William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
Jane Wyatt (Amanda)
Catherine Hicks (Gillian Taylor)
Robert Ellenstein (President)
John Schuck (Klingon Ambassador)
Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright)
Grace Lee Whitney (Rand)
Majel Barrett (Chapel)
The fourth film in the series starts where the previous film left off on Vulcan, with the crew about to depart for Earth to learn of the consequences of their actions in the previous film. As they leave, a strange alien probe heads for Earth and starts tranmsitting a signal to the Earth from orbit. The signal causes mass power failure, and also disrupts the atmosphere, causing one hundred percent cloud coverage. They send out a message for nobody to come to Earth, as the planet is doomed.
En route, the main Enterprise crew inside their stolen Klingon ship pick up the signals. Uhura distorts the signal so that they can hear what it would sound like underwater, and Spock recognises the sound as the singing of the extinct humpback whale. So Kirk suggests that they go back in time and get some!
After a successful Time Warp, they arrive in 1986 San Fransisco. Kirk and Spock cry and find where the whale are kept, McCoy, Sulu and Scotty arrange for the tank to be built inside the Klingon ships hold, and Uhura and Checkov try to find a nuclear power source to collect radioactive particles to regenerate the knackered dilithium crystals. It all happens, and when they return to the present the whales talk to the probe and it buggers off. The only punishment they get for what happened in the previous film is Kirk gets demoted to Captain and is given command of the new USS Enterprise NCC 1701-A.
This is often mentioned in the same breath as film two, and whilst it’s not quite as good, it is an excellent movie. It is the only story played for laughs (I’m not saying it is a comedy, it isn’t) and some of the humour is excellent. Spock in particular, as he tries to fit into his new surroundings by using what he calls “colourful metaphors” are very funny, as is the scene where he mind melds with the whale.
The film is unabashedly conservationist, the message is hammered home with a lack of subtlety that could be off putting. Luckily, it isn’t, and there are some moments in the film that are quite tense – when they only prevent their whales being killed by whalers in the nick of time it’s quite tense, although it’s so far into the movie and you know at this point that if they loose the whales there is no time to find any more.
I like the Gillian Taylor character – she is the marine scientist who is responsible for the whales in 1986, and it is nice that she ends up going forward in time with them.
It was also nice to see both of Spocks parents again – Sarek and Amanda both appear, although not together – she is on Vulcan, he is on Earth.
It is a really nice film, and wraps up the unofficial trilogy of movies really well. This is the longest story we get in Star Trek until we get into Deep Space Nine and I have to say that after watching the third film I had to watch the fourth on the same day.
So, I’m nearly there with this cast of characters. Just two more movies to go, and after that I can only look forward to cameos of some of the characters in various of the future versions of the show… I’m going to miss them, actually.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58