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Star Trek is uneven but entertaining first time out

Set your faces to stunned and suck in those bellies, because it’s time to beam into the original Star Trek movie franchise!

The cast of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
All smiles for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

THE PITCH?

Boldly going where no man or woman has gone before, the original TV series with the enthusiastic fanbase takes to the big screen to show those Star Wars whippersnappers what’s, you know, out there.


Begins badly in a flurry of big-spending with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and then continues, unbelievably, for twelve years, until Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country closes the original movie series. So, set your faces to stunned, suck in those bellies and adjust your toupees, because it’s time to beam into the weird and rather wonderful universe of Star Trek the original movie franchise!

THAT TRANSLATES INTO?



Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)


The most expensive American film of all time when it was produced (illogical, Captain!), Star Trek: The Motion Picture is slow, sedentary, obsessed with its own brilliance and stern-faced. Sound of Music director Robert Wise throws all the fun out the window and takes the audience on a slightly pinched journey across the universe to prevent a mechanical entity from destroying the human race.


Quite a clever story, if you can stay awake to appreciate it.


Originally went head to head with Disney’s equally misfiring The Black Hole, at the Box Office and won!



Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)


By far the best (and campest – the two could be related) of the original movie franchise instalments. Everyone lets their hair and/or wigs down, jokes are injected, and Shatner blows a raspberry at the critics by demonstrating that he can indeed act.


Kirk’s evil nemesis Khan re-appears and the two go head to head in a battle of the special effects. Kirstie Allen is along for the ride, Spock dies (an act of genuine creative bravery) and even the critics go home happy.


Huzzah for director Nicholas Meyer, who can really make this kind of schlock work.



Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)


Oh dear, the act of creative bravery from II now totally undermined by bringing Spock back from the dead in a clunky, not entirely convincing scene-grinder that almost erases all of the good inherited from the previous entry.


By now a pattern was emerging; even Start Trek movies good, odd movies bad.