Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –

A gigantic spaceship of unknown origin is discovered by a Klingon fleet many light-years from Earth.  The Klingon ships are disintegrated and a Starfleet space station suffers a simliar fate after their own attempt to communicate with the vessel.  Meanwhile, Starfleet Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) secures reassignment back on the starship “Enterprise”.  The Enterprise is undergoing a re-fit, to bring it up to modern specifications, but is the only ship within range to investigate on time, as the mystery ship is on a direct course for Earth.

A Toast

Director Robert Wise was one of the great filmmakers of his generation, and even detractors of ST:TMP wouldn’t say that the film lacked ambition.  The special effects were simply groundbreaking, holding up well even today.

Space Vagina

Pure realism… if a bit X-Rated

The film’s score by Jerry Goldsmith is a masterpiece with atmospheric mood pieces heightening suspense juxtaposed against a main theme so iconic that it is arguably as memorable as John Williams’ main theme for Star Wars.  The sound design is also worth mentioning; the mystery ship creates a cavernous metallic rumbling which is truly unsettling, and unlike any other effect at the time.

The story itself is surprisingly cerebral, staying true to the sprit of the original series by emphasizing exploration, discovery, and peaceful understanding over warfare and violence.  Birth and childhood are recurring themes throughout the film as well, creating a central metaphor about humanity’s constant need for knowledge.

Space Vagina

Or the need for space vagina…

It rather feels more hopeful than naïve, acknowledging the darker side of human nature while suggesting that growth out of his adolescent stage is not only possible, it is inevitable.

The performances are solid all-around, with William Shatner’s Captain Kirk feeling less theatrical than on the original TV series, and more like a real human being, but without straying from his core character. Stephen Collins as Decker is also quite an interesting character.  He´s initially the new Captain of the Enterprise, but demoted to Commander when Admiral Kirk takes over.  Decker is incensed by this, and caught up between his loyalties and ambition…


…and his ambition for space vagina (I’m sensing a pattern)

Decker holds an unspoken love for Ilia (Persis Khambatta), an alien of the “Deltan” race who serves as the Enterprise’s navigator.  Midway into the film, she dies, or rather is turned into a machine, and Decker has to come to terms with Ilia’s death and rebirth as a passionless android.  She is turned into an android by V’ger, the mysterious thinking machine controlling the vessel headed towards Earth.  The film’s great mystery surrounds the origin and meaning of V’ger.

Space Vagina

Which oddly enough, does not mean Vajayjay…

Beer Two

There is much to love about Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and there is also one serious flaw that prevents it from being the unmitigated classic it aspires to be.  The film’s pace is ploddingly slow, one gets the impression that the script was intended as a 50 minute episode of the TV series, with the runtime inflated in order to fit the longer format.

Imagine this scene, on repeat for half the film’s runtime

The film is full of endless external shots of the Enterprise, and space in general.  While a few establishing shots are called for, in this case it is as if the director was determined to milk every last second out of the expensive model shots.  This does not equate to an easy viewing experience, although the film’s positive aspects provide more than enough reason to watch, particularly for Trek fans, and fans of the Sci-Fi genre itself.



Quite rewarding for patient filmgoers, particularly well-rested ones.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for slow-moving establishing shots of the Enterprise

Take a Drink: for every mention of V’ger

Do a Shot: each time William Shatner uses his signature pause when speaking, or when he just says “Spock…”

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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