The movie where Captain Skywalker travels in time to Babylon 5.

I'm going to level with you faithful reader, growing up, I was a friend to a Star Trek fan, of a Trekie as they ponderously prefer to be called when they gather in smelly, "Y" chromosome filled assembly halls to discuss warp drives and phasing things. It doesn't matter what things, so long as something, somewhere is phased they will be assuaged. While I gravitated more towards the action packed "Star Wars" universe (just the movies and video games, it must be noted, not the vast and obsessively chronicled expanded universe of books, comics, audio journals, card games, Bazooka Joe comics, political cartoons and Native American spirit quests; all with corresponding action figures), and not so much for the PolySci vision of the future provided by Gene Roddenberry, this friend, man, he loved Star Trek, from the original 60's series to the Next Generation (which admittedly, can be a pretty good show) he even liked the recent shows, even though as far as I can tell one of the series was all about how Dr. Sam Beckett failed one of his missions and was stranded, Al-less, in the future.

This is the face of a man who knows he should have tried harder to save an old lady.

As for me, I could never get into the shows with any real gusto. Sure there were the occasional episodes that would pique my interest, but for the most part I found the series to be too slow paced, to reliant on technological duex ex machinas, and too inconsistent on its morality to be truly engrossing ("We live on a totally unbiased and un-racist ship! Oh no it is a Romulan, all of them are super evil!) In the end I gave the series, and most of the movies, a pass.

But, you know, I like to force myself to be uncomfortable as much as humanly possible for this blog, and for your twisted entertainment, so for the month of July I will be watching and reviewing every Star Trek movie made. All 12 of them. Because why not?

Because you may not live long enough to finish them old, confused guy.

We start with the first movie, which seems like the most logical place to start (that is an example of Trekie humor, and an example of why they don't get invited to parties), creatively titled "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

Filmed 10 years after the original series ended, the film takes place five years after the original series ended, because... space. In the film, the stalwart crew of the Starship Enterprise find themselves on another adventure, flying around and...looking at things. Seriously, this whole movie is nothing but reaction shots, followed by flying around, followed by reaction shots. Nothing, at all, happens for over two hours. We see space, we see reaction. We see a cloud. We see a reaction. 42 minutes of screen time is nothing but George Takei looking either happy or scared. Or both.

You are going to see him A LOT. And if you are like me, you will say "Oh Myyy" every time.

There is a common joke in the film world regarding the first Star Trek film, it is called, by mean people, "Star Trek: The UnMotion Picture," which is, to be totally fair, not true; there is lots of motion in this film, ships slowly dock with other ships, on occasion people walk around, this bald chick walks all over the place, in several scenes. Other than that, not a whole lot of motion, or story. And even the story that is there makes little sense, because the writer decided to make a back story for the characters, and neglected to share any of it with us. We pick up with Captain Kirk (Shatner) as an admiral in the Starfleet, which is sort of a space navy, taking over the newly rebuilt Enterprise, from a young captain. This means nothing to us because he never lost the ship on the show. Why would we care about his ache to captain again when, so far as we are concerned, he never stopped captaining? And, while I am on the subject, why are we claiming that only five years passed since the show ended, when it is perfectly clear from the size and shape of Shatner's hair piece that a far longer period of time has passed. Why lie about that?

I can't tell if the cast of "Star Trek" wanted to be there for this movie, I mean I have read a few stories that would indicate that most did not, but even without that background information I would have come to the same conclusion, no one seems to be enjoying themselves here. No one. Even from a directorial standpoint, this whole movie seems as cold and as distant as space itself, which is very strange given the fact that they were working with beloved characters who were able to turn crappy scripts and pointless, borderline moronic, storyline into something that people still love to this day. There was no fan service in this movie, which is good for most films, but unforgivable in a fan service movie. For example, here is a cast shot from the original series from the 60's:
And here is what they look like at the end of the 70's:
What cocaine binge made tunics the name of the game? No part of that picture screams "space flight," you know what it screams? Roller-disco. Why change the outfits this much? I can understand not making them  cheap looking, but you can do that without changing the overall feel of the design itself. Look at the reboot of the series, it was made a few years back, and by all accounts they could have done a complete overhaul, but what we get is:
Cleaned up, but still true to the spirit of the original outfits while looking sufficiently "Star Treky" Also no one looks like extras from 1980's "The Apple," which is really what every costume designer should check for before finalizing any design.

Where "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" fails is in it's inability to translate the silliness and the fun from the original series onto the big screen. Also, and this is paramount here, nothing fucking happens for two hours straight. Sometimes movies can do that and it works out ("2001: A Space Odyssey" springs to mind), but normally nothing happens in those movies for a stylistic reason, in "Star Trek" it just feels like no one knew what they wanted to do, so they just went with nothing. In a universe as vast as Trek's, with a rouges gallery as deep as Trek's is, to not have a villain in the first outing as a big budget film is mind boggling. Imagine if in "Star Wars" Lucas had decided not to use the Empire or Darth Vader in "A New Hope" and instead just had Luke and Obi Wan on the Falcon for the whole movie, with no other story. This is roughly how "Star Trek" feels, totally pointless and a complete waste of time.

Things are not off to a good start, Roddenberry.
Picture



Rating: 1 Oiled Up, sword fighting George Takei.

 





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