Star Trek: The Motionless Picture

I hadn’t seen this since I was about 12 years old, shortly after it first came out. My sons and I had recently watched a few of the original Star Trek episodes and they noticed the movie at the library. I didn’t remember much of it but they loved the old Star Trek episodes we’d watched so this seemed like a good bed, right?

Wow. This movie was terrible.

First, “The Motion Picture”. Okay. Yeah we get it. Is this so people think they didn’t slip a TV episode into the theaters?

Then the long, long, long scenes where nothing is happening except flying around the Enterprise on a shuttle, or flying through 2001 inspired trippy light shows. And the shots of the crew looking awe-inspired. They could have cut 30 minutes from the movie just by shortening some of those scenes.

Then “Presenting Persis Khambatta” the bald chick. Enough said about her.

The movie didn’t feel like Star Trek at all. It’s like they saw the success of Star Wars and decided they must release a big-scale Star Trek movie to ride that gravy train. There were almost no character interactions. I felt sad for McCoy, forced to stand around the deck and make crabby comments.

And last, “The human adventure has just begun.” Nice grandiose way to end a bloated, grandiose movie.

By about the 8th long scene of psychedelic effects my sons (7, 9 & 10) all wandered off to watch my wife play Viva Pinata.

I’m going to have a difficult time convincing them that The Wrath of Khan is really good. I haven’t seen it in over 10 years - it is still really good right?

Yes, it’s still really good.

ST 1 was directed by Gene Roddenberry, and was a combination of “OMG LOOK WHAT WE CAN DO NOW!!1!” masturbatory long loving shots of the Enterprise floating in space and unfortunate 70’s fashions (both intellectual and clothing).

The series didn’t really get cranked up until ST 2, which by no small coincidence was directed by a veteran movie director (Nicholas Meyer, who also helmed the excellent ST 6, the one with the Klingon peace treaty)

The first movie is it started out as a pilot for a new TV series. That changed after Star Wars hit the theaters.

If you’ve ever read “The Making of Star Trek” one thing that stands out is that most of the action adventure tropes of TOS were forced on Roddenberry by the network. Freed from that tension he ended up making the boring show that was “more about the ship than the crew” that he had hoped to make originally.

I’ve only seen Wrath of Khan and the peacy-treaty movie (Undiscovered Country?).
Have I seen all the Trek movies worth seeing?

I liked First Contact, and Generations was okay.

I dunno… how bored are you?

Huh, didn’t realize those two were both directed by the same guy. Those also happen to be my two favorite Trek movies!

Yes, still awesome.

Uh, no it wasn’t. It was directed by Robert Wise.

As a general rule, the even numbers are good, and the odd numbers blow.

That was true up until Nemesis. Also, three is pretty good.

Not in my opinion. Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon villain? The horrible Savik replacement? Casting alone was enough to ruin ST3.

I’ll second that. The third movie descended rapidly into predictable cheese with the added bonus of a super-quick Spock retcon.

No, it’s godawful.

What the FUCK…

I recently re-watched a bunch of these movies, cannily avoiding Star Dreck and Star Blech (to borrow from Mad magazine) like The Final Frontier, Insurrection, and Nemesis. #1 bored me to tears, especially as the DVD I’d watched had featured the extended version. I really liked the overture with Jerry Goldsmith’s score playing against a starfield, but then it goes downhill from there. It was cool to see the redesigned Enterprise, but what was the point? If you want trippy visuals and flashing lights, I suggest Disney’s Black Hole.

How could anyone not like The Wrath of Khan? I’d place it above The Undiscovered Country and First Contact if I were to choose my favorites from the series. #3 was often a drag, but it did have two awesome moments for any Trekkie: The debut of the Excelsior and Kirk kicking Doc Klingon off a cliff. The Voyage Home, of course, is pure comedy gold.

ST1: “The Motionless Picture” is a good description.
ST2 (Wrath of Khan): As everyone but one person says, really crackling good action flick. One of the few ST movies that appeals to people who don’t like ST that much.
ST3 (Search for Spock): Meh. I liked it but it is definitely cheesy.
ST4 (Voyage Home): Hey, let’s make a comedy! Doesn’t suck as badly as you’d think. Very light-hearted.
ST5 (Final Frontier): My one line plot summary: Enterprise meets God, fires photon torpedoes at him. Yes. It’s that bad.
ST6 (Undiscovered Country): I actually like this one more than ST2, but I like Klingons. This movie basically rebooted how Trek depicted Klingons. Good sendoff for the original crew.
ST7 (Generations): Shatner didn’t get the memo about the original crew being sent off. Just a pedestrian movie all around.
ST8 (First Contact): The only decent movie made by the Next Generation cast in my opinion. Stays focused as an action-adventure (which, really, are what Trek movies are supposed to be, occasional pretensions to the contrary)
ST9 (Insurrection): Remember what I said about pretensions? Yeah, this movie is wildly laughably pretentious, with the noble Enterprise crew fighting the wicked Federation trying to give the boot to noble primitives. Plus it has one of the most hilariously bad action scenes ever where Jonathan Frakes (Riker) tries to pilot the Enterprise in combat himself with what looks like a Thrustmaster joystick.
ST10 (Nemesis): Unfortunately, it’s not a hilariously bad movie like Final Frontier or Insurrection. It’s just not good. Every scene seemed tacked on and the actors really didn’t care. No, really, they didn’t care; during a Trek convention someone asked why Nemesis didn’t do well and one of the actors (I think Levar Burton) screamed “because it sucked!”.

In my opinion – having seen the treks up to First Contact and then abandoning the movie franchise – the only ones with much good in them are 1, 2 and 4. I never liked 6 – it winked at us too much and the agatha christy mystery plot was annoying. It did have great cinematography though, and maybe I should give it another viewing at some point.

2 and 4 speak for themselves – they are solid entertainments with good character moments and swift plotting. As for TMP, I understand why people wouldn’t like it. It is frequently dull; the plot is taken from the Changeling; and it is agonizingly bereft of a real character scene among the Kirk/Spock/McCoy trinity (a shortcoming which Wrath of Khan wonderfully corrects). When Spock arrives on the ship, having renounced all emotion and turning the cold(er) shoulder to all his friends, there is a glimmer of hope that we are going to get some meaty character interaction among him and Kirk and Bones. But it doesn’t materialize.

However, there is enough of merit in the movie to make me like it. Goldsmith’s score is absolutely magnificent, in my opinion – by far the best in any Trek film (though Horner’s Wrath of Khan score is good as well) and one of the best in any movie I am aware of. It is also the last time we will see a trim, focused Shatner who actually looks like Captain Kirk. By Wrath of Khan he is metamorphosing into Bloated Shatner. The special effects are fantastic – there are some really ambitious traveling shots (like the opening one with the Klingon warships) and the conception of V’ger is magnificent. Though the film was made partly in response to the success of Star Wars, it is very much an heir to 2001: A Space Odyssey in tone and pacing and effects style (with many of the same guys from that movie, Douglas Trumbull et al., doing effects work on it). Of course, 2001 is in an altogether different league of filmmaking, but I can definitely sense a connection.

Most importantly, Star Trek TMP has what I consider the best single scene in any Star Trek movie: Kirk’s orgasmic shuttle ride around the newly refitted Enterprise. I have been ridiculed for this opinion before and will probably be again, but every time I watch that scene I am transfixed. Just because it lacks dialogue or a traditional dramatic thrust, doesn’t make it dull. It is visually ravishing, wonderfully scored, and captures the bizarre bond between Kirk and his ship which is after all the essence of his character; it’s played off his reactive closeups as a sort of love scene, and I think it works. And it is well structured on a visual level, teasing us in the beginning with half-glimpses of the ship through the scaffolding, before the shuttle comes around and we are hit with the money shot of the mighty Enterprise in all its glory. I can imagine the impact of that scene on Trek fans who loved the show when i originally aired and then saw the Enterprise on the big screen, recreated by state of the art special effects, for the first time. (I can also imagine their disappointment at the subsequent 2 hours of the movie…)

The only other scenes in a Trek movie that have affected me as much are in Wrath of Khan – Spock’s death scene, and the earlier scene between Kirk and Bones as they contemplate Kirk’s midlife crisis.

As a kid who watched Star Trek reruns in his youth, and who’d experienced only crappy 70’s SF prior to Star Wars, I’m with Gordon… The Enterprise shot was cool. At the time.

After a decade-and-a-half of good CGI and all the good SF that followed, the scene’s just embarrassing now. But my 12-year-old sci-fi geek self loved it then.

As for Persis Khambatta, she died of a heart attack in '98. Darn young.

I was fifteen sitting in the theater with a couple of friends and loved that scene just for the quality special effects. Star Wars had created a love for that stuff.

Ew, you people like 4 too? Clearly this is not the thread for a man of taste such as myself.