Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Post  BoG on Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:01 pm



STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME starring
WILLIAM SHATNER Like a Star @ heaven LEONARD NIMOY Like a Star @ heaven DeFOREST KELLEY
and CATHERINE HICKS as Gillian  
co-starring JAMES DOOHAN Like a Star @ heaven  GEORGE TAKEI Like a Star @ heaven  NICHELLE NICHOLS Like a Star @ heaven  WALTER KOENIG  
JOHN SCHUCK*BROCK PETERS*ROBERT ELLENSTEIN*JANE WYATT*ROBIN CURTIS*MADGE SINCLAIR
MARK LENARD as Sarek * with GRACE LEE WHITNEY and MAJEL BARRETT
Directed by LEONARD NIMOY


This was the concluding ark to Star Trek's trilogy of films two, three and four, as well as Nimoy's follow-up directing job after The Search For Spock (1984). This 4th Trek film  has the surface appearance of being rather simplistic and lightweight. But, against the odds, it succeeds, probably because all of the scenes in the film are pitch perfect - that nearly-perfect balance of humor, action and science fiction fancy; Nimoy learned his lessons well while directing  the 3rd Trek film.

Again, on the surface, the story seems to be a simple union of the overused time travel angle, coupled with an environmental message. But, because the messengers are the seven well-known characters of the Trek canon, all here given a chance to shine as never before, there's much more enjoyment to be found throughout than we could have ever expected. Admittedly, all this might appeal more to long-time Trekkers, those who grew to really like these characters. And yet, this Trek film was the best box office among all the Trek films (until the revamp in 2009), reaching an audience outside the usual fan base.


All the actors had been in these roles for many years by this point and they each knew how to make the most of it, including the ones playing Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura, usually relegated to one-note scenes regarding ship's functions. Here, they get to fully participate in a grand Trek adventure, full partners with the main trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I think this is what made the film so popular - filmgoers were pleasantly surprised to see the old characters used to their full potential, finally. Oh, and besides returning Spock's father, Sarek, they even let Spock's mother (Jane Wyatt) return briefly - talk about grand reunions (they last appeared together in the episode Journey to Babel).



The only thing missing, of course, is the Enterprise - our Trekking castaways get around in a commandeered Klingon 'Bird of Prey' ship here. In the plot, things begin with a huge mysterious probe which approaches Earth and knocks out all power as it sends a signal into the oceans, requiring an answer. I had some misgivings when I first saw this in the theaters back in '86 - it seemed too similar to the first Trek film (shades of V'Ger!) and did not bode well.

But, luckily, the story veers to a different tack after this first act: our heroes are on their way back to Earth as well, ready to answer charges for breaking several Starfleet rules and regs in the previous film. Suddenly, this turns out to be the least of their problems as they're placed in the position of saving their planet once again. Instead of attacking the probe head-on, which would probably be a useless attempt, they deduce that their best option is to travel back to Earth's 20th century. And the audience is along for the ride - watching these greats work their magic, watching them solve all manner of dilemmas and accompanying these living legends on their tour of present-day (the eighties) San Francisco. It's wish fulfillment, it's a crowd-pleaser, it's high concept sci-fi done with a wink and a cheer.


Some might argue that this film simply retreads familiar ground, namely the original time travel episodes Tomorrow is Yesterday and Assignment:Earth, but all the scenes in our present time work great. My personal favorite is the scene where Scotty & McCoy meet with a Plexiglas manufacturer and their introduction to him of transparent aluminum. It's directed perfectly, with Scotty at first appearing out of place, but soon showing he was in control of the situation the whole time - it may be Doohan's finest moment in the Trek film series. Running a close second is Chekov's interrogation scene; it should have been stupid but, somehow, director Nimoy and actor Koenig made it hysterical. There are numerous others - Kirk's bit with his eyeglasses, Spock's conversation with the whales and his struggle with present-day profanity in speech, and the entire sequence in the hospital - it's all smoothly integrated into the overall playful adventure.


There's, in addition, a couple of small asides involving time paradoxes. These are almost throwaways and indicate the involvement of Nicholas Meyer (as far as the writing), who had directed Time After Time, which this film resembles in some ways. Time Travel movies tend to be fun; Back to the Future was released the year before this Trek film. Catherine Hicks was cute, spunky and very likable as the present-day lady whom Kirk & Spock befriend. We even encounter some genuine suspense in the race against time near the climax.


Yes, maybe it is a bit all lightweight in the end but, as the concluding chapter of a trilogy, it gave us the satisfaction of tying things up neatly - with Spock and his father, with the fate of our beloved crew and the promise of yet another new beginning. BoG's Score: 8 out of 10
But, uh-oh, next was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, in 1989.


LOST PROLOGUE to STAR TREK IV, mostly STAR TREK III footage:
- this footage was only shown in theaters in a couple of countries outside the USA.


Last edited by BoG on Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Voyage Behind-the-Scenes

Post  BoG on Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:13 pm


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