Utterly Star Trek Review

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Cast:
William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan(Scotty)
George Takei(Sulu)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
Jane Wyatt (Amanda)
Catherine Hicks (Gillian Taylor)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Robin Curtis(Saavik)
Robert Ellenstein (President)
John Schuck (Klingon Ambassador)
Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright)
Grace Lee Whitney (Rand)
Majel Barrett (Chapel)

Writer: Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Nicholas Meyer

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
Score: 8.5/10

June 2, 2008 Posted by | amanda, andorians, contemporary earth, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, saavik, sarek, saving a planet, set on earth, set on vulcan, time travel, vulcans | | 2 Comments

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Cast:
William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
James Doohan(Scotty)
George Takei(Sulu)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
Merritt Butrick (Dr. David Marcus)
Robin Curtis(Saavik)
Christopher Lloyd(Kruge)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Judith Anderson (Vulcan High Priestess)
Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand)

Writer: Harve Bennett

You know, my memories of this particular story of the film series were not that great.  There is a theory among the fans that the odd numbered films are not that good.  I have to say both the first film and indeed this one prove that wrong.

The story is relatively simple.  The Enterprise arrives on Earth having returned directly from the events of the previous film.  McCoy is behaving oddly, and when they arrive, they are told that the Enterprise is so badly knackered that she will not be repaired – she is to be scrapped.  Spocks’ father, Sarek (played by the fantastic Mark Lenard) visits Kirk to find out where Spock placed his memories before he died.  It turned out to be McCoy.

Meanwhile, on the Genesis planet, David and Saavik find Spocks coffin but it is empty.  Their ship (the Grissom) is destroyed by a Klingon ship that wants the secrets of the Genesis device.  They find a young Spock with no memories who is rapidly aging, like the planet.

Kirk asks if he can take McCoy to the Genesis planet, but is told he cannot, so he steals the Enterprise and all but Uhura go to Genesis.  There they are attacked by the Klingons, David is killed because Kirk will not surrender and eventually they have to self destruct the Enterprise.  Just before it explodes they beam down to the Genesis planet, which is breaking up, Kirk fights the Klingon commander and wins, and pretends to b him and they get beamed up to the Klingon ship, capture it, and eventually take Spock back to Vulcan (he is now about the right age) and reunited with his body.

The story is not anything like as good as the previous film, but it does have some benefits.  Firstly, this is the first appearance by Klingons as we know them – bumpy foreheads, costumes, knives and everything.  We saw something that was a bit like this in the first film, but the Klingons here are the template used from this point on, and they are great.  Chrisopher Lloyd is especially good as their vicious Captain, who kills crewmembers just for making a mistake (he killed his gunner when the Grissom is destroyed, he only wanted it disabled) and he also orders the death of David (well, any death, it was up to the Klingon on the ground who actually died).  So Yay to the Klingons, they are finally here!

The next two bits I adore are the obvious bits: I love the sequence where Kirk and company steal the Enterprise – they are persued by the experimental TransWarp ship the USS Excelsior, but luckily Scotty has sabotaged their new engines, so the persuit does not go very far.

Also, the destruction of the Enterprise is a really big deal moment.  This is the ship we have seen in every TV episode, and every movie up until this point.  Okay, it was going to be scrapped, but the fact that Kirk destroys her is a poignant moment.  And the effects are pretty good as well – the saucer explodes, but the rest burns up in the atmosphere of the planet.

I also love the fact that Sarek is back – we see Mark Lenard in two more films, and even in a couple of episodes of The Next Generation.

So what if the plot isn’t the strongest, so what if the sequence on Vulcan where Spocks’ mind is taken from McCoy and put back into Spock go on for a bit.  It’s nice to see him again, even though he only gets a few words at the end.

As I said before, this is kind of the middle story in a trilogy, and whilst the two that surround it are much stronger (perhaps the best the series has to offer) I think this one is good too – the quality of two and four tend to push this third film into the shadow a tad.

Crew Deaths: 0 (David doesn’t count, he isn’t Enterprise crew)
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 7.5/10

May 30, 2008 Posted by | accelerated ageing, cloaking devices, david marcus, death of a recurring character, destruction of a starfleet ship, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, pon farr, saavik, sarek, self destruct, set on earth, set on vulcan, stolen ship or shuttlecraft, vulcans | | 2 Comments

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Cast:
William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan (Scotty)
Walter Koenig (Checkov)
George Takei (Sulu)
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) 
Bibi Besch (Doctor Carole Marcus)
Merritt Butrick (Doctor David Marcus)
Paul Winfield (Captain Terrell)
Kirstie Alley(Saavik)
Ricardo Montalban (Khan)
Ike Eisenmann (Peter Preston)
John Winston (Cmdr. Kyle)

Writer: Harve Bennett, Jack B. Sowards

The USS Reliant accidentally comes across Khan, from the season one episode Space Seed.  He takes control of the ship, hell bent on only one thing: getting revenge on the man that abandoned him on Ceti Alpha V.  To do this, he steals project Genesis – a new device that will turn a lifeless moon into an instantly terraformed world.  If you happen to use it on a world that already has life, it will replace that life with the new matrix.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise is no longer doing missions, it is being used as a training vessel under the command of Captain Spock.  The ship picks up a confused message from the head of project Genesis, Doctor Carole Marcus, and so StarFleet send them out to investigate.  When they come across the Reliant, they assume she is friendly, until she fires.  As the shields are not up, the Enterprise is very badly damaged, but Kirk manages to find a code that enables him to make Reliant drop her shields.  Enterprise badly damages Reliant, then moved on to find the surviving Genesis staff in the bowels of the planet their research station is orbiting.  They trick Reliant into thinking the repairs will take a lot longer than they actually will, then make a break to hide in a Nebula.  The Reliant and Khan follow, but Kirk has the upper hand and virtually finishes off the Reliant.  So Khan stes off the captured Genesis device, which the Enterprise has no chance of outrunning as the repairs that need doing are in a radiation flooded compartment.  Spock carries out the repairs so they can escape, and dies as a result, his coffin left on the new Genesis planet.

This is an utterly superb movie.  I am not sure if it is my favourite one or not, I am in the process of watching them all, but it is great.  The acting is excellent – Saavik is a great new character, and she is played really well by Kirstie Allie in this film.  It is such a shame that she is played by someone else.

Other parts that are fantastic are the fights between the Enterprise and the Reliant.  This is the first time that we have seen ships in Star Trek blowing each others guts out, and the corresponding shots inside the vessels as they are hit are excellent.  The other effects that are great is the film that Kirk and company watches to inform them about Project Genesis – you see a moon transformed into a living, breathing planet.  Brilliant for it’s day.

The performance of the main cast is also brilliant.  The scene where Scotty loses his nephew is really good, as, of course, is the death scene for Spock.  Also, I really like the uniforms – that was something I forgot to say about the previous film, the one thing I didn’t like were the ghastly seventies uniforms.  These ones are much better, and last for all of these movies, as well as any flashback sequences from future series.

The music is also great.  In fact, I can’t think of anything bad to say about this movie.  It is interesting that Khan recognises Checkov, as Checkov was not in the series that Khan featured in.  I suppose we can assume that he was just on board, just not a member of the bridge crew.

I am not sure how many Enterprise crew are killed in this, I can only confirm two -Preston and Spock.  The amount of damage to the ship would suggest many people died, but there is no confirmation of how many deaths in any status updates given by anyone, so I am going to assume that there were many injuries but only two deaths.

Love this film, and also it kind of serves as the first in a trilogy.  This is Trek at it’s best.

Crew Deaths: 2
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 9.5/10

May 29, 2008 Posted by | david marcus, death of regular character, destruction of a starfleet ship, exes, family members, inside another stafleet ship, khan, mind meld, people from the past, saavik, set on earth | | 2 Comments