Travelling Through the Star Trek Universe, Part I. Viewing Notes on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. @StarTrek @Hulu #StarTrek #GuiltyPleasure #movie

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It’s time to revisit all the Star Trek movies. It’s my favorite intellectual property, but don’t expect me to act the apologist. As my friends will attest, I’m happy to criticize the things I love, but there’s a lot to love here as well. The things we tolerate for drama. *sigh* This post doubles as an entry in my Guilty Pleasures; it wasn’t well received by anyone. It isn’t the first Star Trek movie to be in that category, and it won’t be the last. Here are my viewing notes.

Nice theme music. I remember getting into a mild argument with my uncle. I claimed that they reused it for the Star Trek: the Next Generation series. Guess who won that argument.

“I’m so offended they changed the Klingons! How can we explain this in canon?!” The FASA Star Trek RPG did so brilliantly (which they adapted from John M. Ford‘s work), and the canon explanation from Star Trek: Enterprise wasn’t bad either.

Trivia: Mark Lenard was the first actor to play three different species in the Star Trek universe. In my favorite Star Trek episode, Balance of Terror, he played a Romulan commander. In Journey to Babel, he played Sarek, Spock’s Vulcan father. In this movie, he was the Klingon commander. If I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t until Jeffrey Combs played Shran that someone else accomplished the feat. I’m not entirely sure about that though. It could have been Tony Todd or Joseph Ruskin. I’m too lazy to look it up.

I’m not even three minutes into the substantive content, and we’re already getting a scene with unnecessarily long exterior views of things that don’t matter. We get it. The space station is big. Really big.

Ooooo, a backwards-firing photon torpedo. We’ve never seen that before. Wait. Why not? How stupid were the designers of these ships?

I don’t think the movie ever explained that the voice calling out to Spock was Kirk’s, not V’Ger. I seem to remember from the novelization that it was Kirk. I read the novelizations of the first five Star Trek movies. Yeah, that includes the Final Frontier. That book was pretty good. Sybok could have been the best villain ever.

Poor Sonak. He didn’t realize what was in store for him, but he almost deserves it. You’re not Spock, Sonak. Don’t raise your eyebrow like that. It’s a Spock thing, not a Vulcan thing. (It became a Vulcan thing, but it shouldn’t have been.)

Why is the Enterprise the only ship in range to intercept? They’re on Earth, which is the center of government for the Federation. Shouldn’t there be at least a few ships nearby? This isn’t the only time this nonsense was used as a plot device.

And here’s the unnecessarily long exterior view that everyone talks about. I really should fast forward through this one, but writing these notes is distraction enough to make it bearable.

The engineer on the floating disk is probably violating OSHA regulations.

All these actors are amazing. I actually believe they’re happy to see William Shatner arrive.

The real reason Decker was relieved of his captaincy was that he was molesting children. (Too harsh?)

The other person in that transporter malfunction had a pretty decent treatment in the novel. Here, she wasn’t even named.

The crowd of crewmen included a lot of diversity. The rest of the movie? Not so much.

Chekov’s smile when Ilia enters is classic. Sulu tried and failed.

McCoy should have kept the beard for the entire movie.

I don’t think wormholes work that way, but I’ve never been in one. From a dramatic perspective, the scene wore out its welcome not even halfway through it. It had the same effect as any of those external shots.

Kirk needs a ready room.

I’m sorry.
That you left Delta IV? Or that you didn’t say goodbye?
If I had, would you have been able to say it?

Now picture me rolling my eyes so hard they fall out.

I made a simple ST:TMP game on my Commodore Vic-20. There wasn’t a lot of memory to do anything impressive, but it was a good way to connect with the movie.

More external shots. Yes, we know. This thing is even bigger.

Was V’ger related to the Borg in some way? There’s a non-canon story line that says so, but I want that resolved in canon. Hey, what about Control? Could V’ger close a temporal loop by being related to Control?

Oh, Ilia. ☹ She’s so scared.

“This is how I define unwarranted!” How did Decker make Captain? Space travel is risky business. If you can’t handle it, don’t do it. They’re trying to save Earth. There are billions of lives at stake. You must take risks.

Spock is a seer. He can see the future.

The computer’s assessment of what’s going on

Why is the Ilia probe wearing clothes? This isn’t wishful thinking. She was created in the shower without clothes, and then they were added before it exposed itself.

My memory of the novel tells me that it went into a ton of detail about the scan of the probe. It was . . . . fascinating.

Why didn’t the door open for the Ilia probe? She shouldn’t have had to break through it. They’re automatic. We already know it’s extremely strong.

In one of his posts, Kessel Junkie claimed that this ship. . .

I use a toy because Star Wars is for children.

. . . proved that Star Wars got faster-than-light speed theory right before Star Trek did (2002).

Yeah, you beat this one, Hammerhead. 2009.

Bad news on that, though.

I swear it’s clearer earlier in the scene.

Spock getting emotional over a handshake. It’s as if millions of Vulcan voices cried out in terror.

I want to see V’Ger fight the whale probe.

Nimoy was wearing a lot of makeup.

“Mr. Chekov, when do those probes reach their final destination?”
“Fifty-seven minutes.”

What? That means that there’s got to be 57 minutes left in this show for the ending to have a close call! Oh, there’s only 20 minutes left. Phew!

“Captain, I’d like to go along.”

Of course, you would, Commander Decker. Someone’s got to die.

In 1979, I was 11, so the big reveal (i.e., “VOYAGER”) surprised the hell out of me.

Couldn’t they just hit Voyager with a phaser? That’s the whole ship’s brain.

“Jim, I want this. As much as you wanted the Enterprise, I want this.”

Again, how did this idiot become Captain (of the flagship, no less)? It must have been nepotism.

In a sense, this was the perfect Star Trek movie. Lots of human drama, and a “villain” that represents the unknown of space, while representing a cautionary tale for humanity itself: Our actions will always have consequences. But that doesn’t resonate well with non-Star Trek nerds. It didn’t have the face-to-face villain that everyone craves. That’s because the first movie is always about the protagonists, with the sequel about the villain. Maybe the next movie will fare better with the masses. 😊

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