When Star Trek - The Motion Picture first premiered in December, 1979 I was already 20 years old, and about ten years after I started watching TOS TMP was coming at the close of a drawn out decade where the last new Trek onscreen had been TAS five years ealier. Five years can seem like an eternity to a teenager. Before TMP when I had been in high school there had been some buzz about the forthcoming feature. But the only advance information we could get was in sci-fi and fantasy magazines, occasional newspaper articles and feature articles in magazines like Starlog and Omni. One might also pick up some news at conventions, which was something I wasn't frequenting yet. Whatever articles (and photos) we ran across could be considered gold since information could be scant compared to what we can learn about a film today before it's released. I, too, had reservations when seeing some of Ralph McQuarries concept paintings early on, but as the realease drew nearer and Phase II pics started surfacing as well as lastly actual TMP shots then I started to feel more reassured. The anticipation was almost unbearable. Star Trek was then (and remains still) my favourite television series. It consumed me and I soaked up every scrap pf knowledge and trivia I could lay my hands on. You can be assured I was there on opening night. Over the years I've seen TMP (in vaious versions) numerous enough times. Last year is when I most recently revisited the DE version. Looking back my feelings haven't changed much although in some respects I like the film more now than way back in '79. I see it in a somewhat different perspective that allows me to appreciate some things that might not have registered consciously originally. Opening night: The opening credits with the main title theme. Stirring with a touch of bombast. But I will say I missed the familiar Star Trek fanfare (which we'd hear next in TWOK). Without question TMP was visually breathtaking. This was Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek writ large. Today we can be almost desensitized to the splashy and polished f/x of contemporary visual spectacles---practically anything that can be imagined can be realized. But back then you simply couldn't have been prepared for the opening sequence of three detailed Klingon battle cruisers approaching the Vger cloud. Then we got to see the new look Klingons. And then we got to hear them speak in their own language (with English subtitles). It..was..mind-blowing. You're still absorbing that opening sequence when you find yourself on Vulcan. Here Vulcan seems more alien than it did in "Amok Time" and certainly more expansive. The music feels appropriately strange...and then the Spock and the Vulcans are speaking their own language. You've just been repeating "Holy shit!" to yourself during the first several minutes of the film when you next find yourself at Starfleet Central in San Francisco. And the audience erupts when Admiral James T. Kirk appears on the screen, completely drowning out the film. Things slow down a bit broken only by a cheer for the appearance of Commander Montgomery Scott. What follows is a mixture of silent and whispered "OMG!" throughout the crowd... The refit Enterprise is revealed. Today there can be a lot of groaning over this scene. Contemporary audiences don't seem to really care for it. But there is context at play here. Today most SF tech in film and television, no matter how cool looking, is still basically hardware to the creators and the audience. And that includes pretty much every Trek ship since the film era of including each successive new version of Enterprise after the refit. But to starving Trek fans this was the reveal of one of TOS' most popular characters: THE starship Enterpirse. It..was..gorgeous! And many of us felt like Kirk as he looked over the new ship. And as then no succesive Trek ship has managed to look so nice on the screen. The WTF moments would slow down after these incredible sequences broken by successive cheers for the reveal of each familiar character from TOS, but most particularly for McCoy and Spock. The Vulcan shuttle sequence was also wicked. It's not long after this that TMP started to run into trouble. It never got bad, but it could start to drag, most notably during the Vger flyover sequences. Back then as an awed 20 year old I couldn't yet articulate what was wrong, but now I can say it needed to be edited and it needed more character drama to offset and liven up the proceedings. Not necessarily action in the conventional sense of run-and-jump and phaser battles, but in the character sense alike some of TOS' best moments. The film didn't back up noticeably until our heroes finally come face-to-face with Vger. Just prior to that sequence I still recall one distinct moment of disappointment with the f/x: the moment the crew go out on the hull. The scaling and perspective were so poorly done and in such constrast to what was otherwise a spectacular looking film. My mind was spinning when I left the theatre. In many respects I was blown away with what I had just seen. But that said I still recall a measure of doubt over something (at the time) I couldn't put my finger on. Even with my misgivings I was ecstatic that live-action Star Trek was back. The ending sequence left little doubt in my mind that further adventures would follow, only it remained to be seen what form they would take. In the iterim I read quite a few of the subsequent Trek novels being published as if they were picking up where TMP left off. Over the years my opinion of the film wavered as I was exposed to ever fading prints of the film on television. It became more sterile and monochrome looking. Eventually I picked up a VHS release of the SLV cut seen on television. The picture and colour looked much better and the addition of previously cut scenes helped alleviate some of the protracted f/x sequences. But it wouldn't be until seeing the DE version that I would really start to appreciate the film on a level more like how I felt in 1979. And in some respects even more so. The editing certainly tightened things up. I still regret the missing extra character drama, but that's something you can't cgi into a film. A few years later in 1982 I went to the premiere of TWOK. That, too, was a mixed experience. It was definitely more energetic than TMP, but I really didn't care for the new look of the uniforms and the somewhat retro approach Nicholas Meyer layered into it. At the time I thought, even with my criticisms, TWOK was better in overall execution. But since those days my opinioned has swung. Now TMP is the film I prefer and TWOK comes in a conditional second. Anyone else recall their first time?