Continuing my very first trek into the films of Star Trek...
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
What a strange, joyous, wacky little movie. I honestly do not know where to begin.
After viewing the first three Star Trek films within the last week and a half or so, I figured that I had a general gist on how these movies went. And then comes Star Trek IV
, a cinematic curve ball that left me adrift - but mostly in a good way - I think.
I find it quite fascinating that Leonard Nimoy directed both Star Trek III
, as both films are inherently dissimilar. First of all, the dialogue scenes that take place on 20th century Earth are, for the most part, HILARIOUS. This is the most quotable Star Trek film I have so far come across; the script is so good and so funny that it almost makes you forget that the story is - putting it mildly - bizarre beyond all reason. I am almost convinced that the tone of the film is what saves The Voyage Home
from being a total mess. If The Voyage Home
had treated itself the same way the first three ST films did, I don't believe TVH would have been as good of a film.
The cast of the film is excellent. William Shatner's style of acting fits perfectly with the film's tone, Leonard Nimoy is beyond funny and at the same time valiant, DeForest Kelley is clearly in his element, particularly in the hospital scene, even Walter Koenig seems just a tad more comfortable as Chekov. Kirk and the gang jumping into the water upon saving the world makes for a strangely touching moment. This is the crew of the Enterprise having unfiltered fun. It's the first time we've seen that happen in the films, and I thought it was fantastic.
The visual effects also have noticeably improved for TVH. Not to say that the previous films were unimpressive visually (quite the contrary), but ILM outdid itself for The Voyage Home
Through all the fun, however, there were a few instances when The Voyage Home
crossed the line for me. Chekov's ill-fated escape from his interrogation goes too far into spoof territory for me, as does the scene where Kirk, McCoy, Chekov and Gillian escape from the hospital. The latter scene particularly reminded me of something right out of Benny Hill, dumb cops and all. Which brings me too....
The score. Unfortunately, Leonard Rosenman's score for The Voyage Home
is a massive step in the wrong direction (especially when you compare it to the marvelous works of Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner). Too often did it sound like some sort of oddball spoof for me. Even during the scenes in space, there is no Goldsmith inspired elegance or Horner inspired bombastic-ness. It is just blah. I'm not going to call it a terrible score, but it just wasn't the right sound for Star Trek - lighter tone or not.
And then there is the story. It is just kooky. I actually found the whales fairly interesting, but The Voyage Home
sorely lacks any motivation for its already severely under developed "villain." Even in Star Trek: The Motion Picture
, we got an eventual semi-understanding of V'ger and its reasoning behind its actions. In TVH, all the probe wants to do is contact the whales. The 'why' is apparently irrelevant, and that is frustrating with a Star Trek film.
So, with all that being said....
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
is certainly a fun movie with a splendid sense of humor. I just wish it would have fleshed out the story more, and had its silly scenes just a little more under control. I understand Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
is the movie that broke the camel's back, so maybe after that one, I'll be yearning for The Voyage Home
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Director's Edition) (1982) - 8.5/10
2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Director's Edition) (1979) - 7.5/10
3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) - 7/10
4. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) - 6/10
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Footnote: Upon more thought, I have added .5 to The Motion Picture