which seeks the Creator." - Ilia

"Spock, this "child" is about to wipe out every living thing on Earth. Now, what do you suggest we do? Spank it?" - McCoy

"Any show of resistance would be futile, Captain." - Spock

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