So…anyone else notice how awkward Kirk looks when his hair is wet?
I’ve continued my Star Trek Maiden Voyage with Star Trek IV. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home let me see a different, comedic side of the Star Trek series. The “fish out of water” path Voyage takes was a necessary change for me. TMP, Khan, and Spock were all enjoyable even without seeing the original series, but there lacked any sense of camaraderie and friendship that Voyage gives us.
Voyage is definitely the most human of the Star Trek movies so far. And for obvious reasons. But its story was also the most satisfying. We start out with Kirk and crew on Vulcan ready to head back to Earth in order to face judgment for their actions during Spock. Their mission is noble, and Spock joins them out of duty and respect. There’s a nice scene between Spock and his mother (I couldn’t help but picture Winona Ryder) as Spock has trouble understanding a simple question that’s purpose is to provoke a human answer. Also, Saavik stays on Vulcan. Thank God.
Voyage is great because it reboots Kirk and Spock’s friendship. Something I felt wasn’t in the first three movies enough. We see Spock get acquainted with the crew again and constantly tries to understand Kirk’s rash decisions.
The premise of Voyage is absurd. And that’s why I enjoy it. I think TMP and Voyage may be my favorites so far because neither of them have a true enemy. The crew has some sort of mission or puzzle to figure out that’s more internal versus an external problem. I can see the writers having a blast coming up with the whale back story and the ridiculous mission the crew has to go through in order to get whales aboard this alien spacecraft.
Naturally, the best thing for Spock to do to relearn his human side is to go to Earth, to a time and place that’s out of his comfort zone. And this is where the movie really starts to hit its stride. Seeing the crew in 1980s San Francisco gets the easy laughs of them being the fish out of water, but the jokes and situations allow us to learn more about their culture in the 24th century than we get in the first three movies. We understand that they don’t use money, we understand their technology better. We understand how uncivilized humanity is in the 80s vs. the 24th century. But it’s also the first time that we really get to learn more about each crew member. The splitting off into teams really made it adventurous and funny, and highlighted certain characters like Chekov and Uhura. It felt a little like Ocean’s 11 with Kirk and Spock in the Brad Pitt and George Clooney roles. Spock in his Karate Kidget-up was hilarious. Spock’s responses to the punk on the bus, his attempt at cussing, his argument with Kirk over Italian food, and Kirk’s facial expressions and his utter lack of respect of the times play perfect because he’s meant to be an oddball and doesn’t come across as a jerk.
And although I usually don’t care for most romances in movies like this, I did like Gillian and Kirk’s relationship. It showed a charming, charismatic side of Kirk that we all knew was there, but hadn’t seen until then. Also, now that both Catherine Hicks and Stephen Collins have been in a Star Trek movie, I fully expect the rest of the 7th Heaven cast to be in the next two movies.
Of course there were some questions I had such as how the heck did the crew get on board the U.S.S. Enterprise battleship so easily? But because of the comedic nature of this movie I was prone to let things like that go for the enjoyment of the movie. But for the first time I didn’t really finish this movie with any real big questions or confusions about things that happened. I think seeing the first three movies before this are necessary to fully enjoy all the quirks in the characters, but I didn’t find anything where I thought I needed to see the original series.
But I’m becoming more and more irritated with Starfleet. Are they good for anything? How many times does Kirk and crew have to save Earth for them to finally get some respect? Anything Starfleet does, gets in the way, and maybe that’s why I like TMP even more now. And somehow, of course, Kirk manages to get Enterprise back as captain. I knew it had to happen, I just wasn’t sure how it would happen.
One last thought. I also noticed a far improvement in special effects with this film. Also, the music score was vastly different and I wasn’t a fan. But overall I felt like if Star Trek didn’t poke at least a little fun at themselves in this movie, or any movie, then it would become recipe for mockery and parody. Not that Star Trek hasn’t been mocked before, but if something as out of this world as Star Trek takes itself as seriously as it does at times, it’s just begging people to make fun of it. It’s good to know that the funny side of Star Trek could be highlighted a little more.
I’ve heard rumblings about Star Trek V so I’m a little concerned. I’m still curious about it and am expecting THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE. I’ll let you know how that goes.