||The Motion Picture||
||The film opens with a huge energy cloud travelling through space as
three Klingon battlecruisers bear down on it. The Klingons begin firing
photon torpedoes into the cloud, but are destroyed within moments by whatever
lies inside. A Federation Starbase which is monitoring the battle calculates
that the cloud is on a direct heading for Earth.
We switch to Vulcan where Spock, now retired from Starfleet, is undergoing the final rite in the Kolinahr discipline - the Vulcan ritual designed to purge any last traces of emotion. Spock refuses to accept Kholinahr at the last second - he is sensing incredibly powerful telepathic images from space, and they have triggered something within him. He leaves to pursue the images.
Meanwhile, Admiral Kirk arrives at Starfleet Headquarters for a meeting with Admiral Nogura. It's two and a half years after the end of the Enterprise's five year mission of exploration and Kirk is now an Admiral stuck in a desk job; the Enterprise is in the last stages of an eighteen month redesign and refit under her new Captain, Willard Decker. Kirk argues Nogura into giving him the Enterprise back, claiming that his familiarity with the Enterprise and its crew make him the only choice for the mission to intercept the cloud. Despite the objections of Decker, Kirk assumes command and heads out of orbit after the arrival of some final crew members. One is McCoy, drafted back into the service against his wishes, the other Lieutenant Ilea - a Deltan who was once romantically involved with Decker.
Unfortunately, Kirks bull-headedness quickly lands the ship in trouble. He orders Scotty to use the warp drive before it is ready, resulting in a wormhole that nearly destroys the ship - only quick thinking by Decker saves them. Kirk must face up to the fact that he may not be what he once was...
The arrival of Spock helps matters; he has been monitoring the ships transmissions and has solved the problems of the malfunctioning warp drive, allowing them to head out of the system and intercept the cloud in deep space.
As they reach the cloud it fires on the ship, nearly destroying it, but some quick thinking by Spock allows them to communicate their peaceful intent and they are allowed to proceed into the cloud. In the centre they find a colossal vessel, tens of kilometres long. A probe from the ship abducts Ilea, returning an almost perfect copy in her place which is designed to act as a probe to investigate the ship and its crew. The Ilea-probe announces that it was sent by V'Ger, which is heading to Earth in order to finds its creator.
As the vessel draws closer to Earth Spock takes matters into his own hands. He steals a space suit and heads into the vessels interior. He finds that the ship has been travelling through our galaxy for centuries, amassing colossal amounts of data by absorbing ships and even entire planets and storing perfect replicas within itself. Spock discovers an image of a planet of living machines - V'Gers home world. V'Ger is not a ship but a living machine. Its knowledge spans the universe, and it is desperate to know what else there might be to learn.
As V'Ger approaches Earth the Ilea-probe announces that the carbon based life on the planet is interfering with its creator and preventing contact. It announces its intention to wipe out all life on the planet. Kirk plays a bluff, announcing that he knows why the creator will not respond but that he will only reveal this information to V'Ger directly. V'Ger allows this, bringing the Enterprise deep within itself. Kirk, McCoy, Spock and Decker head out with the Ilea-probe to meet V'Ger.
They find an old Earth space probe - Voyager 6, which fell into a black hole centuries ago. Voyager emerged across the galaxy where it was found by the machine planet. They built the huge machine to allow Voyager to fulfil its functioning - learn everything which is learnable and return the information to the creator.
Kirk attempts to prove that Humans are V'Gers creator by transmitting a message ordering Voyager to transmit its information, but it burns out its radio circuit to prevent reception. V'Ger is determined that it will physically meld itself with a Human being in order to create a new life form which is capable of accessing higher levels of being.
Decker volunteers, and links himself directly to V'Gers computer brain. As Kirk and his officers retreat back to their ship Decker is transformed into a colossal pillar of light which rapidly consumes the entire bulk of V'Ger, leaving the Enterprise floating in orbit alone.
Kirk lists Ilea and Decker as "missing", and orders the ship to head out of orbit to look for new adventures.
Oft referred to as "the slow motion picture", this film has about enough of a story to fill a one hour episode - not surprising as in many respects it's a remake of the TOS episode "The Changeling". The remainder of the time is filled with apparently endless special effects shots. There are other problems - TOS was full of bright vibrant colours while this film is all dreary pastel shades. The uniforms look simply awful - many fans compare them to pyjamas, with good reason.
However, I think the film does have more going for it than most people claim. Many elements of post TOS Trek are established here - the opening music, the bumpy headed look of the Klingons, the refit Constitution and Klingon battlecruiser design, the Starfleet facilities in San Francisco, the orbital office structure, etc.. Although the effects are not a fitting substitute for plot, there is much to commend - photon torpedoes have never looked so fearsome as when the Klingons open up in the first couple of minutes of this film. Kirk and Scotty's flyby of the Enterprise is one of the most beautiful special effects scenes in cinema history, and V'Ger itself is awesome. And for the first and only time ever we get to see almost an entire ships crew assembled in one place, a scene which also makes it very clear that aliens are indeed not an unusual component of a Starfleet crew.
Ultimately, the film is disappointing. There are nuggets of gold in
there, but you have to wade through a lot to find them. Had they cut thirty
minutes or so out of it, it would have been a better film.
||The Wrath of Khan||
||It's fourteen years after the events of the first film; Spock is a
Captain, in command of the USS Enterprise while she acts as a training
ship. Kirk is in command of Starfleet academy. But when the USS Reliant
is captured by Khan Noonien Sing (see "Space Seed"), the genetically engineered
tyrant Kirk marooned on a primitive planet decades before, the Enterprise
is forced into frontline action with Kirk in command once again. At stake
- a device capable of creating or destroying entire planets...
A marvellous combination of exciting effects (some re-used from ST :
TMP), great acting, and a terrific plot makes this one of the best Trek
||The Search for Spock||
||After Spocks tragic death at the end of Star Trek II, Kirk and his
crew must deal with their sense of grief. But McCoy is acting strangely,
and at the site of Spocks burial tube on the Genesis planet something is
giving off lifeform readings. Kirk wants to go and investigate - but Starfleet
Admiral Nogura wants the Enterprise scrapped and Kirk back behind his desk.
A fairly decent film - nothing marvellous, but some nice touches and
one or two really good scenes make this passable fare.
||The Voyage Home||
||After rescuing Spock from the Genesis planet, Kirk and his crew vote
to return to earth in their stolen Klingon vessel. But while on the way
they discover that an alien probe of immense power is destroying all life
on the planet in an attempt to contact a long-extinct species. Kirk must
travel back in time to repopulate the species - but can Federation citizens
cope with the trials and tribulations of life in the 80's?
A nice, lighthearted film with some genuinely funny moments makes this
one of the most popular Treks of all time.
||The Final Frontier||
||With Kirk demoted to Captain and assigned to the USS Enterprise-A,
the crew are ordered into another mission when terrorists kidnap the Federation,
Klingon and Romulan ambassadors to the planet Nimbus III. But the ships
in pieces and they've less than a skeleton crew on board - and the Klingons
have sent a rescue mission of their own. Things go from bad to worse when
the terrorists capture the Enterprise itself and head into the very heart
of the galaxy, their insane leader determined to find God himself.
Not a great film. It has a few interesting moments, but there are some
really painful ones as well and the whole premise is extremely weak. On
the plus side, the interaction between the "big three" is quite good throughout.
||The Undiscovered Country||
||The Klingon moon Praxis explodes, devastating the atmosphere of the
Klingon homeworld. Forced to seek peace with the Federation, the Klingons
send their Chancellor to Earth. Starfleet assigns Kirk and the Enterprise,
both due to be retired shortly, as an escort. However, shortly after meeting
the Klingons the Enterprise apparently fires on the Chancellors ship. Starfleet
personnel beam over and assasinate Gorkon; when Kirk goes to investigate,
he and McCoy are arrested for the murder. After a quick showtrial the two
are sentanced to the penal asteroid of Rura Pente. Spock rushes to the
rescue and Kirk unmasks the Vulcan helmsman Valeris as a traitor working
to destroy the chances for peace. As the Enterprise and the Excelsior,
now under the command of Captain Sulu, head for the peace conference a
Klingon vessel which can fire while cloaked inflicts severe damage on both
ships. Can Kirk cheat death once more and save the galaxy from itself?
||During the maiden voyage of the new USS Enterprise-B, Kirk is called
into action once more as a mysterious energy ribbon called the Nexus threatens
some refugee transport ships. Although some of the refugees are rescued,
including Guinan and Dr. Tolian Soran, when a section of the E-B's hull
is destroyed Kirk is believed killed.
Nearly eighty years later, Picard and crew must face Dr. Soran, who is determined to return to the Nexus to live out a fantasy life. Soran is destroying solar systems to alter the course of the Nexus to bring it to him, but his next target will kill hundreds of millions of people on Veridian IV. As the Enterprise-D tumbles from orbit a blazing wreck after battling Sorans Klingon allies, the crazed Doctor suceeds in destroying the Veridian star and he and Picard are sucked into the Nexus.
There, Picard manages to find Kirk - still alive after being pulled
into the Nexus from the E-B. Together the two return in time to before
the destruction of Veridia and manage to stop Soran, but the effort costs
Kirk his life.
||Picard must face his most hated enemy when the evil borg return to
attack the Federation again. Although the Borg cube is defeated, it launches
a timeship into the past and assimilates Earth in 2063. Picard, following
the ship back, must fight a hand to hand battle with the Borg as they attempt
to assimilate the Enterprise. Meanwhile, Riker must repair the damage done
by the Borg attack and get the first warp drive starship launched in time
for Earths first official contact with aliens. But the drunken Zephram
Cochrane isn't all that interested in securing his place in history.
A great film that nearly nudges ST II from the top spot. Slightly let
down by the brevity of the battle with the Borg near the start.
||Picard and crew stumble on a secret plot to covertly remove hundreds
of people from a planet so the Federation and their allies, the Son'a,
can have access to the eternal youth it conferrs on the inhabitants. Our
heroes are determined to hold up the abductions until the Enterprise can
reveal the truth about the situation to the Federation people. Soon the
Son'a are attacking both the Enterprise and the surface, with the compliance
of a Starfleet Admiral. As the stakes become higher and the Son'a become
more desperate, it appears that they are willing to go to any lengths for
immortality - even if it means killing all life in the entire system.
Overall there's nothing really wrong with this film, but it's not a
classic. There is a lot of humour, which works wery well for the most part.
The actions scenes are a little bit of a let-down - as with First Contact,
the E-E doesn't really get to strut her stuff, but there is still a fair
bit of tension.