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M. Evans
Fri, May 22, 2009, 9:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The first big screen Trek film often gets unfairly slated for being'dull, slow and ponderous', but there is actually a great deal to recommend about this film. Unlike any of the other Trek movies, or indeed the vast majority of science fiction films, The Motion Picture really does capture that sense of epic grandeur that I've only seen done in 2001 A Space Odyssey and has the most thought-provoking storyline and a feeling of awe-inspiring 'alienness' that is sadly lacking in any of the other entries in the series. For a film that is 30 years old, the special effects have dated remarkably well and most still look very impressive today. The realisation of the V'Ger craft is still awesome, and the sheer size of it, especially when you see the pin-head sized Enterprise flying through it really creates a sense of spectacle. The eerie sound effects and sweepingly majestic music score also add greatly to the overall impact. Where the film falls down is in it's pacing, it seems to take forever for the Enterprise to leave space dock and reach the alien craft, and the scene where Kirk and Scotty inspect the Enterprise just seems interminable. Then there's the characters themselves - there's very little engaging characterisation here, there seems to be none of the old magic between the main characters that was a highlight of the old series, Kirk seems dour and grumpy, and Spock is unnaturally cold and aloof. There is almost no humour or light moments in the fim and the whole film does come across as rather grim. The costumes for the crew are also very unattractive, with everyone sporting hideous beige or grey jumpsuits, and Kirk in a too-tight white T-shirt that he looks like he's about to burst out of. And Uhura has a horrible 70's afro that thankfully was never seen again after this. The sets for the enterprise don't look too good either, with everything being a depressing shade of beige and grey and too darkly lit. I think the best way to approach The Motion Picture is as an epic, thought-provoking Science fiction film in the 2001 tradition, and in this regard it is certainly very good, but it just feels like it hasn't really captured the feel or style of 'Star Trek' - that would be achieved with the following film.
This DVD is the 'Director's Edition' which basically adds a few improved special effects which integrate seemlessly with the original film and tightens up the slow pacing a bit, making this the definitive version.
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