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Leonary Nimoy returns to the director's chair for the fourth entry to the STAR TREK film franchise, which concludes a three-film long adventure arc that started with STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. This time, Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and a newly recovered Spock travel back in time to the 20th century in search of humpback whales to save their own time from being destroyed by a mysterious alien probe. They do this by traveling through the "modern-day" (by 1980's standards) streets of San Francisco and convince a sassy woman worker to aid them. Sounds like a very strange idea for a STAR TREK film, doesn't it? Surprisingly, though, it works really, really well, thanks to lively interactions from our cast and a surprisingly fresh sprinkling of humor. Much of the jokes come from our 23rd century heroes obviously not "getting" the lifestyle of 1986 (the scenes where Spock attempts to use profanity while conversing with the city's inhabitants are hilarious, as is Chekov's questioning "where are the nuclear 'wessels'?"). There's enough laughs to tickle your funnybone, and of course, the cinematography involving the humpback whales is beautiful and breathtaking. If there's any STAR TREK movies I'd give my highest recommendation to, it would certainly be STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME, right alongside WRATH OF KHAN, SEARCH FOR SPOCK, and THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY. All four of these films are classics, with this one emerging as the most fun.
1987's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was directed by Leonard Nimoy with his story idea was turned into a screenplay by Harve Bennett, Peter Krikes, Steve Meerson, and Nicholas Meyer. Nimoy decided early on that Star Trek IV would eschew darkness and feature no villains or space battles. It would be an ecological fable with much more humour. The film is generally regarded to be second only to The Wrath of Khan in the Star Trek cycle and was a notable box-office hit for the series - the lighter tone giving it broader appeal than the first three pictures in the franchise. The film picks up where Star Trek III: Search For Spock left off. Our heroes are on the planet Vulcan and the Enterprise has been destroyed. Spock (Nimoy) - who died at the end of the second film - has been returned to life through some mystical mumbo jumbo Vulcan ritual ceremony and a bit of help from the life giving Genesis planet he was marooned on. Captain Kirk (William Shatner of course) and his trusty crew - Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), Chekov (Walter Koenig), Sulu (George Takei), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) - now have to head back to Earth to face the music for their insubordination because they disobeyed orders when they went to look for Spock on the Genesis planet in the first place. They have to use their captured Klingon battle cruiser, a big green ship that is shaped like a swooping hawk. Spock, having immersed himself in pure logic again with a battery of Vulcan examinations and tests, is still not quite himself but insists on going back to Earth with his crewmates to face whatever punishment awaits. However, unknown to them, a mysterious probe (shades of the first Star Trek film film) which emits a puzzling signal has entered orbit around the Earth and begun to affect the climate, creating havoc. Kirk and his crew soon intercept an interplanetary communication warning everyone to stay away.
"This is the President of the United Federation of Planets. Do not approach the Earth. The transmissions of an orbiting probe are causing critical damage to this planet. It has almost totally ionized our atmosphere. All power sources have failed. All Earth-orbiting starships are powerless. The probe is vaporizing our oceans. We cannot survive unless a way can be found to respond to the probe. Further communications may not be possible. Save your energy. Federation Council president: Save yourselves. Avoid the planet Earth at all costs. Farewell!" Master of logic Mr Spock studies the probe's transmissions and concludes they match the songs of humpback whales. That's who the probe is trying to communicate with. The only problem is that in the future humpbacks have been extinct for many years. Hunted into illogical blood splattered oblivion by humanity. The solution is to go back in time, find a couple of humpbacks and bring them back to the future to respond to the probe and save Earth. "Mr Spock," says Captain Kirk after mulling it over. "Begin your computations for time warp!" I love that line. The crew duly travel back in time and are soon struggling with life in the San Francisco of the late 1980s as they attempt to complete their most unusual mission.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the one film in the series you probably don't have to be a Trekkie or have a forensic knowledge of the franchise to enjoy. While one could argue the the levity goes a bit too far at times you'd have to have a heart of stone not to have some fun. Believe it or not this more comic slanted and jovial Star Trek film was even going to feature Eddie Murphy at one point. He was a huge Star Trek fan and lobbied heavily for a part (Murphy was the biggest box-office star in the world at the time and had a contract with Star Trek studio Paramount so maybe it's not as strange as it sounds in hinsight that they strong considered accomodating him). He was going to play a college professor or marine biologist in 1987 who believes in aliens and likes to play whale songs and helps Kirk and his crew when they travel to the past. In the end though Murphy decided he didn't like the part he had been given (he wanted to play a Starfleet Officer) and went off to make The Golden Child instead. That'll teach him. One of the joys of The Voyage Home is that - just for once - the whole cast get something to do when they are assigned different tasks in 1987 by Kirk. Usually in these film it's mostly just Kirk, Spock and Bones who get the meat of the story and most of the screen time. Chekov has an amusing arc where he has to go find an alternative source of nuclear energy to power their energy drained Klingon spacecraft and is captured on an aircraft carrier (appropriately enough named Enterprise) where they naturally think he's a Russian spy. Walter Koenig has good comic timing in these scenes and some nice lines. "Admiral. We have found the nuclear wessel!"
I love too McCoy's bewilderment and outrage when he encounters a 20th century hospital. "It's a miracle these people made it out of the dark ages!" His little black bag festooned with far distant furture medical wonders soon has patients back on their feet. The crew are like virtual aliens themselves in the 20th century as they struggle to stay inconspicuous and not stand out too much, utterly bewildered by the language (or "colourful metaphors"), ghetto blasters, punk rockers and having to have the right change to get a bus somewhere. Kirk and Spock spend a lot of the film together and Shatner and Nimoy have some amusing exchanges as they try to locate the Sea World park where the precious humpback whales are. Marine biologist Gillian (Catherine Hicks) becomes a vague love interest for Kirk but only in a very playful sense. Hicks is pretty good and Shatner has to show a bit of energy to keep up in their scenes together. Her presence actually prods him into a better performance. Despite the rather obvious ecological message of the film the points are scored through satire and implication rather than loud direct statements. The diverting surface of the film gives everyone a good time while reminding us of the beauty of these creatures and how unforgivable and sad it would if we ever allowed them to be hunted to extinction. That is truly not logical as Mr Spock points out. The film runs the risk of becoming overtly didactic but manages to avoid this pitfall despite the obvious environmentalist theme. One delight here too is the acerbic game of one-upmanship between Spock and McCoy - McCoy even more exasperated than usual because Spock has gone very logical and aloof again since he returned from what was presumed to be his death.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is an enjoyably good natured and amusing adventure for our geriatric galaxy hopping heroes and a highly entertaining couple of hours or so. I like this one a lot. At the time of writing you can buy a bare bones version of this for under a fiver. I'd consider the motion picture box set if you want loads of extras.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Captain Kirk and his crew on the planet Vulcan where they are helping Spock get better and full of his knowledge after being rejuvenated due to his death. T is here they plan to go back to Star Fleet to take their punishment for their crimes in the last film. They are flying the Vulcan ship when they encounter a strange probe which is making a very strange whale song noise.
They get contact from Star Fleet not to return as the probe has destroyed everything as it has nothing to communicate with. It comes to Spock that the crew must try to travel back in time to get 2 humpback whales and bring them to the future where they are now extinct so they can communicate with the probe and save Earth. Kirk and Spock set a course for the past but can they successfully make it back in time and get the whales which they need?
I have to say I am not a fan of the Star Trek series which sees Kirk as Captain as for me he came across as to smarmy and in love with himself. I did however give in to hubby and let him watch this film as he does really like it. The story was good but not the best by a long shot from the film series and for me it was very dated and the effects were quite poor. I did however enjoy the supporting crew members and found they helped to bring an element of fun to the film.
Kirk was played by William Shatner and for me I just could not warm to him. He looked good in the uniform and delivered all of his lines well but there was just something about his demeanour on screen which made me feel as if he thought he was better than the other stars. He did have a good onscreen chemistry with some of the actors but there was a strain with him and Spock and this was apparent when they were on screen together. There was no chemistry and they were not comfortable with each other and as a result this made their lines to one another seem quite wooden. The role of Spock was played by Leonard Nemoy and he was much better. He came across as very cleaver and intelligent and I loved his appearance. I did not like the fact he was missing his uniform as his clothes were very strange but putting this aside he did a good job and I loved how he was emotionless and always straight and to the point. He did give us a few good one liners when he was trying to get to grips with the old way of talking and the slang.
We had some very good support actors which for me made the film watch able. I loved the role of Chekov and found it brilliant that he was the one sent to find the nuclear weapons to help with the mission, I mean the Americans were against the Russians at the time and he was a Russian man. He had some good one liners which he delivered with ease. I also enjoyed the role of Bones and found the way he spoke and dealt with Spock to be funny and more natural than Kirk. Scotty was another good crew member but I felt he was not given enough screen time. I loved the thick Scottish accent and some of the phrases he used.
The effects for the film were very dated but bearing in mind this was made in 1986 I can forgive some of them. The way the people were 'beamed up' really did look strange and poorly made but the rest were quite passable. The appearance of the probe was strange and there was one point when I commented to hubby that it did look like a giant turd floating around space, he did not find this funny. I felt the space scenes were well produced and looked authentic and real. The costumes were all very good but I could not get over Kirks shirt. At the start of the film it was white and then it turned pink and when he was in the water in went purple. I felt this did not seem natural as I could not imagine the Captain of a big Star ship wearing pink. Spoke was wearing strange clothes which made him look weird but I found the clothes and props for the 1980's parts of the film were good and very funny at times.
The music throughout the film was good and enjoyable. I loved the slightly classical feel some of it had and found that the use of the orchestra for some of the tracks was very good and helped with the scene setting and emotions of the film.
This is a film only review so there are no bonus features to speak about. The running time of the film is 119 minutes and I found this to be quite long enough. The rate is a PG and I agree with this. I have to say the DVD can be bought for around the £5 mark, depending where you shop but I personally would not pay for it.
I can really only give this film 3 stars as it is not the best in the series. I will say it is a matter of taste as I know a lot of people prefer Kirk as Captain to Picard but for me is was dated and the story was a little boring at times. Definitely one to watch for all Star Trek fans but there are a lot better films in the series to watch first.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Picking up shortly after the events of The Wrath of Khan and The Search For Spock, the premise has Kirk leading his crew back to Earth to face the music for stealing and destroying the Starship Enterprise. Spock and McCoy have to get to grips with the Vulcan's resurrection from the dead after their mind meld, and Kirk is troubled by the death of his son. After some establishing scenes on the planet Vulcan - which take care of this housekeeping from the previous films in the series - the intrepid gang boldly go home in a rusty old Klingon warship, which handily has a cloaking device, if not the home comforts of their familiar mode of transportation.
Of course it's far from plain sailing. Kirk arrives back in the solar system to find Earth under threat from a mysterious probe that is attempting to communicate with the oceans. When no answer is forthcoming, the water begins to evaporate and the planet endures blackouts and hurricanes. Our heroes swiftly identify the signal as being a type of whale song. But humpback whales have been extinct for centuries, so Spock hypothesizes that it will only be possible to find the right whales if they boomerang around the sun and travel back in time to Earth's past. This sounds risky, but it works, and soon their rusty green ship is hidden in the middle of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and the year is 1986.
All of which is prologue to the real fun. The Voyage Home is effectively a mild comedy, in which the cast are allowed to play with the culture clash between their much beloved characters, and the customs of a twentieth century American city in which they are basically the aliens. This works brilliantly as the script sparkles and the cast show great timing. The amiable story and the familiar setting lets us see how well drawn these explorers have become over the years, transcending their early roots in a short lived weekly TV series. Yet there's something about the spirit of their adventure this time that harks back to the original nicely. The Voyage Home is the Star Trek movie that most feels like it could have been an episode of the old show, even if twenty years have passed and the budget and the girths are bigger.
The main action concerns itself with Kirk and Spock trying to ingratiate themselves with a marine biologist, who attends to two humpback whales at a science institute in the bay area. Dr Gillian Taylor thinks the pair of them are crazy - an impression not aided by Spock's incongruous appearance in a bath robe and a headband that hides his pointy ears and arched eyebrows, or the fact he dives into the tank to try and talk to the whales. He looks like an eccentric Buddhist monk, and keeps referring to his friend as The Admiral. Naturally, Kirk tries to patch things up over dinner.
While Kirk and Spock try and secure the services of George and Gracie, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, Uhura and Sulu keep busy with a series of mishaps around the city. Ostensibly this is because their ship was badly damaged travelling around the sun, and so there are tasks to be performed before they can repair it and take the whales back to the future. Really it's an excuse for a bunch of tongue-in-cheek gags and some light-hearted action sequences. A Russian man turns up at a naval base enquiring about "nuclear wessels" before the end of the Cold War. A physics genius bribes an engineer with technology that hasn't been invented yet, but tries to talk to his PC through the mouse. A doctor rages against hospital medicine, which to him looks as barbaric as the middle ages. And the captain sells an antique to get some money, knowing it will be given to him once again as a present in the future.
The Voyage Home is regarded along with The Wrath of Khan as the best of the Star Trek spin off movies and was a box office success. Oddly, Khan quoted Moby Dick by Herman Melville quite liberally, and here the plot of this film actually concerns whales. Shortly after it's release, the franchise received a new lease of life in the form of The Next Generation TV series, which was fortunate. As a condition for agreeing to reprise his role as Kirk here, William Shatner demanded two million dollars and the option of directing a fifth movie himself. The Final Frontier was the nadir of the Star Trek franchise when it was release in 1989, and few executives believed it would recover. Happily it bounced back with The Undiscovered Country in 1991, before the old cast handed over to the stars of the new television spin-off, who took up the mantle with their own sequence of films.
Things came full circle in 2009 when the original series was rebooted with new actors cast as Kirk and Spock and McCoy. In the hands of Lost co-creator JJ Abrams, this marked the first time Star Trek would have the budget of a summer blockbuster. Time will tell whether the new action-focused production will match the wit and spirit of The Voyage Home or The Wrath of Khan, or the engagement with serious science-fiction concepts that underpinned the camp appearance of the original series. Abrams has a good background making cult TV series, but has had little involvement with Lost since its pilot episode. If Star Trek is to recapture the zeitgeist, the best hope may be if Lost's show-runner, Damon Lindelof, can be persuaded to take the reins after his own cult franchise concludes in 2010.
The best science fiction concerns itself with the contemporary so San Francisco makes a great setting for this story and the themes of ecology and conservation work well. An early draft envisaged Eddie Murphy in the role of the marine biologist but that fell through. In it's final form the script was the work of two men. Harve Bennett - the franchise's executive producer for films two through five, who wrote The Search For Spock - handles the early scenes, picking up from where his previous screenplay left us, as well as the coda to this story, after Kirk and co finish their business in 1986 and have to face the consequences of their actions. It's little surprise though that the humorous core of the adventure is the work of Nicholas Meyer, the director and un-credited writer of The Wrath of Khan, who as such can be seen as the man ultimately responsible for the franchise's finest hours. The director this time out is Leonard Nimoy, Spock himself, who proves himself to be more than capable. James Horner provides a dramatically pretty film score that helps keep the straight face required to get the most out of the humour.
Although they bookend a sort of loose trilogy, which is resolved by the end of this film with exactly the right choices, the beauty of The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home is that they stand up as great movies in their own right, even when shorn of all foreknowledge of these wonderful characters and the mythology of their universe. Depending on your mood on a given day, either one of these two could be argued to be the best that Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek has to offer.
What the majority of the early Star Trek films lacked was a decent sense of humour. The first film, the Motion Picture had absolutely no comic moments at all - not that a Star Trek film needs to be a wall to wall laugh fest, but you need a decent contrast between light and shade. If your film is all hard sci-fi with no lighter moments, half of your audience is likely to get turned off pretty quickly. Star Trek 4 isn't in the same realm of say 'Airplane', but it does veer to the lighter side of the Star Trek universe and opened up the series to non-Trekkies.
The film continues the story arc from the second and third films. Spock dies, comes back to life and now inevitably the crew must leave their self-induced exile from Vulcan and return to Earth. They know that they will be court marshalled, firstly from stealing the Enterprise and then destroying it, but they all have voted to return. On Earth, a strange tubular ship arrives emitting a weird noise. It turns out that the ship is there to communicate with humpback whales. The message cannot be relayed because all the humpback whales were made extinct in the 21st century.
Kirk, Spock and their crew decide they will go back in time and find some whales and deliver the message to the strange craft themselves. As ludicrous as that sounds, you believe that Kirk will does what he says and that he knows what he's doing. So the crew are forced to assimilate themselves into late 1980's culture and try to blend in.
Most of the joy of this film comes from the crews attempts to fit into an age that is weirder to them than planet Zog. This also gives scope for more characterisation from the crew than was allowed in the previous films.
Kirk gets to charm the pants off the local whale expert. Shatner is quite cheesy, but entertaining nonetheless. The best humour comes from Spock himself. Nimoy's deadpan delivery of his 'logic' is hilarious, especially when it comes to his 'colourful metaphors'. One of the funniest scenes is when Kirk and Spock take a bus ride and Spock delivers the Vulcan Death Grip to a punk who is playing his ghetto blaster too loud.
Chekov too has some decent scenes, playing up to America's paranoia of Russians at the time as he goes around asking 'where are the nuclear wessels?' Scotty also gets some funny moments. To build their humpback whale tank in the Klingon bird of prey, Scotty visits a plastic factory and tries to speak into the computer mouse.
The special effects are good, but come secondary to the characters and script this time. This balance is just about right for this film, although they are still trying to get a lot of mileage out of the 'Genesis' animation.
Yes, the crew are looking quite long in the tooth - especially Scotty, but you can forgive all of that for it being a great film. Star Trek 4 was a joy from start to finish and gave the franchise a much needed dose of humour.
Star Trek IV is the 4th feature film starring Kirk, Spock et al and is arguably one of the best alongside the excellent Wrath of Khan (Star Trek II). Whilst Spock is trying to rediscover himself, the renegade crew decide to return back home to Earth and face Starfleet. However whilst en route to Earth they run across a mysterious alien force that is evaporating the oceans on Earth and destroying the atmosphere. In order the save the Earth, Kirk and his crew have to travel back in time to 1986 to a world that is truly alien to them.
Overall, this is a thoroughly entertaining family adventure with a lot of classic scenes and a good storyline. Watching Kirk and his crew getting used to the hustle and bustle (and rudeness) of 20th century Earth is brilliant. There is also a strong environmental message which is as relevant today as it was over 20 years ago. The only slight drawback to this movie is that it helps if you have watched the previous adventures.
This is the fourth film in the Star Trek series and was released in 1986. It features the original crew and has a n action packed story line.
The film follows on from the previous film where Spock's body has been recovered from the planet Genesis. His memory is not recovered and he is not yet in touch with his human side. The entire crew are on the planet vulcan where they are deciding what they are going to do. In the mean time Spock's brain is bein retrained. The crew decide to head back to Earth but are halted when an alien probe that has been sent to Earth looking for Whales causes a global power loss. The crew have to travel back in time to collect some whales and bring them into the future to send the probe on it way. Nail biting stuff.....
In my opinion this is my favourite film from the original series and can be watched by pretty much anyone, trekkie or not.
As Star Trek IV begins, Kirk and his officers are debating whether to end their self-imposed exile on Vulcan and return to Earth to face the charges against them. Spock meanwhile is coming to terms with his apparently faulty memory and the unprecedented adventure he has experienced.
Nevertheless he is resolute in his determination to accompany Kirk back to Earth so that he can offer testimony. Earth is in the grip of a dire crisis however, as an alien probe of immense destructive power has come to the solar system, broadcasting a message of unknown meaning. The message has the side effect of altering Earth's climate and storms overtake the planet, plunging the world into an ice age that no life will survive. Starfleet is powerless as any ship that approaches the probe is drained of energy. As Kirk and co voyage to Earth, they intercept the dire communications of the Federation President warning all vessels to steer clear of the doomed planet.
Kirk is at first helpless as he watches his home world begin to perish, but Spock's disjointed memory gives him a lifeline. Spock recognises the probe's message as that of humpback whales, a species that has been extinct for over 200 years. Kirk hatches a plan to rescue some whales that will communicate with the probe from the only place in the universe they exist, Earth 1986.
Star Trek IV is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. The transfer itself is ideal, with the image resplendent on this disc. There are no artefacts at all and the picture is sharp and colourful throughout. The print itself is a little variable though. Dirt and scratches particularly affect the initial reprise from Star Trek III, but when the movie proper starts, this problem is significantly lessened to a few occasional flecks. That said there were a couple of moments of significant print damage, but still not enough to detract from the overall high quality of the transfer. It's 1986 and CGI is just a glint in some programmer's eye. All the effects in Star Trek IV are accomplished optically and they are of sufficiently high quality that they fit relatively seamlessly into the film. Fortunately the time travel element and the unconventional story reduce the eye candy quotient in favour of character moments. No big starship battles to see here, move along. Having said that, I was amazed to see in the featurette that over 95% of the whale footage was created via effects and animatronics. I always assumed that footage of real whales had been seamlessly blended into the story and to find the converse is true is mind-boggling. Remember, this is pre CGI and barely 10 years after Spielberg had such problems with an artificial shark.
The film comes with a DD 5.1 English soundtrack as well as a DD 2.0 Surround German one. The surround is adequate and does the job well. The sound is sufficiently ambient and does put you into the middle of the movie. That said there are moments when the speakers come to life. The sound of the probe is ominous and laden with overtones of bass, and the storm sequences are also vibrant and dynamic. The speech is always audible and the music suits the film well. Leonard Rosenmann provided the score and his music is jaunty and almost festive in its feel. He provides a lightness of tone that matches the buoyant nature of the script.
This disc unlike most of the other initial Star Trek discs actually has more than just the theatrical trailer. It's nothing to get excited about though as it's just a 15-minute featurette focussing on Leonard Nimoy's direction. The man himself introduces the piece and goes over his career and the making of the film from his perspective. He also gives a quick description of the difference between widescreen and pan and scan.
Star Trek IV does not have a promising start. With an ominous probe appearing from a nebula and heading relentlessly towards Earth, it seems a little too similar to Star Trek the Motion Picture for comfort. However, any reservations are soon dispelled as the crew of the late starship Enterprise embark on what is perhaps their most light-hearted and fun filled screen adventure. Star Trek IV is unique in that it is played mostly for laughs, a welcome change after the rather tense storylines of Star Trek II and III. It's also unique in that there is no enemy to be shooting phasers at, only a forbidding space probe, which actually embodies the retribution humanity is due for despoiling Mother Earth. Yes, there is the admirable eco-message at the heart of the story, but it's put to work at the heart of the tale, rather than being used as a brute club to batter audiences into changing their wasteful ways.
While the light tone is evident from the beginning, with some friendly banter among the crew and some jokes at the expense of Spock's memory, it's when Kirk and co make their debut into 1980's San Francisco that the movie comes to life. The culture clash between future and past is judged perfectly, as the Enterprise crew find themselves completely out of their depth. The humour is sharp and well observed, and it's easy to accept these characters as out of place spacemen. Seeing Kirk and Spock flummoxed by phrases like 'exact change only' and Scotty having to watch his language when he let's slip that he has travelled millions of miles gives the piece a little of the olf humour that was lacking in the other films
This movie sees the original cast at their most relaxed and every character gets a piece of the action. They're also still of an age to be comfortable in their roles. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley reprise their roles with their customary skill while the other actors get some choice scenes. A confused Chekov when asked to give his rank dreamily replies 'Admiral', Sulu has problems flying a Huey and Scotty finds that computers aren't quite user friendly yet.
Supporting the regular cast is Catherine Hicks as cetacean biologist Gillian Taylor. She is the 20th Century character who helps the time travellers in their quest and her character in this film is developed well. You get an insight into her story that you wouldn't expect from a film that has such an established ensemble cast, and the film is the better for it. Trivia wise, Brock Peters makes his first appearance as Admiral Cartright and his character will make a bigger impression in Star Trek VI. Also making brief cameos are Majel Barrett and Grace Lee Whitney as well as Vijay Amritaj and Jane Wiedlin
The Voyage Home makes me realise how much the Star Trek franchise has lost. The sheer warmth and depth of the characters is like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. Their banter is natural and it's the journeys that these characters make that drive the story. The story itself is well thought out and interesting. More than that, it has a smidgen of originality. The film isn't hamstrung by special effects or eye-candy, and in a way the non-violent and moralistic nature of the tale has more in common with Gene Roddenberry's original vision of Star Trek than the battle fests that the recent movies have been. This film of all the Treks has the greatest mass audience appeal, and the sheer entertainment value lets you gloss over any minor failings. The picture is good but not great, while I haven't heard this film sound so good and it's a little light on extras
In 1987 the fourth Star Trek film was released in cinemas. Even though this was the fourth in the series, it was actually the final part of what has come to be known as the Star Trek Trilogy. The film begins with a recap of the previous two films; this allows any newcomers to Star Trek a brief overview of what has come before.
In a situation that we very rarely see in the original series of films, Kirk is in a position that we have never seen before. Kirk and the crew of the late Starship Enterprise are now in exile on Vulcan. Spock has been resurrected and is slowly coming to terms with being himself again. A decision is made to return to Earth and face the music for the actions that were played out in the last film. Mainly this consists of disobeying order from a Starfleet Admiral and wilful destruction of Starfleet property, in this case the Enterprise. The problem is that Kirk and company have to use a battered Klingon vessel to travel back home. On there journey towards Earth in the Klingon Bird of Prey, which has been ironically renamed to HMS Bounty, the crew discover that Earth has been quite literally neutralised by an alien probe. This has rendered the planet inhospitable and totally powerless as defences are useless. On receiving a message from the President of the United Federation of Planets advising all interplanetary craft to stat well away from Earth at all costs, Kirk hatches a plan. With Mr Spock they figure that the probe is focussing on the oceans of Earth and alter the characteristics of the call of the probe to sound as if it was being heard underwater. From this they conclude that the probe has come to Earth to communicate with a certain form of mammal - the Humpback Whale. Quite worryingly the species has been extinct on 24th Century Earth for a while, but as Kirk points out they weren't on the Earth in the 20th Century..... and so calculations are performed for time travel to the year 1987.
Emotionally the characters had been through the mill in the last two films and the main difference between this and the previous films is the fact this is much lighter in tone, there is a fair amount of humour in the story and this makes Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home a very enjoyable film overall. It also a film that story wise is different to others and original with just a few eco based messages that are clearly put across on screen towards the audience. Okay the characters do have a small problem to deal with which is amplified considerably once they arrive in the 20TH Century, however this is more about dealing with a problem to save the world in the future and to do that the sub-plots and dilemmas they encounter have to be dealt with to ensure that the world they know is saved.
There was no doubt that the main cast had to be same to allow for continuity from Star Trek II and III. All the cast are present here in the film, and with Leonard Nimoy returning as Spock and is credited as a member of the main cast and not playing a cameo role as he did in Star Trek III makes the circle of characters once again complete. The cast again provide a superior performance and one that they all get something to do, for example Uhura and Chekhov have to go undercover and board a US Naval Aircraft Carrier (called Enterprise) to overcome one of the dilemmas that the ship faces, while Scotty, Sulu and McCoy have to build a tank to carry the precious cargo back to the 24th Century. This leaves Kirk and Spock to persuade a Research Biologist that "borrowing" two humpback whales is a good thing, this in itself is a comical concept that Shatner is fully capable at carrying out and I suspect that the scene where he lays on the charm to the female Biologist was written to specifically highlight his skill. All the cast have changed subtly since the third film which was released some four years before this one, for example Shatner is a little heavier in appearance, DeForest Kelly is a little more well wrinkly and Scotty as well is a little bulkier, but it has to be said that top marks has to be awarded to the make up people for the work they have performed as all the cast as they do look healthy. You also get to see Lt Saavik, who remains on Vulcan. The original backstory was that she was pregnant with Spock's child, unfortunately this premise was dropped before release and the last we see of her, played by Robin Curtis, is when the Kilngon Bird of Prey departs Vulcan.
With the addition of Catherine Hicks as Marine Biologist Dr Gillian Taylor, the film has its heroine and the focal point for Kirk to work his charm on. I liked the manner in which Hicks played the role of Dr Taylor as she has her own sub-plot specifically focussed on her character. She also shows that verbally she handle and control a conversation with Kirk as well and in Trek lore there aren't many women who have done that!! You also get to see more of Starfleet from an operational perspective and this gives some scope of exactly how big Starfleet actually is, this was refreshing as we really haven't seen that much in previous films, so to see Earth Headquarters in the first third at Red Alert situation is long overdue.
The comedy is provided by the characters being in a position and time, they are basically not aware of the goings on that are all around them. For example the Russian character of Chekhov asking an American Police man the way to the nuclear vessels or Kirk not understanding what toppings go on a Pizza. My favourite being the scene is on the Bus, where a useful application of a Vulcan nerve pinch from Spock is utterly priceless. In fact it is Spock who gets some of the best lines in the film, as he is slowly becoming himself again after his resurrection we have the opportunity to see Spock being a little off key and coming out with a few illogical phrases such as the use of colourful metaphors or in Spock's case the incorrect use of these terms. Also the curiosity levels he has in this film is far higher than before due to his "condition" and this causes a few interesting situations.
This was the first use of time travel in a Star Trek feature film and this is used correctly as part of the story and not as something that acts as a reset button and a universal fix, in the following films of the series the premise of time travel would be used in the Next Generation films to the extent it just put you off the story, so to see it being used here in the right context for the right reason is satisfying to say the least.
It was also this film that started to show that the even numbered films far exceeded the odd numbered ones in quality. The real stars of the show are the real life hales that were used, they do actually get a credit at the end in the cast list as well. Finally the ending, no I'm not going to spoil it at all. But suffice to say that the ending is very suitable and gives further opportunities for the story to continue as it is finely balanced for what has happened before and fitting for the situation.
Overall, this was Leonard Nimoy's second Star Trek film as Director and I have to say that he has delivered a vibrantly multi-dimensional action that will work with newcomers to the series and have fans of Trek watching this with broad smiles across there faces. The story was developed by Nimoy with Producer Harve Bennett who was now a regular on the production team since the Wrath of Khan. Trek II Director Nicholas Meyer, who would go on to direct Trek VI, co-wrote the screenplay with Bennett and I think that this combination has certainly delivered a thought provoking yet entertaining Trek movie that delivers an energetic and in parts intentionally funny film. It's interesting to note that where Trek II and III consisted of space battles and a certain amount of violence that The Voyage Home doesn't even fire a phaser in anger. This is just an example of how much lighter the film actually is, a further example is the soundtrack as this is scored as quite flippant in parts to reflect the situation that the film presents whilst the first and last thirds are quite serious in nature the middle third is the conduit that most of the problem solving is done.
Again I have the bare bones version and that doesn't include any extras at all as part of the package, however don't let that put you off at all as this is a very rewarding end to Star Trek's depiction of a trilogy.
'There be whales here!'
When you watch this film you will know what the bizarre start to this review actually means and refers to.
This, the fourth installment in the Trek franchise was also the cheapest to make ...and made the most money!
It is set mostly in the 1980's ... after the crew has to attempt time travel in order to save the future Earth...this obviously leads to hilarious moments where the crew have to adapt to almost medieval lifestyles by there own comparisons .... 'Kidney dialysis?...what is this the dark ages?'
Atthe time of making this film we were at the height of the cold war and the film needs no excuse to exploit this with Chekov...who is caught on a nuclear wessel (and no, that is not a spelling mistake!).
The film also has an environmental theme, travelling back in time to get humpback whales is not the easy option here and what it is trying to help us understand are the long term consequences of our current actions with the environment and nature around us.
The film is also special because we have Spock back with us...and it's good to know that he, his wit (without realising it) and friendship with Kirk will last for a long time after this film.
I think one of the reasons this film did so well was because it did not focus entirely on space and battles with Klingons, it brought Star Trek down to a level that everyone could watch and enjoy.
'I bet you are from outer space'...
'No, I'm from Iowa...I only work in outer space'.
Pure comedy. Thats what this film is. I enjoy a good sci fi film, and i enjoy star trek. But this is not high up there on my good sci fi films. No no, its up on my comedy list (not that i actually have lists, but you get whjat i mean)
In this Captain James T Kirk has to take his ship (which due to events in the film before is a Klingon 'Bird of Prey') back to the 1980s to save some whales and in such, saving the would in his time. Its an amusing premise, and an even more amusing film. With one liners all over the shop. 'I'm looking for the nuclear wesles'. Whats funnier then that?
The film touches on some serious issues about the hunting of whales, but it simply comes off as cheesy.
It would be typical star trek, but seeing as its set in 1980's then its not that typical.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Fourth film in the futuristic space series is conclusion to the loose trilogy which started from Wrath of Khan.
The Voyage Home begins where Star Trek III: Search for Spock ends. Crew of enterprise is exhausted from the adventure that led them to save Spocks life and destruction of Enterprise home for most of them for past two decades. #
While Kirk is contemplating disciplinary action he hears of a great tragedy that has struck home planet Earth. A massive alien probe is causing calamity, ocean has evaporated and people are suffering.
Kirk in stolen Bird of Prey heads for Earth. When he is told that the alien probe is attempting to contact a whale, head scratching begins, whale had become extinct three centuries earlier.
In order to save the planet the ship and crew of former Enterprise head to 1980's America to steal a whale.
I liked this film. It is mostly set on 20th century Earth and it is much lighter in tone than Search for Spock. The crew have aged since the start of the franchise and watching this film now shows many things that are associated with 1980's. I liked the fact that the film portrays a green message, destruction of animal species could pause a danger to future generations. But surly they can travel back in time.
To recap it all. I like this film because it has unusual setting for Star Trek and it shows aquatic life.
In the year 2286 Admiral James T. Kirk and his crew are stranded on the planet Vulcan, after the events of STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK. They decide to return to Earth to face the consequences of their actions in that film on board the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey warship they have captured and renamed the H.M.S. Bounty. Spock, having been returned to life in the previous film, has recovered and takes his place with the crew. However the planet Earth is being threatened by a new danger (an alien 'probe'), and Kirk and his crew travel back in time in the warship in order to save the world.
The third film in the series was a dark, sombre film, and as such the filmmakers decided to lighten things up for this 4th film. Leonard Nimoy, who also stars as Spock, directed the film after having proved himself in the same role in the previous film, and he indeed even provided the germ of the idea of the storyline itself.
The storyline is excellent and provides a narrative drive for each of the main characters, with each of them dividing up into small teams to achieve a goal. This is effective as in previous films characters other than Kirk, Spock and McCoy were often sidelined. One problem however is that the alien probe is pretty much a cipher, and not much is revealed about it - this was left to the spinoff novel 'Probe' written by Margaret Wander Bonanno to do. The film ends the trilogy which started with STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN - the next film in the series begins a new adventure.
An interesting titbit is that Eddie Murphy was originally slated to appear in this film. I personally am very glad that he didn't as I cannot see how his particular brand of comedy would have fitted into the Star Trek world.
I really enjoy STAR TREK 4. It was the first movie in the series I ever saw and although I had not seen the previous films I fully understood what was going on here. The humour is not out of place (indeed many of the best episodes of the original series are smothered with humour) and there are many great scenes. One of my favourites is Kirk and Spock discussing where to have lunch (I won't ruin it here by explaining why I like it - you have to see it to understand), and also the idea of a Klingon warship landing in the middle of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I've seen the film again and again and thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
The Special Edition DVD features a fun commentary by William Shatner (who plays Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy, amongst other features. It is currently available from Amazon for under £7, although the plain 'vanilla' version, with only the film, is available for under £4.
This review will shortly be posted in ciao, under the username phurren2006.
Yes - they are back - the famous Star Trek reviews! After a short break - hubby has decided that I am to be subjected to the rest of the 10 films - so in turn I am going to subject you guys to a review of each of these films after sitting through them with a bag of crisps and a glass of something cold and refreshing to keep me sane.
This can be acquired through blah.com for a very reasonable price of just £5.99 (P&P free). Other sites online are charging anything from £6.95 to £15.99 so it is advisable to shop around before getting this.
Once again we see the crew of the USS Enterprise up to their "save the universe" antics but this time with a slight twist. Set in the 23rd century, where Starfleet encompasses all nations and races, as well as alien species, we once again meet the old faithful members of the crew. James Tiberius Kirk once again leads his crew into a dangerous mission to save earth and all its inhabitants.
Returning from the planet Vulcan in a Klingon Bird of Prey (an alien spaceship for those not in the know!) and with Spock thankfully reunited with his consciousness and the ever-sarcastic Dr Leonard H McCoy (AKA Bones) saved from the brink of insanity, the crew see that a strange craft of some sorts is approaching earth and communicating in some way with a high pitched squealing. On receiving no apparent reply, this being stays on its collision course towards earth. The noise coming from this "ship" is slowly destroying the earth, evaporating the oceans and causing widespread destruction of the atmosphere.
The noise is finally identified as whale song. But whales are extinct in the 23rd century! The only solution - for the crew of the Enterpriseto take the Bird of Prey and travel back in time to 1986 and bring some whales back to the 23rd century in an attempt to save mankind.
Whilst back in 1986 America, the crew don't just have to face the challenge of finding whales to take back to their own time. They also have the cultural differences to contend with - as well as the cold-war scepticism associated with Chekov. Will they manage to save the world yet again? The answer is in the watching of this DVD - haha you thought I was going to tell all - but I'm not!
This has to be one of the funniest Star Trek films ever made. Kirk's rendition of "Double Dumb-Ass on You" sounded so contrived. Again Shatner and Nimoy deliver outstanding performances as the sci-fi version of Laurel and Hardy. It was fairly amusing to watch Nimoy portray Spock the ever logical trying to blend in to an illogical world. Walter Koenig is superb as Chekov - especially in the scene where he is trying to find a naval base and asks passers-by if they can tell him where he can find the "nuclear wessels".
DeForest Kelley gives an outstanding performance as the cynical and sarcastic Dr McCoy, particularly in the scenes set in the hospital where Chekov is about to undergo surgery. I particularly love the part where he treats an old lady who is waiting to go for surgery by giving her a little pill (more like a red M&M!) and she is instantly cured. If that were to happen in real life - well we can only hope that medical science does evolve as much as the films tell us!
The special effects are pretty good compared to the earlier films but then again - the world of special effects is continually changing and so any films made after this are bound to have better effects. I have to say that although I did enjoy this film, in my opinion it is not one of Roddenberry's best creations. I have to say that up to this point - the better films are Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock, although the die-hard Trekkies out there (like my lovely hubby) would probably disagree with me!
These are a complete let-down in my eyes as all you get is the original theatrical trailer and a Director's series featurette with Leonard Nimoy. Although I found the featurette mildly interesting - it did not really hold my attention. I would have been much more interested in watching cast interviews or a feature on how the films were made. I may have stayed in my seat to watch those instead of getting up and making myself a cup of tea and having a munch on a digestive biccie while the kettle was boiling.
Cast and Crew
Captain James Tiberius Kirk - William Shatner
Spock - Leonard Nimoy
Dr Leonard H "Bones" McCoy - DeForest Kelley
Montgomery "Scotty" Scott - James Doohan
Hikaru Sulu - George Takei
Pavel Chekov - Walter Koenig
Lt Uhuru- Nichelle Nichols
Marine Biologist - Catherine Hicks
Music - Leonard Rosenman
Executive Consultant - Gene Roddenberry
Producer - Harve Bennett
Director - Leonard Nimoy
DVD Region - 2 (PAL)
Run Time - 114 minutes
Languages - English and German
Subtitles - English for the hearing impaired, English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Turkish.
Rating - PG
Because of the let-down with the extras - a four star recommendation from me. Thanks for reading.
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForrest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koening, Nichelle Nichols, Catherine Hicks, Mark Lenard
Directed By: Leonard Nimoy
What's it all about Alfie?: A giant object is probing the oceans of the Earth looking for extinct whales and causing havoc. Jim and the team travel back in time to 1986 to get some. Comedy ensues.
Can you give me a bit of interesting information about the film?: The computer that Scotty uses to show transparent aluminum was originally going to be an Amiga, but Commodore would only provide a computer if they bought it. Apple was willing to loan them the Mac.
Out of the ten Star Trek films, where would you rank it?: 3rd
Every once in a while the Star Trek TV series would throw a comedy episode into the mix, beginning with the Naked Time, one of the first episodes. Here, the 'Spock Trilogy' concludes with a film high on titters and low on action, a perfect companion piece for The Wrath of Khan and The Search For Spock.
High on a mountain on Vulcan, Spock, dressed like a trappist monk, is reteaching his brain all things Vulcan. However as the computer knows that he is part human it keeps on asking him how he feels. Obviously Spock doesnt know how to answer this so his mum (who must be about 130) comes in, tells him off like any mother would and explains it all to him. Meanwhile at the base of the mountain Kirk and the crew have all decided to return to Earth to take whatever punishment is coming their way for stealing and blowing up the Enterprise. Honourable fellows. Dumb fellows but honourable nonetheless.
We are treated to a goodbye scene between Kirk and Saavik, who is staying behind on Vulcan because, allegedly, she is up the duff with Spock's child when who should appear but Spock himself as he wishes to give evidence at any sort of trial that may be coming. How he can give any sort of meaningful evidence when he was a retard for most of the last film is beyond me but this is Star Trek.
So off we set for Earth. Unfortunately Earth is having a bit of trouble as a giant probe above it is causing massive weather damage whilst sending out some sort of signal. On hearing of this Spock descends into Spockness and, quick as a flash has figured out the the signal the probe is sending is for humpback whales. As humpback whales are exctinct in the 24th century (bloody Finnish) Kirk and Spock hatch a plan to go back in time to the 20th Century and rescue a couple. McCoy is NOT happy about this.
In 20th Century San Fransisco the crew are split up into three groups. Kirk and Spock will travel around the city like a latter day Hope and Crosby in the 'Road To...' movies looking for the whales, Sulu, Scotty and McCoy will attempt to put together an plexiglass container for the whales and Chekov and Uhura will look for some nuclear 'wessels' as the captured Klingon ship the crew came in is running out of dilithium crystals (even the Klingons cant get them to last forever) and the ship wont be able to leave orbit without some nuclear fission. Oh and its cloaking device, which keeps the ship invisible, will run out soon.
Kirk and Spock, after a run in with a local punk (cue Vulcan neck pinch) find their whales at a cetecean institute. Spock, obviously, mind melds with one of them and Kirk, obviously, finds a local babe in the form of Gillian Taylor, a marine biologist.
The plexiglass troop find a factory making the stuff and in return for a free sample Scotty, posing as a professor from Edinburgh University (about as capably as he poses as a Scotsman) offers the manager the breakdown for 'plastic aluminum' (they dont have aluminium in the 24th century apparently). McCoy is NOT happy with this.
Obviously this being 1986 and with Chekov being a Russian and everything his presence on a nuclear 'wessel' is not the best plan in the world and although Uhura is beamed back to the ship, Chekov is arrested, escapes and then falls off the side of the 'wessel'. A mercy dash to the hospital ensues and with a quick zap of a thingy McCoy has cured Chekov's subdural haematoma because Chekov obviously landed on his head when he fell off the boat. And survived. I wished I lived in the 24th century.
Obviously all things work out peachy in the end and the film is wrapped up nicely for Star Trek V.
In a way a completely different film from those that have come before or since, The Voyage Home is a joy from start to finish. From the arrival of Spock on the Klingon ship where it is obvious that he hasn't yet returned to his normal self ("Excuse me doctor but I am receving a number of distress signals" "I don't doubt it") to Chekov's interrogation on the 20th Century USS Enterprise ("If you mess with me then we're through" "We are? Can I go then?") the comedy comes thick and fast. Although the story revolves around Kirk and Spock all the cast members get their turn in the sun for the only time in the film series and never has the bickering but mutual respect between Spock and McCoy been so well used.
The storyline really was ripped out of today's headlines, so to speak, but the issues it raises are still as prevelant today as they were 20 years ago. Although the comedy overpowers the whales story at times we are never far from being reminded the extent to which humanity can do harm to his own planet.
Nimoy's direction is on a surer footing when he isn't having to deal with special effects and flying ships. His use of the openness of San Fransisco is used to such good effect that when the scenes return to the Klingon ship at the end of the film you do get a sense of claustrophobia. This was the second and last Star Trek film that Nimoy directed, William Shatner making sure that he directed the next. And that is another story.
Highly recommended I only place this 3rd as the first two have that little something extra that is missing from The Voyage Home. I think it involves bad guys.
The most popular movie in the "classic Trek" series of feature films, Star Trek IV was a box-office smash that satisfied mainstream audiences and hardcore fans alike. The Voyage Home returns to one of the favourite themes of the original TV series--time travel--to bring Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov from the 23rd century to present-day (ie, mid-1980s) San Francisco. In their own time, the Starfleet heroes encounter an alien probe emitting a mysterious message--a message delivered in the song of the now-extinct Earth species of humpback whales. Failure to respond to the probe will result in Earth's destruction, so Kirk and company time-travel to 20th-century Earth--in their captured Klingon starship--to transport a humpback whale to the future in an effort to communicate peacefully with the alien probe. The plot sounds somewhat absurd in description, but as executed by returning director Leonard Nimoy, this turned out to be a crowd-pleasing adventure, filled with a great deal of humour derived from the clash of future heroes and contemporary urban realities, and much lively interaction among the favourite Trek characters. Catherine Hicks plays the 20th-century whale expert who is finally convinced of Kirk's and Spock's benevolent intentions. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com