Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" is Still a Classic

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 39 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Running time:  119 minutes (1 hour, 59 minutes)
DIRECTOR:   Leonard Nimoy
WRITER:  Steve Meerson & Peter Krikes and Harve Bennett & Nicholas Meyer from a story by Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett (based upon the TV series “Star Trek” created by Gene Roddenberry)
PRODUCER:  Harve Bennett
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Don Peterman (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Peter E. Berger
COMPOSER:  Leonard Rosenman
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Catherine Hicks, Mark Leonard, Jane Wyatt, Robin Curtis, Robert Ellenstein, Brock Peters, Scott DeVenney, Alex Henteloff, JaneWiedlin, and Majel Barrett with Madge Sinclair

The subject of this movie review is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, a 1986 science fiction and action-adventure movie.  It is the fourth movie in the Star Trek film franchise, which is based on “Star Trek,” a science fiction television series originally broadcast on NBC from September 1966 to June 1969.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home finds the former crew of the USS Enterprise traveling back in time to Earth’s past in order to retrieve the only beings that can save the Earth from a destructive alien probe.

The Voyage Home opens in the year 2286.  A large cylindrical probe of unknown alien origin moves through space.  The probe emits an indecipherable signal that disables the power of every starship and space station it passes.  After taking up orbit over Earth, the probe not only sends out a signal that disables the global power grid, but also generates planetary storms and clouds that cover the Earth.

Meanwhile, the former crew members of the USS Enterprise prepare to leave Vulcan, where they have been living in exile following the events of Star Trek III: The Search for SpockAdmiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his bridge crew:  Doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), must return to earth to face charges related to their rescue of the now-revived Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

Kirk and company are approaching Earth in the Klingon Bird of Prey starship they confiscated when they receive Starfleet Command’s planetary distress call concerning the probe.  Spock discovers that an animal that is extinct in their time can save the Earth from the probe.  To find the animal, Kirk and company must travel back in time to Earth of the late 20th century, specifically 1986.  Once there, Kirk and his companions must navigate a world that might be as alien to them as anything they’ve encountered in their travels through the galaxy during their own time.

Of the 12 Star Trek feature films released to date, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is my favorite.  I have seen it many times; in fact, I thought that I had already reviewed it before now, but apparently I had not.  One of the reasons that I am so enamored with The Voyage Home is that it involves time travel.  Two of my favorite episodes of the original “Star Trek” involve time travel, “Tomorrow is Yesterday” (Episode #19 of Season One) and “The City on the Edge of Forever” (Episode #28 of Season One).

I am especially enamored with “Tomorrow is Yesterday” because the USS Enterprise and her crew travel back in time to 1969, in what was then the present decade at the time of this episode’s first airing.  As a child, I wondered what it would be like to meet the crew of the Enterprise in “my time.”  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home touches upon that same sense of wonder, the sense that Star Trek is real and now and that I could meet the crew of the Enterprise.

The Voyage Home is also the end of a three-story arc that began with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and continued through The Search for Spock.  This movie was a voyage home in several ways.  Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and their friends were returning home to Earth, but they get sidetracked to Earth’s past which brought them to San Francisco.  This city would one day be the home of the United Federation of Planets.  In the real world, 1986 was Star Trek’s 20th anniversary.

When I saw this movie, I felt that, in a way, the characters were almost really visiting me.  Crazy?  Silly?  Yes, but the joy that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home gave me is emblematic of the joy “Star Trek” the television series has always given me.

9 of 10

1987 Academy Awards, USA:  4 nominations: “Best Cinematography” (Donald Peterman), “Best Sound” (Terry Porter, David J. Hudson, Mel Metcalfe, and Gene S. Cantamessa), “Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing” (Mark A. Mangini), and “Best Music, Original Score” (Leonard Rosenman)

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

No comments:

Post a Comment