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Jonathan Lane
Tue, Dec 24, 2019, 6:13am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The first Star Trek feature film elicited mixed reviews from fans (and from the general public). Some Trekkers consider it a masterful exploration of the iconic characters of the Enterprise crew with breathtaking production values and a sweeping musical score that updates the 1960’s television series and prepares it for a bright future on the big screen. Other fans see it as a plodding snooze-fest of slow, indulgent editing—an opinion often sarcastically supported by pointing out that the Enterprise crew are all wearing pajamas, as if to say this movie will put us all to sleep.

But the one thing that nearly every fan and viewer agrees on is that the visual effects sequences are stunning and some of the grandest, most beautiful, and unforgettable in Star Trek‘s 50-plus year history. Among the most iconic and well-remembered of the segments were the introduction of the refit USS Enterprise with Kirk and Scotty flying around it for nearly five minutes (too long?—poppycock!), the opening sequence of the the three Klingon battlecruisers confronting and then being destroyed by V’ger, and the refit Enterprise leaving dry dock.

Those VFX sequences, overseen by the legendary DOUG TRUMBULL (who did the Enterprise shots) and JOHN DYKSTRA (who handled the Klingons, the Epsilon XI space station, and other segments) were rushed together in less than six months using models and blue screens and contraptions like periscopes to get cameras within inches of the amazingly detailed models. To see the finished breathtaking scenes, one would hardly think any of them were created with anything other than the most painstaking attention to detail over years…not simply months.
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