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Monday, March 2, 2015

The Star Trek television series was short-lived and not very well received. After only three seasons, the television series was canceled and all of the actors tried to go their separate ways. But the die-hard fans would not let the series go away so quietly and Star Trek became a syndication phenomenon. Ten years after the final new episode ran on television, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released and all of us Trekkies quickly realized that Star Trek makes for a much better movie franchise than a television series.

I remember seeing Star Trek: The Motion Picture the day it opened and I had goose bumps waiting for the movie to start. It was that exciting to people like me who had spend the better part of a decade watching Star Trek reruns. Before the movie started, Trekkies wondered how Gene Roddenberry could possibly translate Star Trek to the big screen. By the time the movie was over, we wondered what took him so long to make the first movie.

Trekkies love to debate things and one of the most heated debates in the world of Trekkies is deciding which is better; Star Trek: The Motion Picture or The Wrath of Kahn. I fall on the side of The Motion Picture because, while The Wrath of Kahn was a good movie, The Motion Picture was completely original. J.J. Abrams stole that little trick when his first Star Trek movie was completely original and his second movie was about Kahn. The difference is that J.J. Abrams is no Roddenberry, not by a long shot.

Another reason I prefer The Motion Picture over The Wrath of Kahn is that Spock does not die at the end of The Motion Picture. From the moment I first saw The Wrath of Kahn, watching the Spock funeral was difficult for me. Ever since the events of late last week, watching the Spock funeral from The Wrath of Kahn is, and always will be, impossible.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture re-introduced us to all of the characters we knew so well played by all of the actors that made those characters famous. The versions of the characters we get in The Motion Picture were much more refined than what we saw in the television series and that helped to make this movie such a great spectacle.

There are a lot of reasons why this movie holds up today and will stand the test of time forever. The special effects are done so well that they look like they could have been done in 2015. The acting is superb and that is especially true with William Shatner and the late, great Leonard Nimoy. These two finally created the science fiction version of Abbott and Costello and it added a whole new dimension to the Star Trek myth.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture also brought back all of the little things about Star Trek that made it so much fun to watch. The strained relationship between Spock and Bones, Scotty’s brilliance being pushed to the limit by Captain Kirk’s incredibly stupid and appropriate ideas, the transporter, the phasers set for stun, and the iconic profile of the Enterprise are all intact and updated for future generations to enjoy.

The story in The Motion Picture is brilliant as well. The idea of having the Earth threatened by the Voyager 6 probe, a creation of man sent out to explore the universe, was just brilliant. The movie is a warning that constantly reaching out to the outer edges of the universe when we have no idea what is really out there is a very bad idea. Unfortunately, science continues to ignore that warning and you never know when the real V-Ger will show up and wipe us all out.

The dialogue in this movie is superb and funny, the effects are timeless, the story is epic, and the acting is spot-on. Whether you are a Trekkie or not, you have to appreciate the quality of this film and see at least once in your lifetime. As Mr. Spock would say, it is the logical thing to do, especially at a time like this.

Rating: 4 out of 5

+George N Root III is a drive-in maniac and Trekkie. His movie reviews appear every week and are pretty darn good.

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