DVD Review – Star Trek: The Motion Picture

I just got II and III and realized, I didn’t do a review of the first one. Here’s something to rectify that oversight.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Director’s Edition)

Cast & Crew

Directed by Robert Wise
Story by Alan Dean Foster and Harold Livingston

William Shatner as Admiral James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Spock
DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
James Doohan as Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
George Takei as Lt. Commander Hikaru Sulu
Walter Koenig as Lt. Commander Pavel Chekov
Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Commander Uhura
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel, M.D.
Persis Khambatta as Lt. Ilia
Stephen Collins as Commander Willard ‘Wil’ Decker

Full IMDB Listing

Original Theatrical Release

December 7, 1979

Director’s Edition Release

November 6, 2001

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When a destructive space entity is spotted approaching Earth, Admiral Kirk resumes command of the Starship Enterprise in order to intercept, examine, and hopefully stop it.


You’ve all seen the movie, at least the old theatrical version. If not, go now silly fools. Is this version better? In a word, yes. The film still has its problems, but a few of them (pacing for example) have been helped out greatly.

Where this edition shines is in its extras. Great documentaries (3 of them), interviews, and more.

High Point

When V’ger’s true identity is revealed and the ensuing climax. This is good Science Fiction.

Low Point

Kirk and Decker’s early interactions. These are stiff and uninspiring.

The Scores

Originality: In fine tradition of Trek ripping itself off, we may have the precident. The premise for this movie is virtually identical to a TOS episode, The Changeling. 3

Effects: I’ve always felt that this film had much better effects than the original Star Wars. The model used for the Enterprise was beautifully crafted. The new effects shots and the new shots of V’ger are superb. 6

Story: It’s still slow, but trimming the bonus footage from the early 80’s and a few new scenes help the pacing. 4

Acting: It’s great to see old friends at it again. The triad of Kirk-McCoy-Spock shines like it did in TOS. Khambatta is dry and uninteresting, but Collins makes a go of it. 4

Emotional Response: It’s not truly gripping, but that may be from my years of having watch this again and again. There are some fun laughs if you leave Okuda’s text commentary up (which I highly recommend). 4

Extras: (New category) This is everything fans have been wanting. Three documentaries on the making of the film (preproduction, production, and the special edition). It even includes all the stuff you wanted to know about the film’s first role, as a pilot for a new series. 6

Overall: A great improvement from the original theatrical release. 5

Total: 32 out of 42


Additional Notes and Comments

If you’re interested in what’s in the review queue, check out my What’s Coming page.


One reply

  1. Re: Star Trek: The Motionless Picture
    It’s not a really exciting movie, but the effects and the overall look (except for the Federation Pyjama Phase uniforms) have never, in my opinion, been bettered in Trek history. It seems weightier, like they were still taking the franchise seriously as SF. The ship looks real, the music was great (though now overly familiar), the background aliens, intriguing, and the effects…. You’ve already addressed the effects.

    If someone could have combined the look and feel of this film with the humour/comradery of the later ones, we’d have had a truly great Star Trek movie, instead of the blown-up (and frequently half-assed) TV episodes that comprise the films.

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