Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home (1986) ***
Kirk and crew travel back in time to save Earth from an alien probe in the future.
If I thought the main title themes of the previous two films didn’t sound like Star Trek
the main theme for TVH is even less so. It’s simply too light in tone even if it’s not a bad tune in itself.
One thing I have to say: I really don’t like the look of Starfleet in these films. In general I don’t like how many of the Starfleet personnel we see are depicted. It seems like every command officer we see has to “phone home” for instructions. I will allow that the ones seen in this film don’t come across as bad as Esteban in TSFS, but still I’m not impressed. None of these characters come across with same fibre that was more apparent of the Starfleet officers we got to see in TOS.
The first part of this film is very much similar in tone as TWOK and TSFS. The change in the main cast’s appearances isn’t nearly as obvious as it was in TSFS. But what the hell did they do to the Klingon ship? The bridge looks nothing like the bridge we saw in TSFS. I find it hard to believe that Kirk, Scott and company would have bothered making such extensive modifications just to fly the ship home. Indeed it really doesn’t make any sense at all. Vulcan didn’t have a more suitable ship to transport them? And if they were so wanted by Starfleet you’d think they’d make a point of transporting Kirk and company themselves. No, it’s really a contrived excuse to use the Klingon ship for the story.
I also really doubt the Klingons would have designed their rather small ship to have such a cavernous empty interior seeing as how they usually seem to like cramped accommodations. But here it is conveniently sized just enough to hold two humpbacked whales.
What’s with the dreamlike sequence when they engage their time-warp slingshot around the sun? It’s something that doesn’t connect with anything else in the film before or after. And we don’t see anything like it on the return trip.
The 23rd century has no means to reenergize dilitium crystals yet Spock thinks of a way just off the top of his head using elements found “only” in the late 20th century… Uh, yeah…
It’s at this point the film takes on a distinct change in tone---it veers from generally serious minded to generally comedic. It’s also where the film really loses me despite some genuine smirks along the way (and some of the humour is really lame). Time travel in Trek is nothing new, but it was done much better before in “Tomorrow Is Yesterday,” “Assignment—Earth,” “Yesteryear” and at its best in “The City On The Edge Of Forever.”
Catherine Hicks makes for an appealing marine biologist. She also comes across as quite natural and genuine. And it is a nice (though coincidental) touch that the U.S. naval carrier Enterprise
makes something of a cameo appearance. I also quite like some scenes at the end, namely the scene where Kirk is reduced in rank and the parting scene between Spock and Sarek.
Despite my criticisms this movie isn’t as bad as I remember it. Overall it’s basically on par with the previous two films. I don’t care for the story in general, buts it’s not horrible even as it’s just okay.
TVH essentially completes a trilogy begun with TWOK. Over these three films we get to see a Starfleet that doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to the one depicted in TOS. It feels more fainthearted, more wussy and it looks monochromatic with really silly looking uniforms. There are some good moments throughout the films, but overall it doesn't really resonate as the Star Trek
I really enjoyed before---something is missing.
And although I've ranked TWOK, TSFS and TVH all basically the same I feel it gradually loses its identity from TWOK (C+) through TSFS (C) and sliding into TVH (C-)
For me Star Trek
was, "Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To bold go where no man has gone before."
TMP, even with its missteps, felt like that. TWOK-TSFS-TVH seemed to lose that feeling.